If there are two things that Barack Obama hates, it’s loopholes and lobbyists. Obama promised to clean up Washington by getting rid of both. Dana Milbank reported last week on how well that project is going:
As a candidate, Obama pledged that lobbyists “will not run my White House.” But on Monday, the president brought in one of this town’s most prominent lobbyists to run his White House — or at least a nice piece of it.
Steve Ricchetti, whose long list of lobbying clients included Fannie Mae, General Motors, the American Hospital Association and Eli Lilly, was tapped to be counselor to Vice President Biden.
Ricchetti achieved this feat — getting around the ban on lobbyists serving in the administration — by using one of Washington’s most-honored traditions: the loophole. Just as Obama won the presidency, Ricchetti de-registered as a lobbyist for his various clients. But he remained president of the lobbying firm that continued to work for many of those same clients, as well as a few more, such as the American Bankers Association.
Only in today’s Washington could a president circumvent his own ban on hiring lobbyists by hiring the head of a lobbying firm.
Loopholes and lobbyists — they’re not just for corporate-jet owners any more! But don’t worry about the status of Hopenchange. While Obama demonstrated his commitment to business as usual, the White House rolled out a new website devoted to transparency on … ethics. Because we all know that Hope and Change means updated websites.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!