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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Obama's Broken Lobbyist Promise

I recently received an e-mail regarding my post entitled: "The First 100 Days: 100 of Obama's Lies, Blunders, Gaffes, and Abuses of Liberty." It said:

I read the first line; 100 lies etc. in the second line the word “lies” disappears for ever. Then it becomes broken promises like he promised to get lobbyist out of congress and the administration. What he actually said was that he wanted to limit the number of lobbyist. When do you stop lying????

I just wanted to share my response with the rest of you:

Hey Don, thanks for writing me.

In all fairness to myself, the title of the post was 100 of Obama's Lies, Blunders, Gaffes, and Abuses of Liberty. So the list was designed to include all four of those, not just lies. As for broken promises, those are actually a subset of lies (because if you say you're going to do something, then do something else, you've told a lie).

And Obama did say that there would be no lobbyists in his administration...

Former Lobbyists Join Obama
In November 2007, Obama boasted at a campaign event that lobbyists "won't find a job in my White House." He later softened that rhetoric to say that lobbyists "won't dominate" the White House.

If we grant that he backed down from it, let me ask you if it looks like lobbyists dominate the White House or not...

Obama Speaks: Lobbyists Not Welcome in My Administration
* Tom Daschle. Lobbyist for healthcare industry. Obama’s health care advisor.
* Eric Holder. Lobbyist at Covington & Burling. Now, Attorney General.
* Tom Vilsack. Lobbyist for National Educational Assn. Now, Agriculture Sectetary.
* Ron Klain. Lobbyist at O’Melveny & Myers. Now, chief of staff to V.P. Biden.
* Leon Panetta. Lobbyist for corporations. Now, Director of CIA.
* Patrick Gaspard. Chief lobbyist for SEIU. Transition deputy director of personnel.
* David Hayes. Lobbyist at Latham & Watkins. Now, deputy director of Interior.
* William Corr. Lobbyist for Tobacco-Free Kids. Now, deputy secretary of Health & Human Services.
* Mark Patterson. Lobbyist at Goldman Sachs. Now, chief of staff for Treasury Secretary.

Would you say we're getting the change we wanted or that we're still getting abused a little? I'm not writing these things because I'm partisan or because I hate Obama. I just really do want all of those things that we thought we were getting from him: change, transparency, reform, civil liberties, an end to military imperialism, an end to torture, an end to cronyism and corruption, a government that applies practical, non-partisan solutions to some of our country's biggest problems... I really, really do want all those things, and Don, if you take an honest look at what's happening with our present administration, we're not getting them. In fact, we're getting all the worst aspects of the last eight years on steroids.

For examples of this lobbyist issue, check out:

Former Lobbyists in senior Obama administration positions
Although Barack Obama promised lobbyists would not serve in his White House, and issued executive orders restricting former lobbyists, more than 40 ex-lobbyists now populate top jobs in the Obama administration, including three Cabinet secretaries, the Director of Central Intelligence, and many senior White House officials.

Below is our working list of ex-lobbyists in the Obama administration.

Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
"No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration."

Obama makes a mockery of his own lobbyist ban
More than 40 former lobbyists work in senior positions in the Obama administration, including three Cabinet secretaries and the CIA director. Yet in his State of the Union address, Obama claimed, "We've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs."

Did Obama speak falsely?

Well, it depends on what the definition of "excluded lobbyists" is.

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."

Now are you going to honestly tell me that Mr. Obama has delivered what he promised? If you really truly want good policies and proper government, and less corruption and more transparency... if you really want those things and are not simply enamored with the man regardless of what he does, you will please agree that Mr. Obama has not at all delivered on his campaign rhetoric about lobbyists.

Thank you so much for writing, Don. I really do appreciate you taking the time out to share your thoughts with me and keep my blog on its toes. I hope after reading this you don't think I'm a liar anymore. At the very least if you still disagree with me, hopefully you can agree that I have some good reasons to assert what I have asserted here and on the Humble Libertarian?



  1. Clear and concise post Wes. Can't deny the truth when its presented in black and white like that in Obamas own words.

    I would like nothing more than to see the words Obama said come to light. He'd have me backing him if he did. As for now, he doesn't. Ron Paul/Gary Johnson 2012!!!

  2. Thanks, Sie! I think it'll take just a little bit more time (though not much), but as the initial luster wears off, people are starting to see that Obama is doing the exact opposite of the in many cases, great things he promised. If things keep going this way, and the GOP nominates someone decent, Obama will be a one term president.

  3. News Flash. Reported from Fox News. The President and his administration is ALREADY prepping for the 2012 campaign. We need to step up education of the public and support of liberty candidates.

  4. Lol- that's not news ;)

    Obama was already prepping for 2012 in February of last year. This perpetual campaign thing is getting old really fast. But I suppose in some ways, it's not without its benefits.

  5. I was an unabashed supporter of Obama, but that ended a couple months ago. For me the last straw was the announcement at West Point of the Afghanistan buildup, which ironically was not a broken promise, but combined with everything else, that was it for me.

    I've returned to a very cynical attitude towards politicians in general, including Obama. I think he's a puppet for the Military Industrial Complex, the Insurance companies and the Banks.

  6. What an excellent comment. I just posted about it here: