Do As I Say, Not As I Do
When it comes to ethics, there's a lot of hypocrisy in the Obama administration.
April 21, 2009 - 12:12 am
In the flurry of news coverage since the historic election of Barack Obama, the American public has been largely shielded from the promises broken in the Obama administration.
We have seen pronouncements of new plans for the economy that the president claims fulfill his sweeping promises of change he made to the American people. However, we have seen little coverage of the many issues — on matters of taxation, the size and role of government, his prescriptions for the ailing economy — where Obama’s rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality of his presidency.
Case in point: Obama’s campaign declarations regarding ethics and the major reforms he would bring to our nation’s government. President Obama famously said in many of his campaign speeches: “I will launch the most sweeping ethics reform in history to make the White House the people’s house.”
In Manchester, NH, he said, “We need a president who sees government not as a tool to enrich well-connected friends and high-priced lobbyists, but as the defender of fairness and opportunity for every American.”
In his inaugural address, Obama called for a “new era of responsibility.”
The subsequent appointments by the president are classic example of Obama saying one thing to large crowds and doing quite another in office. He has named many officials who have had to drop out of consideration or who have had clouds of ethical controversies hanging over their head before they even stepped foot into their new offices.
Twenty years ago, in early 1989, another new president was making appointments to his cabinet. That president was the first President Bush. The newly elected president nominated Senator John Tower as his secretary of defense. The media went wild over allegations of Tower’s perceived drinking and womanizing. Even Senator Ted Kennedy dared to jump in the fray, voting against Tower along party lines with every other Democrat in the Senate. It was front page news. You could not turn on a radio or TV newscast without hearing the reports.
Although some of Obama’s appointees have similarly made the front pages of America’s papers — namely Tom Daschle — stories that aggregate the parade of nominees brought down by ethical challenges are stunningly absent from our media sources. The group that you will rarely find mentioned en masse includes:
— Obama’s first choice for secretary of commerce, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who was forced to withdraw because he is facing a federal investigation involving allegations he pressured officials to award government contracts to campaign contributors.
— Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who admitted he failed to pay more than $40,000 in back taxes and interest.
— Jon Cannon, nominated to be deputy director of the Environmental Protection Agency, who pulled his name after it was disclosed that EPA auditors had accused a non-profit he had governed as a board member of mismanaging $25 million in taxpayer funds.