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President Obama to America—Read My Lips, No Transparency

January 6, 2010

Many Americans were looking forward to the promise of change extolled by candidate Barack Obama on the presidential campaign trail.  “Change” was printed on every campaign sign, button, bumper sticker and placard, and it served as the background in many of candidate Obama’s televised speeches and campaign rallies.

The politically convenient and rewarding cornerstone of candidate Obama’s “change” campaign was transparency.  He promised us that he would be a different kind of president.

Well, many Americans are feeling double-crossed and used right now, after voting for candidate Obama because of his promise to bring transparency to Washington, only to now learn that he and other Democrat leaders are excluding America from the democratic process as a healthcare deal is being forged this very moment behind closed doors in secret meetings.

Regardless of where Americans come down on the policy questions addressed in the healthcare legislation, healthcare impacts every American in one way or another, accounting for one-sixth of this nation’s economy.  To say that Americans are entitled to participate in healthcare’s reformation is an understatement and voters should be demanding transparency and storming the steps of this nation’s capital with pitchforks to get it.

Democrat leaders are forgoing an open, public reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the healthcare reform legislation, opting instead for secret meetings at the White House, which is simply undemocratic and unacceptable.  Brazenly excluding the public from this process requires a conscious level of paternalistic and dictatorial arrogance that simply transcends description with the written word.

What is really difficult for Americans to come to terms with is not that candidate Obama has broken his repeated promises to America that he would “bring C-SPAN into the healthcare negotiations.”  Instead, it is the disregard for an open, democratic process that President Obama and Democratic leaders have undertaken that really smacks of backroom deals and having something to hide, true or not.

This healthcare legislation is so voluminous, complicated, and unintelligible, that it really requires open debate, challenge and understanding in a public forum, rather than partisan drafting behind closed doors and jamming it through to declare some sort of political victory.

Transparency and having C-SPAN in the room during the healthcare negotiations were explicit promises candidate Obama made to Americans.  Voters have long memories and don’t look kindly on presidents who violate their own campaign promises, just ask George H.W. Bush, “Read my lips . . .”

A. Muser


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