LatinaLista — “Change” was the operative word for Barack Obama’s campaign and it seems that there is another word that characterizes what an Obama Administration will bring to Washington “transparency.”
Just hours after Obama delivered his speech after winning the presidency, his campaign workers erected the web site Change.gov. In what has become a signature trademark of this particular politician, the site reaches out to readers to include them every step of the way as Obama makes important decisions regarding key positions in his administration.
In perhaps one of the most telling examples of this transparency is the inclusion on the site of a link to the GSA Transition Directory. It’s kind of like the playbook for members of the president-elect’s team in getting a handle on how the federal government operates and what resources members of the new administration can look to for help.
An initial scan of the directory reveals a flowchart laying out the federal government from the branches to its departments, and interestingly, shows the one thing that takes precedence even over the Executive Branch â€” the Constitution.
Somehow, we don’t think the current administration had much use for this flowchart or even the directory itself. And when it comes to transparency, well, in light of some new revelations regarding the uncharacteristic speed Bush aides are working to get new policies passed before their boss leaves office, transparency isn’t a word of which this administration is too fond.
It’s ironic that the Bush administration is working so hard at the last minute to enact rules that, in their minds, would extend this President’s legacy, when the rest of the country is wishing that Obama could start sooner rather than later.
Keeping in line with the way damaging policies by this Administration have been enacted in the past, some of those also in haste, it’s not hard to imagine why transparency is as foreign a concept to this administration as the idea that carbon dioxide emissions are harmful to the environment.
Yet, even with their boss’ lowest approval ratings in the whole history of polling, these dutiful aides are plowing ahead in what the Washington Post describes as:
The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in Januaryâ€¦As many as 90 new regulations are in the works, and at least nine of them are considered “economically significant” because they impose costs or promote societal benefits that exceed $100 million annually. They include new rules governing employees who take family- and medical-related leaves, new standards for preventing or containing oil spills, and a simplified process for settling real estate transactions.
Some of the other new rules include clearing “obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, easing controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relaxing drinking-water standards, lifting a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining, allowing natural gas pipelines to operate at higher pressures and new Homeland Security rules shifting passenger security screening responsibilities from airlines to the federal government.”
None of these new rules have the American consumer or the environment in mind but reek of protecting and furthering the business interests of big industries.
In a show of just how appalling these last-ditch policies really are, First Lady Laura Bush, in an unusual showdown, is going head-to-head with Vice-President Dick Cheney. It seems the First Lady is concerned about protecting parts of the Pacific Ocean from mineral and fishing exploitation. She’s gone as far as getting her aides to talk with scientists on how to preserve diverse ecosystems.
On the other hand, Cheney is siding with some Northern Mariana island officials who don’t want to see a ban on fishing or mineral exploration because they say it will hurt their economy.
Time will tell who will win but clearly it’s evident where the allegiance of this administration continually lies.
In the spirit of transparency that Obama has initiated, Latina Lista proposes that the Bush Administration create a page at the White House web site allowing the American public see the list of new regulations they want to enact.
If this administration wants to leave any kind of legacy that won’t be ridiculed or overturned and has some traction, they should follow the lead of their successor and do something that wasn’t done in the entire 8 years of this administration â€” talk with the American public and not at us.