(p. A21) One insight distinguished Barack Obama from the other presidential candidates last year. While he lacked experience or a special grasp of issues, Mr. Obama said he uniquely understood what ails Washington, and what was causing the endless squabbling and bitter stalemate on important issues. If elected, he said he would change the way business is done in Washington, end the partisan deadlock and the ideological polarization.
“Change must come to Washington,” Mr. Obama said in a June 2008 speech. “I have consistently said when it comes to solving problems,” he told Jake Tapper of ABC News that same month, “I don’t approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective.”
Mr. Obama also decried the prominent role played by lobbyists. “Lobbyists aren’t just a part of the system in Washington, they’re part of the problem,” Mr. Obama said in a May 2008 campaign speech.
I was reminded of this last statement by a recent headline on the front page of USA Today. It read: “Health care fight swells lobbying. Number of organizations hiring firms doubles in ’09.” The article suggested that what Mr. Obama had promised to fix had only gotten worse.
. . .
In Washington it’s business as usual, except for one thing. The bigger the role of government, the more lobbyists flock to town. By pushing for his policies, the president effectively put up a welcome sign to lobbyists. Despite promising to keep them out of his administration, he has even hired a few. So nothing has changed, except maybe that Washington is now more acrimonious than it has been.
For the full commentary, see:
FRED BARNES. “OPINION; Why Obama Isn’t Changing Washington; There is no way he can grow the government without attracting more lobbyists and more political acrimony.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., NOVEMBER 27, 2009): A21.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the date of the online version is given as NOVEMBER 26, 2009.)