Every now and then, like the proverbial broken clock, Frank Rich at the NY Times gets something mostly right. His column, The Rabbit Ragu Democrats, gets it mostly right and does a good job exposing the reality that lobbyists for corporate interests are running just as wild in the Obama administration as in previous Republican administrations.
Rich also gets it right in showing how the current situation flies in the face of Obama’s campaign promises:
Barack Obama promised a change from this revolving-door, behind-closed-doors collaboration between special interests and government. He vowed to “do our business in the light of day” — with health care negotiations broadcast on C-Span — and to “restore the vital trust between people and their government.” He said, “I intend to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.” That those lobbyists would so extravagantly flaunt their undiminished role shows just how little they believe that a new sheriff has arrived in Dodge.
But note that I said Rich got it “mostly” right. What Rich cannot bring himself to admit is that Obama is part of the problem. Instead, Rich paints Obama as a victim of Washington, someone who still has a chance to stand up for his campaign promises:
This is history that the president still has the power to write. It will be written in the bills he will or won’t sign into law. We can only hope that he learned an important lesson from his stunning failure to secure Olympic gold for his political home of Chicago last week. If the Olympic committee has the audacity to stand up to a lobbyist as powerful as the president of the United States, then surely the president of the United States can stand up to the powerful interests angling to defeat his promise of reform.
Frank Rich still is a broken clock. Having cheered on the Obama candidacy, and having savaged all Obama opponents, Rich cannot bring himself to recognize that Obama not only tolerates, but encourages (for example, by cutting deals with the pharmaceutical industry) the type of lobbying against which Obama campaigned.
In other words, Obama is just another politician. And Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, Gail Collins, Paul Krugman, and all the other NY Times columnists combined, cannot change that reality, although twice a day they get the time right.
Stay tuned. The next column by Frank Rich will express his shock to learn that there really was gambling in Casablanca.
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