Obama and lobbyists, first week in office

24 01 2009

President Barack Obama has been in office for less than a week, and he’s already changing the way politics work in Washington.  He promised change, so we expect it.  One of his new rules is that lobbyists can’t work for agencies they’ve lobbied in the last two years.  That sounds good, because you know those people will be inclined to be biased.  But there’s a flaw in the slaw…

During that speech, Obama said that the revolving door between government and lobbying would be slammed shut “for as long as I am president”.  I see two flaws with that notion.  First, can you slam a revolving door?  🙂  My second concern is a lot more serious — he broke the pledge while he was saying it.  He nominated William J. Lynn for deputy Secretary of Defense, even though Lynn was working for Raytheon until last week as a senior vice president and lobbyist.  And Raytheon has several contracts with the Department of Defense, which bring in billions of dollars.

Ironically, Obama also just got a letter from 44 senators and about 200 congressmen asking for more F-22 fighters to be built.  And one of the senators explained why we need to keep buildings these jets that we aren’t using:

Continued F-22 production is critical to both the national security and economic interests of our country. At a time when we are looking to create jobs and stimulate the economy, eliminating the $12 billion in economic activity and thousands of American jobs tied to F-22 production simply doesn’t make sense.

So for the sake of the economy and keeping jobs, we should supposedly build more jets we aren’t using.  I’m curious what Obama will say about that…  Surely there are other things the military could have built, that they would actually use…

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