Patterico's Pontifications


Obama and Change: Lobbyists Are Back In (Updated with Obama’s Final Policy)

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 11:41 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now that he’s President-elect and filling the rosters of his Administration, Obama has backed off his promise to exclude lobbyists from government and lobbyists are back in:

“Despite campaign trail promises that special interests wouldn’t be a part of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama’s has sent signals to the lobbyists that they can get jobs with him.

The Obama policy, which appears to be evolving, would prevent lobbyists from taking administration jobs in the same areas they had advocated for in their private practices.

And, once leaving the administration, they would face a longer “cooling off” periods during which they could not lobby their former administrative colleagues.

But the overall message to the lobbying community appears to run counter to the Democratic senator’s campaign promise to keep special interest advocates at arms length.”

Obama was also inconsistent regarding lobbyists during his campaign. Not only did he vastly overstate the extent to which McCain was tied to lobbyists but he also claimed that he would not take lobbyist contributions when he did (see here and here). And despite claims to the contrary, he also worked with lobbyists to promote clients’ interests as a Senator.

I’ve decided Obama embraces a nuanced version of truth. There are the simple truths he tells the public that are often followed by changes that undermine those truths, changes he adds over time. People accept the changes because they are spoon-fed in small bites, but at some point they will realize they’ve been promised steak but are eating tofu.

UPDATE: Right on cue, John Podesta announces Obama’s updated lobbyist rules — No lobbying on the transition team:

“According to John Podesta, a top transition aide, federal lobbyists will be prohibited from any lobbying while they are at work on the transition.

Also, if anyone involved in the transition later becomes a lobbyist, they would not be able to lobby the new administration for one year on matters on which they worked for the president-elect.

The rules also stipulate that federal lobbyists may not contribute financially to the transition.”


18 Responses to “Obama and Change: Lobbyists Are Back In (Updated with Obama’s Final Policy)”

  1. Ah, but this is different, DRJ!

    Bad lobbyists are evil Republicans, out to make a buck.

    Good lobbyists are progressives, trying to create social justice.


    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  2. And, by the way, DRJ, you now know why President-Elect Obama kept smirking at John McCain.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  3. Obama flipped Hillary the bird.
    Obama flipped McCain the bird.
    Now Obama is flipping America the bird.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  4. I’ve updated the post to include today’s announcement of Obama’s final policy on lobbyists.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  5. But is it the really cross-my-heart, swear on Bill Ayers’ “final” ?

    SPQR (72771e)

  6. Who defines what the “matters on which they worked for the president-elect” are? Is it broadly defined, like “foreign policy” or is it narrowly defined like “Georgia”?

    What is our confidence level that Emmanuel would not meet with somebody because they worked for 2 months on the transition? It isn’t like any official body will be keeping track.

    MayBee (e66885)

  7. This is the kind of change that is constantly changing; the change is not of position, but of changing positions. Stable positions no longer exist. He’s been talking out of both sides of his mouth so long that MKH had a five minute video of it, before the election.

    htom (412a17)

  8. This may be somewhat off-topic, but if 7 out of 10 people think Obama is going to ‘fix’ the economy, and given that consumer confidence and spending, more than anything else, drives the economy, why should we oppose his economic planks if, in doing so, we cause people to lose confidence, become more pessimistic which in turns leads to even worse economic problems?

    It’s not as if the GOP is going to be able to enact anything it wants to do, the choice for the GOP is between standing to the side while Obama fixes the economy and being an obstacle leaving us in the same mess for years to come. And given that we’re supposed to have the country’s best interests at heart, how can we justify subjecting the country to the effects of a collapsing economy? Isn’t it our patriotic duty to help Obama? Who’s with me? Let’s go!

    stevesturm (369bc6)

  9. Sorry having problems, posted this on the wrong post.

    stevesturm (369bc6)

  10. Comment by Perfect Sense — 11/11/2008 @ 11:50 am

    He did that the day he announced his campaign for President, two years ago.

    Another Drew (6a5b36)

  11. everyone surprised by this, raise your hand….

    /looks around

    ok, put’em down……. now we all know who the fools are.

    redc1c4 (27fd3e)

  12. Yeah, but he’s a good man.

    Xrlq (a9f2c7)

  13. #12: “Yeah, but he’s a good man.”

    and we’re just being bitter and sarcastic when we keep bringing that up…… %-)

    i guess it all depends upon the definition you’re using for “good”, eh?

    personally, i think he’s a lying scumbag, but that’s just me.

    redc1c4 (27fd3e)

  14. Eliot Spitzer has embraced change, too; his hookers will now be allowed to spit.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  15. Joel – That’s a healthy change.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  16. It’s a good thing Obama didn’t tell us that he would embrace lobbyists before, or else America might not have voted for change.

    Sean P (e57269)

  17. Meet the new labor bosski; same as the old labor bosski.

    Icy Truth (aedb2f)

  18. Obama could have told America that he will embrace lobbyists because he could have just edited his words to fit his empty promises. He has already gone back on some of his lofty promises, and this is just the start of an increasing trend. Obama and his leftist illuminati cabinet will legislate this country to death.

    Jeff (3cb047)

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