If anyone had any doubts that Obama rhetoric does not comport with his conduct, consider Exhibit A, courtesy reader DoctoRx.
This is what Obama said in the State of the Union address:
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 must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.
Yves here. The funny bit is Obama’s use of the phrase “credibility gap”. That was coined by the media to describe the whoopers that Lyndon Baines Johnson told with abandon while President. Does Obama recognize that he is channeling another legislator turned Chief Executive?
He is certainly exhibiting the same sort of behavior. After criticizing lobbyists in his State of the Union address, what does Team Obama (in this case, the Treasury Department) do but invite lobbyists in for a private chat…about the State of the Union address? And no doubt to tell them the tough talk on banks meant less than it appeared to.
The really appalling part is the lobbyists are so deeply embedded in the the operations of government, that the get upset when they are called bad names. Not only are they predictably blind to how corrupting their influence is, but they think their role is legimate, and have lost sight of the fact that the legislators and Executive Branch members that they influence need to have plausible deniabilty, hence need to issue the occasional stern statement about how awful lobbyists are before going back to business as usual. The fact that lobbyists are chafing at this necessary ritual says how disproportionate their role has become.
From The Hill:
A day after bashing lobbyists, President Barack Obama’s administration has invited K Street insiders to join private briefings on a range of topics addressed in Wednesday’s State of the Union.
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 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.”…
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.”…
Lobbyists say the Obama White House has held many off-the-record teleconferences over the past year…Another lobbyist said these types of teleconferences occur “all the time.”
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.