The New York Times awakens, smells coffee, notices an Obama statement that reached its expiration date:
“When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it, so that you know what your government’s doing,” Mr. Obama said as a candidate, telling voters he would make government more transparent and accountable . . . Five months into his administration, Mr. Obama has signed two dozen bills, but he has almost never waited five days . . . Now, in a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign pledge was easier to make than to fulfill, the White House is changing its terms. Instead of starting the five-day clock when Congress passes a bill, administration officials say they intend to start it earlier and post the bills sooner.”
A lot of politicians break promises. But the Obama campaign took this to a new level by making promises and clearly not bothering to look into whether they would be easy or hard to keep. Obama deserves half a point for using the “now, we know this will not be easy” line in almost every speech, but a major theme of his campaign last year was this assertion that the only obstruction to many great policy outcomes was a lack of will; all we needed was a president who was determined to make it happen, and Abracadabra! – more accessible, more transparent, more responsive government. (“Yes, we can!”) And now, we find . . . no, the world, and government, is a bit more complicated than that.