Remember when the Left howled to know name for name who was being snuck into the White House for discussions on energy policy? Remember the rolling outcry when the Bush administration refused to reveal its guest list, presumably comprised mostly of Big Dirty Badass Oil reps?
Now, try to recall "Gentleman Jim" candidate Barack Obama's lofty but obviously bogus declaration of new White House transparency if he came to live there. Finally, let's return to Groundhog Day Reality in this Washington Times report...
THE WHITE HOUSE HAS TOLD Congress it will reject calls for many of President Obama's policy czars to testify before Congressa decision senators said goes against the president's promises of transparency and openness and treads on Congress' constitutional mandate to investigate the administration's actions.
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, said White House counsel Greg Craig told her in a meeting Wednesday that they will not make available any of the czars who work in the White House and don't have to go through Senate confirmation. She said he was "murky" on whether other czars outside of the White House would be allowed to come before Congress.
Miss Collins said that doesn't make sense when some of those czars are actually making policy or negotiating on behalf of Mr. Obama.
"I think Congress should be able to call the president's climate czar, Carol Browner, the energy and environment czar, to ask her about the negotiations she conducted with the automobile industry that led to very significant policy changes with regard to emissions standards," Miss Collins said at a hearing Thursday that examined the proliferation of czars.
The debate goes to the heart of weighty constitutional issues about separation of powers. The president argues that he should be allowed to have advisers who are free to give him confidential advice without having to fear being called to testify about it. Democrats and Republicans in Congress, though, argue that those in office who actually craft policy should be able to be summoned to testify because they do more than just give the president advice.
At issue are the 18 positions Miss Collins says Mr. Obama has created since he took office. Of those, she says 10the White House says eightare in the executive office and not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests or requests for testimony.
Washington continues to beg a single question.
After candidate George W. Bush's promise never to commit American fighting forces to foreign nation building tasks back during the 2000 campaign run against sitting Vice-President Al Gore, coupled with his adminsistration's own penchant for high secrecy even when hosting important but non-life-threatening strategy sessions such as the notorious energy policy sessions. The question:
Will Americans ever again elect an honest administration to help turn this great nation back from the brink once we have truly articulated an intelligent posture on what kind of nation we seek to be?
That's considerably too much to ask of a nation in constant change, I realize. The two myths of America are greater than the sums of its parts, but the reality of both is unfortunately far less than all that, quoth the raven.
First of all, we might consider ourselves fortunate in getting a good start and setting a good example by simply electing leadership that practices what it preaches. That sounds promising and of good faith, but don't we hear this same "I'm more honest than my opponent" speech in every jurisdictional race around the country from dogcatcher to POTUS every two to four years?
Are American voters as foolish as they seem, or does the system itself, the system as we know it, the sprawling scrawling now choking system made complex beyond a single candidate's or voter's comprehension some 230 years after its founding, encourage, and in fact DEMAND, the Big Lie?
That's a scary thought, but it seems to be increasingly true. Most other more colorful, more tainted types of candidates for high office are marginalized as fringe or unelectable, even though they may very well carry within them the attributes of a capable and even admirable leader. But we reject them as less than perfect, less than diligent, less than honorable. Is this because we imagine that our leaders must meet a higher standard than that to which we hold ourselves?
However, if we are to be diligently honest with ourselves as plain citizens and immaculate voters beckoned to the audacious booth from innumerable pathways to the present case, we might begin to realize that there might possibly be many more candidates who should meet our criteria to help dilute our own hypocrisies about our own elected bodies. Because is it not true that we voters, in unbelievable proportions, would only make fringe and unelectable candidates ourselves, the great unwashed tainted beyond all doubt with our own peculiar sins and pursuits and responsibilities ?
That's why we hide in the shadows of the voting booth. Or flounder in civil apathy, tending to avoid most of the issues facing us as a people, as a good neighbor, as an American patriot, only picking one or two hot button issues in our community lives to inform ourselves enough to stake a claim in its resolution. And it is at this point we voice our opinions. It is at this point we feel our opinion trumps those of those with whom we disagree, for whom we may have cast a vote. Suddenly we become the candidate of honesty, of truth, of passion, of resolve, of leadership. No matter that we beat the dog. No matter that we cheat on our taxes, or overcharge for our services. No matter that we had a adulterous love affair last year. Our hypocrisy, just like the hypocrisy that sits in an elected office, knows no bounds. Suddenly we are charmed enough by what we deem as critical circumstances to feel our vote and our voice count for something. After all, we pay their salaries, dammit. Hell, we pay for everything that's ever been done, and we want our money's worth...
But of course, it has long been detected that the backroom behavior of these dutifully elected officials is not much better, and often much worse than the moral turpitude we exercise in our own lives. Values? In flux, dear, always in flux. But that's okay we say as we admonish ourselves once the initial firestorm has passed, and wasn't enough to drive them from office already. We forgive them after a good public spanking since they are so learned, handsome maybe, most assuredly rich. It is for these reasons they deserve our support, not because they are any better at doing there jobs as we are at our own, or as we could be in doing theirs.
So while we feel obliged to judge others who actually may or may not meet our moral standards to any greater degree than we might meet or fail them ourselves, we are in effect judging those seasoned politicians who obviously have more information at their disposal than we part-time patriots do. Isn't that their job? We always want it both ways.
But if they can't explain their job to us without lying, why are they in that position in the first place?
How stupid and irrational is this behavior? But the pattern never changes. We continue to vote the same earmarked scoundrels back into office, even after their lofty lies, outright hoaxes, and squandered opportunities have been revealed. We continue to decide elections often based on frivolous distinctions of honor and honesty, only to have those distinctions smeared into oblivion within a few tracks of the first term. We like to pride ourselves on thinking outside the box in our many endeavors, yet we continue to refuse relative newcomers who wander onto the political scene from any other mold than the ones we have been trained to respect.
I think something needs to change in this country, and it has nothing to do with a candidate's penchant for stretching the truth into an outright lie. My patriotism is not silly putty.
Oh yes, the two myths of America I mentioned above.
That's the Good America of Christopher Columbus, George Washington, The Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, The Greatest Generation, MLK, and Barack Hussein Obama, and then there's the Bad America of pretty much the same elements, just flipped in their moral perspective. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, I have always and will continue to subscribe to the Good America meme.
Apparently, that puts me on the fringe. Don't worry, fellow Americans, I'll learn to live with it.