Thursday, February 5, 2009

As to matters of error and political capital...

You can say that Froma Harrop has something in common with David Broder, too busy condemning and not enough thinking. And I'll start with this, in the last 8 years of GW, we saw plenty of business as usual, revolving doors between the government and the private sector, and a question as to whether those who signed onto the GW administration paid their own taxes on a timely basis. Well, not only did we not know as to the latter in particular, but it mostly went undiscussed. If anything did get discussed, was the most public utterances of anyone in the GW administration. The news media simply did not "go personal" about the most intimate character and character flaws of the prior administration. No doubt there was a reason, the GW administration simply never allowed personal matters to be public. And got defensive and quickly retaliated should personal matters get some kind of public airing. Ref Dan Rather and questions concerning GW's failure to live up to his recruitment standards in the Air National Guard. The big deal was that the messenger could get attacked and even further become a sacrificial lamb by the news media to appease a wrathful president. The news media, I guess, knew better than probe too deeply personal issues that no one in the GW administration wanted to reveal.

But given the Obama administration, it is as though the dam had burst. Cal Thomas had weighed in on the "red flags" of some of Obama's appointments to various cabinet positions. Based on? The very public revelations that 3 of these cabinet appointments had failed to pay their taxes on a timely basis. With Bill Richardson, a criminal probe into New Mexico state contracts. That's public revelations! Wow! Has anyone in the news media taken a real step back and considered how silent they were on business as usual that could and did lead to so much corruption in the GW administration? They were. No matter how egregious the behavior happened to be, the news media seemed more than content to simply give GW a pass. At least until Katrina. And now we hear all about how Obama has spent his political capital trying to defend people uniquely suited to shepherd his agenda legislatively through Congress or elsewhere. But, people whom it is publicly revealed did employ the lucrative revolving door because they could parley gvt service into getting well-connected in the private sector. Tom Daschle isn't the only one. Dick Cheney had himself made use of such a revolving door, from gvt service, to include a political office, to Haliburton, and back to gvt service. But there wasn't the screaming from here to heaven by the news media because he did so. But then, the news media was merely content to report on such revolving doors and business as usual instead of complaining about it.

Shall I say that Tom Daschle is a creature of old Washington, D.C.? Yes. Can I say that the former Senator could have done a better job of making sure that all his taxes ought to have been paid on a timely basis? Most assuredly. But unlike Mr. Broder who has demonstrated the sort of inordinate hostility toward the current administration that he mostly withheld from the prior, I recognize that the Obama administration has already demonstrated a firming bedrock of transparency that includes personal issues that become a public embarrassment. Broder has the sort of access and opportunity to discuss these issues that he was quite frankly denied over the last 8 years. With me, Obama has all the political capital he needs to make mistakes, openly admit he screwed up, and move forward. And with Froma Harrop I do have one point of agreement, I don't expect a perfect administration. After all, I already see an open administration. So, when will the news media wake up and take what they are offered?

No comments: