Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Did Obama Lie About "Excluding" Lobbyists From His Administration?

Another mismatch between Obama's rhetoric and reality!

Remember this?

We face a deficit of trust -– deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly... That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions.
--Barack Hussein Obama State of the Union address
If Obama really "excluded" lobbyists then why are there so many working in his Administration? Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner put together the following list:

Depends on what the meaning of the word "excludes" is?

In a follow-up article Carney asked the White House to explain:
I asked the White House if he chose his words poorly, but the media affairs office defended the president's statement: "As the President said," a spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail, "we have turned away lobbyists for many, many positions."

So, the country may have heard, "we haven't hired lobbyists to policymaking jobs," but the White House tells us Obama meant, "we only hired some of the lobbyists who applied for policymaking jobs." In other words, they've excluded some lobbyists.

And this was in the context of reducing the "deficit of trust."

So Obama has, indeed, taken a Clintonian turn, but not toward the center. Instead, he has adopted our 42nd president's use of clearly misleading statements that can be parsed so as to be factually correct, at least in a general sort of way.

Using Obama's grammar, we can say George W. Bush avoided wars in the Mideast (he didn't invade Iran), and Bush's father refused to raise taxes (repeatedly, for months).

Read more at the Washington Examiner:
Bill Clinton had been in office for five years and faced the extraordinary circumstance of testifying to a grand jury about the Monica Lewinsky affair when he sprung his "depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" line. Obama's team seems to whip up these rhetorical tricks so much more easily than even Slick Willy.

What does the future portend for an Administration which swept into office with the promise of openness and transparency when they so quickly turn to lies and tricks?

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