No-Bid Barack

To varying degrees, every presidential candidate makes promises during the course of the campaign that the realities of governing eventually cause the winner to break.  But never has the US seen a president like Barack Obama, whose broken campaign promises far outnumber his fulfilled ones.

The list is seemingly endless:  no lobbyists in the administration, closing Guantanamo Bay, a tax cut for 95% of Americans, a net reduction in federal spending, no new taxes for anyone making under $250,000, health care negotiations on C-SPAN, on and on.  All broken.  What’s more, each of these was broken in absolute terms, not as a result of any nuanced position or interpretation.

Today comes word of another campaign promise to be added to the ash heap of “history’s unmarked grave of discarded campaign promises,” to paraphrase a prior occupant of the Oval Office.  As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to, “put an end to the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all.”  So it was only a matter of time before Obama was certain to be discovered awarding no-bid contracts of his own.

Despite President Obama’s long history of criticizing the Bush administration for “sweetheart deals” with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.

The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide “rule of law stabilization services” in war-torn Afghanistan.

“Rule of law stabilization services” means lawyer training.  No joke.

At least when President Bush awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton, they were for services that were actually needed.  Halliburton provided vital logistical support, including meals and accomdations, for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Obama awards no bid sewwtheart deals to campaign donors so they can build the Afghani Trial Lawyers Association.

Is this what our mission in Afghanistan has come down to?  Staying around long enough for every last Democrat donor to squeeze the federal government for every last dime while our troops spill their blood fighting to keep the streets of Kabul safe long enough for the reinforcing wave of–lawyers?

That said, you’ve got to admire chutzpah like this:

“Asked about the contract, USAID Acting Press Director Harry Edwards at first suggested his office would be too “busy” to comment on it.  “I’ll tell it to the people in Haiti,” Edwards snapped when a Fox News reporter indicated the story would soon be made public. The USAID press office did not respond further.”

So much for openness and transparency in government.  Oh wait, that was a campaign promise, too.

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