Friday, January 29, 2010

State of The Lobbyists Is Better Than You'd Think After The SOTU

Jon Stewart had Harvard Professor, Elizabeth Warren on recently to discuss TARP and Wall Street. It was an interesting interview, to be sure (h/t to Pat), and provided a historical perspective:

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Let's not forget who was in charge of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, shall we?? Barney? Chris? Ahem. Funny how that often goes unmentioned, isn't it?

You wanna know what else is funny about this whole negative attitude toward lobbyists? Especially after Obama ripped on them again? That he INVITED THEM TO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR A PRIVATE BRIEFING THE DAY AFTER THE STATE OF THE UNION. I am not kidding, people - how many different ways can I say, "What a freakin' hypocrite?????" Or, "How do people buy the crap that comes out of his mouth???" Holy smokes!!! Those of us who are sentient beings knew this was happening, that he was saying one thing, while doing another. But, c'mon, how blatant can he be that he thinks we are the biggest bunch of morons on the face of the planet??? And how can so many Americans BE such morons to buy this crap from him? Good grief, people, THINK!!!

So, here it is, in black and white:
[Snip] The Treasury Department on Thursday morning invited selected individuals to “a series of conference calls with senior Obama administration officials to discuss key aspects of the State of the Union address.”

The invitation, which went to a variety of stakeholders, was sent by Fred Baldassaro, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Office of Business Affairs and Public Liaison.

The invitation stated, “The White House is encouraging you to participate in these calls and will have a question and answer session at the end of each call. As a reminder, these calls are not intended for press purposes.” (Emphasis mine.)

Yeah, I'll just bet they aren't:
The calls are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, with the first topic being job creation and economic growth.

Another call, at 1 p.m., is on government reform and transparency. Republicans have criticized the Obama White House for not being more transparent in its discussions with Congress on healthcare reform. Obama recently acknowledged that the legislative process has not been as open as he promised on the campaign trail.

Other issues that will be addressed on Thursday include education, climate change and healthcare reform.

Oh, yay!! Doesn't that make you feel better? Of course, they have been there all along, steering this Healthcare bill, from Obama's original meeting with Big Pharma to the insurance industry lobbyists. Gee, can' imagine why so many of us oppose this current bill: because we know what actually wrote it.

But Obama better be careful before he hurts their feelings:
A handful of lobbyists told The Hill on Thursday morning that they received the invitations and were planning to call in.

Some lobbyists say they are extremely frustrated with the White House for criticizing them and then seeking their feedback. Others note that Democrats on Capitol Hill constantly urge them to make political donations.

One lobbyist said, “Bash lobbyists, then reach out to us. Bash lobbyists [while] I have received four Democratic invitations for fundraisers.”

In his State of the Union on Wednesday, Obama once again targeted K Street: “We face a deficit of trust — deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap, we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue — to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve.”

So, um, this is how Obama expects to fix it? Invite the lobbyists to participate in these major issues facing the country? Well, sure, that makes sense. In the Upside-Down World of Washington, DC, that is.

And all in the light of day, right? Oh, sure, PollyAnna:
The Treasury Department referred The Hill’s request for comment to the White House, which at press time had not responded to questions on this issue.

On Thursday afternoon, White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated in an e-mail, "As part of our effort to reach out and engage with the public and policymakers, it is standard for our outreach team to organize a conference call, so that we can include people who are not in Washington, after a major speech or announcement through the president's priorities. These calls are targeted at a diverse group of community and government leaders including mayors, governors, faith groups, women's organizations, representatives from the African American and Latino communities to share as much information about the administration's agenda as possible. The calls, which include question-and-answer sessions, typically include hundreds of people from across the country..."

Lobbyists say the Obama White House has held many off-the-record teleconferences over the past year.

For example, lobbyists and others were invited to a teleconference with “senior Obama administration officials” on Monday to discuss the administration’s plan to improve the lives of middle-class families.

The invitation, which is addressed to “Friends,” emphasizes in bold and italics that “this call is for background information only and not intended for press purposes.” It advises callers to tell the operator “you’re joining the ‘White House Briefing Call.’ ”

Another lobbyist said these types of teleconferences occur “all the time.” (Emphasis mine)

And that is why many on K Street are exasperated with Obama’s use of lobbyists as a punching bag. Some have said they understood why he used strong rhetoric on the campaign trail but are irritated the White House solicits their opinions while Obama’s friends in Congress badger them for political donations.

Don't you feel sorry for those poor lobbyists who are shaping our policies?

Or do you feel anger that we have a government that is so duplicitous, so underhanded, so hypocritical, and so conniving?? Obama gets up there spewing this bullshit at the SOTU, and the VERY NEXT DAY, meets with K Street Lobbyists. And he does so with no shame, not even a hint that the impropriety gets through to him.

Wow. Show of hands - WHO bought this crap from him and the Democrats?? Anyone? Bueller?? And we wonder why this country is in such a mess...


Mary Ellen said...

I think the media spin on this will be that Obama is an equal opportunity back-stabber. How "progressive" of him!

This group of Dems are beyond belief...and to think I grew up thinking they were "for the little guy". What a fool I was!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

I know, Mary Ellen, me, too. I cannot believe who they really are. I started to realize what mealy mouthed wimps they were when Bush was president, talking a hard line there, but caving here. That was when my eyes started to open, but I didn't want to believe it.

Now I KNOW it. Sheesh.

You are so right, too - he is such an equal opportunity backstabber...Wowie zowie!