C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb has asked Congress and the president to keep their word on transparency and let C-SPAN cover the “critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers.” The answer certainly will be “no.” After all, there is not likely to be an actual conference committee, so cameras would have to follow Reid and Pelosi around as they buttonhole members and offer up more Cornhusker Kickbacks. And that wouldn’t look too good.
Tom Bevan thinks Obama has a problem, given his own explicit promise to televise negotiations:
Today, when asked for the 3rd time whether President Obama believes that the “standard” he set during the campaign for transparency on health care negotiations is being met by the current process (which now appears to include bypassing the formal conference process), White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave a flaccid but telling response. “I do not believe the American people have lacked for information on what’s in these bills – the political and policy arguments around different people’s positions – I think that’s been well documented,” Gibbs said.
More and more of what comes out of the White House sounds like third-rate talking points. They seem to have grown accustomed to saying just any old thing and getting away with it. Now, they are being challenged. We’ll see how they respond. That enemies list (e.g., Fox News, Gallup, Rasmussen, Chamber of Commerce) is getting pretty long. But who’s going to believe that C-SPAN can be dismissed as a partisan attack machine? Maybe Obama should stick to a few of his promises — or at least concede that he just doesn’t want to.