Daschle & Vetting: “A New Age of Transparency”

04Feb09

I found a few things interesting yesterday watching Gibbs at the press briefing, bulldog he usually is, Gibbs cut this one short and even showed frustration with FoxNews directly after they, along with a host of others (which I found miraculous as tears of blood from a statue), were questioning the new White House ethics standards and asking about the vetting process.

Apparently in the “new age of transparency,” the vetting process is so secret it’s not to be discussed, one of the items chosen by President Obama to not be transparent, (maybe they water board them ), and if anything is asked about vetting one phrase is to be repeated, “I’m not going to spend the day looking in the rear view mirror.” Analogy applicable how? I mean, are they saying a process they yielded 5 nominees with tax problems isn’t to be discussed and reviewed? Maybe it’s more successful and this is proof of it….They’d know that though wouldn’t they, so, this greater than reluctance to discuss, to basically “not confirm or deny any aspect of the vetting process but to say there is one,” is because?….*cricket chirps ad infinitum*

It was really very interesting to see one of the reporters actually throw back at Gibbs his familiar line to shift focus, “Let’s step back and look at it this way,” using the phrase in unappreciated diffusing jest when Gibbs appeared a bit tense, and this only added to the tension. One of the African-American reporters was very frustrated and she spoke for the rest of them, “we are asking about the vetting process and it is the process we want to hear about,” and Gibbs replied the same “rear view mirror” stone wall reply, must have been 8 to 10 times or more previous to this woman’s statement of frustration.

2 weeks into the Presidency and Gibbs is upset. It appears he suddenly learned that insulting the press, as Obama did in impromptu meeting with them shortly after taking office, or pushing back at them, when they almost entirely looked with a blind eye during the campaign, will come back to bite you like nothing else. 86% approval upon inauguration, 55% yesterday. 30 point drop in approval during those 2 weeks. Of course one could easily attribute that to the unrealistic expectations of those who voted for him, and, the unrealistic promises made as well, which easily could combine in a rather swift deflation of approval. Let us hope, for the sake of the country, that this trend doesn’t continue, and, that it is due to the President learning his place, as a public servant who answers to us, according to his limited powers in the Constitution.

Another, and likely more telling moment, was by a reporter that didn’t know the commerce secretary, Judd Gregg the Republican Senator and 3rd Republican on Obama’s Cabinet, had been named just before the White House Press Briefing. My apologies but I didn’t accurately hear the name this reporter asked so I am not going to try to guess, it went by very fast, but the question was something like this, “Did President Obama pick John Doe for Commerce Secretary as recommended by Senator Daschle?”

The idea Mr. Daschle made a recommendation wouldn’t be an issue, except, it resembles lobbying for that person. The further question arises as to if they who were recommended by Daschle work in the Health Industry, where Mr. Daschle, the 1998 advocate for punishment of breaking the tax laws “to the fullest extent of the law,” is known to not have reported 1 month of earnings, some $85,000. I mean the man made 5 million dollars in the last 2 years, and to most that’s “lobbyist pay” as the job description Daschle gave was “to consult on strategy” regarding legislation his clients were lobbying to effect.

But of course if the new Messiah and his Apostles such as Gibbs says it isn’t lobbying, well, they certainly wouldn’t lie….again. We all know that getting away with lying doesn’t encourage it in the least. Ask any repeat offender at any prison, they’ll assure you this just can’t be true, that a man’s word his his bond, and, should you not be able to find your wallet after accidentally bumping into a man in New York who is the spitting image of Bernie Madoff, it’s pure coincidence.

2 weeks in and the press is frustrated, the white house is frustrated, and the people are seeing business as usual, including the usual “I have a list of people that I’ll give you who assure us we have the highest ethical standards of any President ever before….,” and in regard to waivers, “….they recognize the need for waivers to assure we can get the most qualified person.” The list, eventually stated, consists of two names, again said quickly and only once during the Press Briefing, but yes a whopping list of 2 people. In most circles that is stretched with, “I have a couple of names,” or “a few names,” “couple” implies up to 3, “few” implies up to 5″ and is a grouping phrase to make the actual 2 look bigger, usually done “I have a few names, these two come to mind right away.” This is not done “I have a list of names,” which asserts at least 10 or more, and likely broken into categories with a group of pending names that haven’t signed on, sort of like the 31,000 scientists who’ve signed on to the petition stating they do not agree with the Kiyoto protocols: http://www.petitionproject.org/ Now that there is a list! But that list means nothing to Al Gore and therefore must mean nothing to Obama….and the significance again of a list of names claiming “the highest ethical standards of any president before” that consists of 2 names is?

Apologies but highlights of the press briefing, that shed light on some other reasons Dashle may have left, a briefing where Gibb’s felt the need to repeat the “highest ethical standards” theme of the week before, along with the unwillingness to discuss the GS-15 vetting process in character with some mythical Army press briefing about UFOs, Roswell, and Area 51, just left me unable to leave out the hypocrisy of presenting 2 names and claiming those a substantial list that demonstrates this White House has the highest ethical standards while ignoring 31,000 that emphatically dispute the Kyoto protocols. To me, to leave this out, is to further ignore something significant over giving significance to something presented that is being so presented purely as diversion.

Thank you for reading,

Toddy Littman

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