by Peter Wehner
To understand the fundamental fraudulence of Barack Obama, consider just one issue: his relationship with lobbyists.
In arguably the most important speech of the campaign, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa in 2007, Obama said, “[Lobbyists] have not funded my campaign, they will not work in my White House.…” Upon taking office, Obama made quite a show of announcing new ethics rules barring lobbyists from working in the administration on issues that fell under their lobbying bailiwick. Yet Obama immediately allowed waivers for lobbyists working on issues that fell under their lobbying bailiwick.
But that’s not all. During the 2008 campaign, Obama said this:
I intend to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over, that they had not funded my campaigns, and from my first day as president, I will launch the most sweeping ethics reform in U.S. history. We will make government more open, more accountable and more responsive to the problems of the American people.
When speaking about the destructive power of lobbyists in a town hall meeting in Bristol, Virginia, Obama was emphatic: ““We are going to change how Washington works. They will not run our party. They will not run our White House. They will not drown out the views of the American people.” And in August, 2008, Obama said this: ““I suffer from the same original sin of all politicians, which is we’’ve got to raise money. But my argument has been and will continue to be that the disproportionate influence of lobbyists and special interest is a problem in Washington and in state capitals.”
Now let’s judge Obama’s words against his actions, with the help of a Washington Post story.
Here’s how the story begins:
Before 9 a.m., a group of lobbyists began showing up at the White House security gates with the chief executives of their companies, all of whom serve on President Obama’s jobs council, to be checked in for a roundtable with the president. At 1 p.m., a dozen representatives from the meat industry arrived for a briefing in the New Executive Office Building. At 3 p.m., a handful of lobbyists were lining up for a ceremony honoring the 2011 World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. And at 4 p.m., a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs arrived in the Old Executive Office Building for a meeting with Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
It was an unremarkable January day, with a steady stream of lobbyists among the thousands of daily visitors to the White House and the surrounding executive office buildings, according to a Washington Post analysis of visitor logs released by the administration… The visitor logs for Jan. 17 – one of the most recent days available – show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access.
Now hypocrisy is not an unknown quality in a politician. But what sets Obama apart from almost everyone else is the lengths Obama goes to in order to portray himself as morally superior to the rest of the political class even as he acts in ways that completely shatter his claims. He reminds me of the minister who cannot help from condemning the very sin to which he is beholden. And so as recently as last month Obama was saying, “A lot of folks see the amounts of money that are being spent and the special interests that dominate and the lobbyists that always have access, and they say to themselves, maybe I don’t count.”
What’s impossible to know is the degree to which Obama is alarmingly cynical or the degree to which he is alarmingly self-deluded. Whatever the case, he is a man whose words mean nothing. Nothing at all.Peter Wehner
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