Diary

Change I Can Believe In... Part II

As our new President is beginning to navigate the waters of the Executive Branch, I think we’re starting to see his true colors.
I think back to my previous post that considered the various choices Mr. Obama has made for his cabinet and other executive offices. If you want to go back and read that post, click here. The basic idea of that post was, I can truly believe in the flavor of change that President Obama campaigned on – he said he was going to bring in new faces, “Washington Outsiders,” a fresh new administration from outside the Beltway. As he made his announcements, we found basically the Democratic Party’s All-Star team – or at least Bill Clinton’s All-Stars.

Now that our new Commander-in-Chief is in office and going through the trials and tribulations of going from naming a potential cabinet member to confirmation hearings, we’re seeing a much different take. Let’s look at six people who’ve gone through confirmation (either legitimately by the Senate, or informally through the media digging through their personal lives):

1 – Bill Richardson. Former nominee for Commerce Secretary. Withdrew his name from nomination due to being named in basically a “Pay for Play” situation in New Mexico State Politics.
2 – Hillary Clinton. Now in the Cabinet as Secretary of State. During confirmation (by the Senate and media), got grilled over President Clinton’s association with questionable foreign governments and other entities through the Clinton Foundation.
3 – Tim Geithner. Now Treasury Secretary. Had a couple problems with that whole “income tax” thing. I can understand how you can overlook it, it’s a relatively unknown concept, and doesn’t really apply to everyone. Right? (yeah, sarcasm!)
4 – Eric Holder. Now Attorney General. The most un-scathed nominee to get confirmed. He did have some controversy over some of his perspectives and stances on topics – by no means a flawless confirmation.
5 – Tom Daschle. Former nominee for Secretary of Health & Human Services. He and Geithner must use the same accountants. How do you miss $128,000 of tax bills in two years?!
6 – Nancy Killefer. Former nominee for “Chief Performance Office.” Apparently she ALSO had problems with paying her taxes.

So, with these folks, we are seeing that Obama is nominating a lot of folks who are just as entrenched in the perceived corruption and “politics as usual” as his predecessors, just as many people expected. So, like I said, the “change” Obama campaigned on is really the type of “change” that doesn’t really push any envelopes.

As I consider the appointments and the course of events thus far in the administration, another thought comes to mind: It’s no wonder Democrats like to raise other people’s taxes – they never really seem to have to pay them to begin with.

Another thing that I am starting to wonder is – is Obama really this much of a product of the Illinois/Chicago political environment? Take a look at the way Blagojevich ended his term as Governor of Illinois. While the Senate was raking him (and his record) over the coals, he was doing the talk show circuit (and eventually, he did show up to his own trial in the Senate) talking about how he was the guy who was going to change the corruption of Illinois politics. He was the new, good guy… as a matter of fact, a quote:

  1. “I fought all the interests – members of my own party, lobbyists and special interests who support Democrats – from raising taxes on people and lost a lot of support. … That’s what this is all about; the heart and soul of this has been a struggle of me against the system.”

And our President has said this:

  1. We’ve got to modify some fraudulent & predatory lending practices. I put in a bill to make that happen because it does affect communities. Unless we are able to rid the influence of special interest lobbies, we’re going to continue to see bad legislation like that.

So we see, in some cases, our President and the former Governor of Illinois have a lot of the same topics in their rhetoric. We can consider they both have touted their own records of fighting special interests and changing the “business-as-usual” mentality in a lot of the politics that rule their constituencies. At the same time, Blagojevich was orchestrating some excellent “Pay for Play” schemes as well as other corruption charges. And here is our president, now that he’s in office, his nominees are fraught with their own charges and accusations of corruption, tax evasion and who knows what else will come to light? When will it all ascend all the way to the throne of Obama?

What gets me truly are all the die-hards who claim Obama is “the chosen one.” He’s the one who will save us all. When will everyone see that Obama is just another politician, no different than anyone else who has preceded him? Once we accept he’s just a crooked as the rest of his party, I think we’ll finally have the right level of expectation of what’s to come from the White House.