Monday, August 29, 2011

Government by the special interests, for the special interests

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama focused much of his message around overcoming "politics as usual" and bringing about change that would benefit the true public interest. That was one of the main reasons I voted for him, despite the fact that I disagreed with him on most matters of economic policy. When Obama was elected, much of the country hoped that he would take steps to work with Republicans and to cut down the influence of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.

In reality, however, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid did exactly the opposite. In their two years of unopposed control over Washington, they rarely passed up an opportunity to throw red meat to their favored special interests, usually screwing over the American people as a result. Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard has the full story, but here's a summary:

1. A massive stimulus bill heavy on pork and various pipe dreams such as "green initiatives," but little actual stimulus.

2. Giving a majority stake in Chrysler to the United Auto Workers. (Isn't that a conflict of interest for a labor union to own the company that employs its members?)

3. The attempted cap-and-trade bill, which would have made environmentalists happy--but which would also have hit businesses and individuals extremely hard, likely causing a huge spike in unemployment

4. The toothless financial reform bill, basically a sweetheart deal for Goldman Sachs and all the other Wall Street mega-banks that donated large sums of money to Obama's campaign.

5. When trying to get votes for the health care bill in 2009, Pelosi actually told reluctant Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn), "The store is open. Now is the time to get your provisions." Although, after the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase," that statement hardly seems surprising.

And all of this from a president who promised to minimize the influence of special-interest lobbyists. Very gifted in doublespeak, indeed.

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