Government Reform

Obama's Transparency Outlook: Still Hazy


The Columbia Journalism Review's Clint Hendler grades President Obama's delivery so far on his promises of greater transparency. Obama earns an A–, his best grade, for opening up White House visitor records, which Bush treated as confidential. He gets his worst grade, F, for continuing off-the-record briefings by "senior administration officials" who must remain nameless even when they are announcing official policy and even when they turn around and say the same things on TV. Hendler notes that "Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary from 2003 to 2006, said the practice didnt make much sense to him, and decided not to conduct them." Obama gets a D+ and D, respectively, for his efforts to put agency data online and for his use of the "state secrets" privilege, which seems pretty similar to Bush's despite a new internal review procedure.

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  1. I don’t know why people complain about Obama not being transparent. When I look his way, I can see right through him. It’s like he isn’t there at all!

      1. No. If I were a racist, I’d say he was opaque, which he is not. He is, however, quite obtuse.

    1. Let me be perfectly clear.

      1. Well, hello Mister… Man.
        Ya didn’t think I’d come back;
        Ya didn’t think I’d show up with my army,
        And this ammunition on my back.

        So now that I’m Miss Thing,
        Now that I’m a zillionaire,
        Ya scan the credits for your name,
        and wonder why it’s not there!

  2. Meet the old boss, same as the older boss!

    1. Fooled again.

  3. A) Knowing who’s on the WH visitor list and connecting it with any business they might have with the WH around the times of their visits only serves to brand the knower as a conspiracy loon. I assume everyone in the WH isn’t as dumb as Obama, or it would be on fire right now, so that’s probably the point of its being made available. Open, it becomes unspeakable. Smoov.

    2) That’s a preposterously asskissy article.

    1. Letters or numbers??? Choose one, dammit!

    2. The WH guest list — a great idea!  The Secret Service can read it and find out who’s actually there.

    3. Except the list isn’t “open” if they lie about who’s on it. According to the White House, the “Jeremiah Wright,” “Malik Shabazz,” “William Ayers,” and “Bertha Lewis” on the logs aren’t the same as the Obama’s famous friends and supporters, but different people of the same name, who the WH can’t identify for “privacy reasons.” Can you imagine the media stink if a Republican WH said that?

  4. With the possible exception of troop movements during war, intelligence sources, and things like that, how are we better off not having total access to government activities and records?

    1. Ignorance is bliss.

      1. I don’t feel very blissful.

    2. Troop movements during war and intelligence sources are no exception: no state has the right to conduct any of its affairs in clandestine fashion.

      1. Hey, Herr Hitler? Yeah, we’re going to be invading Normandy tomorrow, guys. Not Calais. Just so you know.

        1. The state does not have the right to approach any matter like Boise State in the 2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowl. No trickeration allowed.

          1. I guess we should disclose all of our millitary weapons secrets as well? “Go ahead world, build nukes and bioweapons, here are the plans!”

          2. If Libertymike were a clock, you’d have to WD-40 the doors the little bird comes through once a year to make sure they don’t get stuck.

          3. And of course I’m not surprised that a Neoconfederate would be pissed about BSU’s 2007 trick play in OT — not only was it named after a Union government monument, but it led to a black man proposing to a white woman.

            1. I’m a big Boise State fan, you’re off the mark. IMO, they were the best team in the country in 2006 as well as 2009. They should be the national champions.

            2. While Libertymike is freaking nutjob, I’ve never seen a racist side to him (at least not concerning blacks).

              1. He refers to Obama as “the negro communist”.

                And he opines that Lincoln was a tyrant for opposing the Confederacy, which may not be inherently racist but certainly is a compelling piece of circumstantial evidence.

                1. Here is the link to the original comment that set me off. I’m going to get spam-canned if I try to post a second link, but there were several subsequent instances where he stood by his characterization.

  5. I suppose the coming closed sessions for the ‘health care’ bill will bring the grade down a bit.

  6. Well, he certainly did not promise crystal-clear transparency – maybe “hazy” is as good as we will get from the professor…

  7. State secrets are for socialists. Like the tall stutterering one who makes his residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  8. What gets me is the simplistic, intellectually feeble proposition that our very survival depends upon the state being able to conduct business sub rosa, to employ spies, to engage in cloak and dagger mayhem, including murder and to have “secrets.”

    In a repubic, the government and its sub-human “worker” bees are the agents whereas the citizen is the principal. By what dint of logic should the agent have the right to deny its principal with access to, and knowledge of, the agent’s acitivities?

    1. Are you serious?

      1. What do you think, bitch? I am the principal and you are my agent.

        1. Ever heard of a public corporation? The shareholders are the principals, but don’t have access to all the information.

          1. Ever heard of a power of attorney? The attorney-in-fact is the agent and the principal has an absolute right to know everything his agent is doing on his behalf.

          2. Ever heard of a closely held corporation? The shareholders are the principals and they do have access to all of the information that its agent is holding.

    2. There are lots of principals, and on certain issues they’re not merely apathetic, but explicitly want things to be confidential, even if it means not knowing how to build a giant combat robot or when and where we invade or where all the aliens spaceships are.

  9. I don’t have to tell you fuckers Jack Shit, get me?

    Fuck all y’all.

    1. You tell ’em, Most Revered One!

  10. Obama gets an A+ for promising that all negotiations with drug companies would be broadcast live on CSPAN.

    Hell, he just gets an A+ in promising.

    1. In real America, we call that lying.

  11. Nice Magic 8-Ball reference. Though it is of course terribly racist.

  12. All these letter grades don’t average out to B+. This is the result of the No President Left Behind Act, isn’t it?

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