Diary

The New, Opaque, White House

Promises of transparency notwithstanding, the Obama Administration has adopted the mysterious habit of not allowing various Presidential directives to appear on the White House web site where they can be seen by the public. These directives are available via the Federal Register, but only major government geeks know what the Federal Register even is, so it is not as if the cause of transparency is furthered. Even if one is a major government geek, one will likely rely on the White House web site to find this material. Key passage:

There was no apparent rhyme or reason to the omissions. A proclamation Obama issued on February 2 for African-American History Month was e-mailed to the press and posted on the White House web site. But another presidential proclamation the same day for American Heart Month slipped by.

Such notices were routinely released by the White House press office during prior administrations — making their omission all the more unusual given Obama’s oft-repeated pledges of openness.

Most of the documents were posted to the White House web site Tuesday night, after Politico inquired about their absence. “It was a simple oversight,” a spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said.

Was it, really? We know that the Administration has decided to completely and entirely abandon its promise to make legislation available on the Internet for five days before having the President sign it. Given this context, why should anyone believe that these latest omissions stem merely from a “simple oversight”?

Under the Obama Administration, transparency ain’t what it was cracked up to be during the campaign. HopeAndChange has given way to consistent and unmistakable attempts to imitate the grossest parodies of Cheneyesque secrecy. I am glad to see that more people in the media are taking notice of this, but the drumbeat against the opacity of the Administration ought to become a lot more consistent.