Wednesday, January 06, 2010
The C-Span Promise
Here you see/hear Obama promising on eight different occasions to put the health bill negotiations on C-Span(clip from Drudge). As everyone knows, he is at the very moment violating this promise in a particularly in-your-face way, despite the fact C-Span itself has promised to make it very easy to keep it if he would only agree to do so. The House and Senate bills are being combined in a meeting that not only is not public, its proceedings are actually being kept secret from other members of Congress.
I think it is rather obvious what happened. When he made this promise he thought his reforms would be popular, and public view would shame (a word he used at the time) the legislators into doing what he wanted. But then as the discussion about the measure proceeded and public approval for the measure sank lower and lower the more we learned about it, it became clear that shame would work in the opposite direction from the one he intended. Obama had to chose between the bill and his naive, amateurish promise of democratic transparency. He chose the bill.