Critics are slamming President Obama over news
that C-Span will not in fact be allowed to cover the final negotiations
on the health care bill. (See why Dems are skipping the health care conference here
.) Transparency and televised lawmaking were campaign promises for the president, and neither left nor
right is particularly happy to see them withdrawn. Yet in the midst of
attacks from both sides, a handful of liberals and
conservatives have argued that there are serious drawbacks to
transparency, suggesting that there might, bizarrely, be more honest law-making
if the American people aren't
- We Need Transparency "Hours of debate and information are nice," says Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, "but the real value of transparency is in keeping everyone honest."
He's still incensed by the administration's earlier decision to "[meet]
with insurance and pharmaceutical industry leaders in private." In
doing so, "the administration has shielded the parties most in need of being kept honest, the ones most likely to poison the process."
- Embarrassing "This black-ops mission," write the editors of The Wall Street Journal of the negotiations, "ought to be a particular embarrassment for Mr.
Obama, given that he campaigned on transparent government."
- Broken Promise "Lies this shameless," fumes Hot Air's Allahpundit, "especially from the lips of our modern-day Lincoln-Jesus, must be cherished."
- But Would Transparency Actually Help? "The introduction of cameras into the daily White House press briefings,
for instance," writes Igor Volsky
at liberal Think Progress, "hasn't produced a better understanding of
policy or more informative media coverage. Rather, it created an
additional opportunity for political theater and posturing." Arguing
that televising negotiations would turn them into a "theatrical
sideshow," Volsky concludes that "the public should have ample opportunity to review the final product
before the vote, but when it comes to legislating, transparency is
overrated. Changing Washington’s political culture requires far deeper
systematic reforms than C-SPAN television. The hard politics isn’t
pretty enough for TV."
- Of Course It Wouldn't--Obama's an Idiot From the opposing team, conservative Commentary magazine's John Steele Gordon has a similar, if less Obama-friendly, take:
Who is to blame for giving the Republicans such as wonderful cudgel
with which to beat President Obama and the congressional Democrats over
the head? Well, it was that political genius Barack Obama. It was a
dumb political move on his part to have ever suggested open
negotiations, let alone promising them over and over.
Real negotiations — as opposed to questioning witnesses and debating on the floor — are never held in public.
- Mainstream Media, This Is on You Blogger Clifton B at Another Black Conservative says the media long ago "shed their credibility and their integrity and jumped in bed with
Obama." Their outcry now is a bit late: "Now that
everything is going south, they want to act like they are all about the
Fourth Estate again. Sorry, but it is time for the MSM to reap what
they have sown. America is getting a crappy health care bill and the
media is every bit to blame as the sleazy politicians who wrote it."
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