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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Barack Obama Breaks Transparency Campaign Promise With Lily Ledbetter, SCHIP, and Stimulus

Barack Obama speaking at a campaign rally in Abington, PA (source)

So now that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (inaccurately dubbed "the Stimulus Package") has passed, we have a very interesting situation developing:

The public can view and comment for five days before signing

President Obama has already twice broken his campaign promise to allow public review of legislation before signing it. You can view this promise on his campaign website:

Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

And at

One significant addition to reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

Obama breaks his campaign promise twice

After promising this, President Obama proceeded to break it immediately with the very first pieces of legislation to come across his desk. He signed both the Lily Ledbetter Act and SCHIP into law without letting the public review and comment for five days as he had promised. Neither of these are emergency legislation. In the case of the Lily Ledbetter Act, the White House didn't even post the bill for public review and comment until after it had already been signed, much less for five days prior to its signing.

What gives? I thought this was supposed to be some kind of new, shining era of D.C. politics where our politicians didn't lie to us anymore, at least not Obama. He sold the American people on the notion that he would be a different kind of president. Why has he already broken such a simple and easy to keep campaign promise? And why hasn't there been a public outcry? I wonder how many people are even aware that this has taken place. So much for the relevance or usefulness of the mainstream media.

And now a third time with the "stimulus package"

But here's where it gets good. I imagined he would break his promise again and sign his piece of pet legislation that he and the Congressional Democrats fought so hard to pass. I was irked in advance, anticipating his apologists' rebuttal that this doesn't count as another example of broken promises because it's "emergency legislation." People are losing jobs right now, damn it! At a rate of 500 million a month, according to Nancy Pelosi! But now this argument just won't fly:

After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway.

The president plans to spend the Presidents' Day weekend in the Windy City, and is not expected to sign the bill until Tuesday, when he travels to Denver to discuss his economic plan.

Seriously? He makes a huge fuss about how urgent this is and how we can't delay it any longer because we're facing an irreversible economic catastrophe if we don't pass the legislation RIGHT NOW, and then as soon as he gets what he wants out of all that panic-mongering he takes off for a three-day vacation? Isn't that kind of a giant middle finger to all the people whose jobs he said he cared about saving as quickly as possible?

Either he's a liar, or he's a liar

And now President Obama and his partisan defenders have absolutely no excuse for him breaking his campaign promise for the third time in less than a month. They cannot wiggle out of this one. They cannot say that this doesn't fall into the category of his promise because it's emergency legislation. If this is emergency legislation and five days would really make all the difference in the world (like the Democrats claimed it would when they were fighting to get the bill passed), then Obama has been grossly negligent and irresponsible to take his wife out to a fancy restaurant on a vacation in Chicago while the rest of us suffer the consequences of his inaction.

On the other hand, if it isn't emergency legislation, then Obama is breaking his campaign promise again by signing it as planned this Tuesday. (As of tonight, Sunday February 15, a quick search of "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" on turns up no results that include the posted text of the bill with comments enabled). So we have in this case, an either-or proposition: either it is emergency legislation, or it isn't. One of these alternatives must be the case, and whichever one it is...

Barack Obama is a hypocrite and his pants are on fire.

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