The Honeymoon is Over

Crossposted at The Rockefeller Republican

“I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.” – Barack Obama as he launched his presidential bid in Springfield, IL.

As the news has unfolded over the past few weeks the country has wondered what happened to that soaring rhetoric about change and a new “era of responsibility,” and whether the man they hired for the job has enough real world experience to pull off the heavy lifting such revolutionary reinvention requires. Maybe the nation is coming to realize that Hillary and McCain were right, experience does matter.

The new Obama administration is only a few weeks old, but in this time of national crisis and 24/7 news coverage, there is plenty to comment on at this early date, and according to Maureen Dowd, the left-leaning scribe at the New York Times, the honeymoon already seems to be over. “It took Daschle’s resignation to shake the president out of his arrogant attitude that his charmed circle doesn’t have to abide by the lofty standards he lectured the rest of us about for two years.” The problem, in fact, goes well beyond just Daschle; the list of Friends of Obama (FOO) is rife with examples of arrogance and malfeasance. To recap:

  • Bill Richardson- withdrew from consideration as Commerce secretary last month because of a grand jury investigation into state contracts. The panel is investigating whether contributions of $110,000 to Richardson’s political committees from 2003 through 2005 were related to a 2004 state contract that earned nearly $1.5 million in business for a donor’s firm.
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s nomination was delayed after it was disclosed that he had failed to pay more than $34,000 in self-employment taxes while working for the International Monetary Fund.
  • Nancy Killefer, a former U.S. Treasury official who oversaw an IRS overhaul, withdrew her candidacy Tuesday as the U.S. government’s chief performance officer. In 2005, the District of Columbia had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failing to pay unemployment compensation taxes for a household employee.
  • Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination Tuesday as secretary of Health and Human Services over revelations that he failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes for consulting income and the use of a car and driver. In addition, he had earned nearly $2 million over the past couple years while working for a lobbying firm specializing in what…the health care industry of course.

Lobbyists, Tax Cheats and Hypocrites, Oh My!

While every new administration has some misfires when it comes to filling out a cabinet, one does sense a pattern here. “I campaigned on changing Washington and bottom-up politics,” he told CNN. “I don’t want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards, one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.” Funny, that is exactly the message being sent. But the early stumbles don’t stop there; the handling of the $1 trillion stimulus package has also been less than stellar.

The former administration admittedly mishandled the initial bailout by not requiring strict oversight. Now we have reports of Wells Fargo going to Vegas and $50 billion airplanes. The mood of the nation is turning decidedly against these masters of the universe, to the point where class warfare seems to be boiling just under the surface. Into this mess President Obama is pushing the biggest spending plan in history. One can argue that his original plan was not as bloated as the one passed by the house Democrats, without the help of a single Republican, but that isn’t much of a defense. This simply means that his youthful inexperience allowed Speaker Pelosi to railroad through a plan stuffed with such goodies as funds for film for Hollywood producers and billions of dollars to help those floundering in the wilderness of dial up internet. With the country in no mood to waste its money this was a fool-hearty bill and the newly elected president, with political capital to spare, should have better controlled his fellow Democrats.

You know things are not going well for Obama when even constant cheerleader Chris Mathews of MSNBC is voicing frustration over the missteps and backsliding of the man elected to change the atmosphere of Washington. Maybe that tingle he felt running up his leg the night of the Iowa Caucus was just an allergic reaction.