Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
-- Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice
During the 2008 campaign, President Obama was quite ostentatious in his denunciations of lobbyists. He said on more than one occasion that lobbyists wouldn't have a role in his White House.
He started backpedaling on that almost as soon as the election was over, of course. And, sure enough, a number of lobbyists managed to find their way into his administration. But let's be charitable and give him a pass for this. It was a promise that he never would have been able to keep and most people paying attention understood that.
The problem today is not what Obama promised. It's that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid don't see the world the same way. Click this link and consider the implications. From the article:
We're receiving E-mails from Capitol Hill staffers expressing frustration that they can't get a copy of the stimulus bill agreed to last night at a price of $789 billion. What's more, staffers are complaining about who does have a copy: K Street lobbyists. E-mails one key Democratic staffer: "K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don't. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it's leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know—but we can't do that because we haven't seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, 'Is this really happening?'"
Well, congressional staffers aren't the only peeps who are wondering if this is really happening. Putting my partisanship aside for a moment, I have to say this: I sure hope this report is false. If we end up spending up to a trillion dollars on a bill that has been vetted by K Street and no one else, it would be a staggering betrayal. It's not so much a matter that lobbyists are more acquainted with the particulars of the bill. That's deeply problematic. What matters a hell of a lot more is that the people who should know what's in the bill apparently don't know the particulars. We're spending what will eventually be a trillion dollars appropos of who knows what.
I can believe in change. As the old saw goes, change is the only constant. But we all need to see what the change is. Maybe Judd Gregg can put a stop to this thing. Somebody has to. If this thing passes without sunlight, the lights we might eventually see will be the torches of an angry mob.