Transparent Obama Administration Responds To Fewer FOIA Requests
March 15, 2011 Leave a comment
According to the AP, the Federal government under Obama has denied around 1/3 of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Not only are they denying information at a record pace, when the Feds provide information it takes them weeks longer than it did just last year. Some of these refusals or delays are legitimate, such as when someone makes an improper request or refuses to pay for copies. However the President has promised transparency in government and it is clear he is not delivering it.
Obama’s transparency pledge was absolutely meaningless and everyone knows it. I dare say that everyone but wide eyed kids knew it was meaningless. It goes right along with Bill Clinton declaring that his administration would be the most ethical in American history. It sounds good, it is meant as both a declaration of intent and attack on the previous administration and it is utterly meaningless.
From the very beginning of this administration it was clear transparency wasn’t going to be very important. We’ll but the birth certificate off to the side, though one could argue the lack of an actual birth certificate as an example. The President has been slow to release the names of people who visit the White House. To this day he still hasn’t released a comprehensive list. If a President were actually interested in transparency it seems to me that he would want the people to know who is visiting him at the White House. Instead, we’ve gotten only a partial list which might as well be no list at all.
The FOIA issue is yet another example of the incompetence of the Obama administration. It’s been pretty clear all along that President Obama doesn’t have the slightest idea how to run a government. He had no management experience coming into the White House and had at best limited experience in government. There’s a reason why Obama was the first US Senator elected since JFK and there’s a reason why Americans usually elect former Governors or Vice Presidents. Those folks know how to manage an executive branch, Senators know how to manage a staff of 25.
The end result is that no one within the administration is on the same page. We’ve seen it recently in the middle east where Biden says one thing, Hillary says another and then Obama says something different. We’ve seen it with the way Obamacare and other bills were managed by the White House. We’re seeing it now with these FOIA requests. The President says one thing but he can’t get the entire government to jump on board because he can’t effectively manage the government. Even if we accept that he had no intention of being transparent, there is a way to make transparency seem to happen without it actually happening. It would require speeding up response time to FOIA requests. The opposite has happened and I dare say it’s because Obama has no management skills.
The Obama administration will not be the most transparent in American history just like the Clinton administration was not the most ethical. The President meets with people and won’t let the country know who is lobbying him. The executive branch he runs is answering fewer FOIA requests and taking longer to respond to them. The Federal government is plagued by a limited desire to be transparent and an utter lack of executive leadership at the top. There’s only one way to fix that my Republican friends. We must nominate a former Governor or successful business executive.