‘Hope and Change’: Lobbyists return to the White House in droves

posted at 10:01 am on August 13, 2014 by Noah Rothman

“No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years,” read one of the president’s many broken promises from the 2008 campaign. “And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.”

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over,” Obama said in 2007 according to a post on Change.gov which is, gallingly, still live. “I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”

Well, it was a nice thought.

“The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled back part of its ban on lobbyists serving in government, narrowing one of the president’s signature policies in the face of a legal challenge,” The New York Times reported.

Under a new rule, registered lobbyists whom Mr. Obama had previously barred from serving on government advisory boards may now participate if they are representing companies or groups and not acting on their own behalf.

The change was published in the Federal Register and took effect immediately, the administration said. It comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the Obama administration’s efforts to dismiss a lawsuit by six lobbyists who challenged the ban’s constitutionality after being excluded from a trade advisory committee. The lobbyists said their First Amendment rights to petition the government had been violated.

The change is the latest example of the limits of the president’s effort to rein in the influence of special interests in government. Mr. Obama barred lobbyists from contributing to his campaign and signed an order on his first day in office in 2009 prohibiting them from serving in his administration.

[T]he New York Times reported on this topic and referred to only “a number” of lobbyists, conveniently omitting any sense of scale of the phenomenon for its readership,” National Review‘s Jim Geraghty observed. He pointed to a report authored by Conor McGrath in the Journal of Public Affairs which concluded that 119 lobbyists were working in the administration as of last year.

The case against money being allowed to play a prominent role in politics and elections is particularly weak. One, it is a utopian and unfeasible objective to demand that capital be somehow forcibly divorced from this rather central aspect of American life, particularly since the alternative is to create a public enterprise out of campaigns and elections. Two, petitioning the government for redress is a constitutionally protected activity, and the anger some express toward corporations for hiring individuals to do just that is more often than not just hollow, Bryan-esque populism.

That having been said, it is a virtue for politicians to keep their word when they make lofty promises to the American people while pitching their candidacy. The president has entirely reversed himself on the issue of lobbyist and, as Michelle Malkin noted in a compelling post, the press doesn’t really seem to care.

This is not even the first time that the president has been cornered on his hypocritical approach to the issue of lobbyists.

When asked about the inconsistency of saying he never takes money from lobbyists while taking money from lobbyists in 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the late NBC News host Tim Russert that he is a weak and fallible man.

“I have said repeatedly that money is the original sin in politics and I am not sinless,” Obama said. “But what I have been consistent about is fighting to reduce the influence of money in politics at every level of government.”

This entire interview is worth a watch because, at about the 2:50 mark, the president has the – let’s call it audacity — to respond to the accusation that he is being hypocritical by attacking his interlocutor for demonstrating rank cynicism by daring to notice.

Obama is, as he has repeatedly insisted, demonstrating the best of intentions. What more do you people want? Results??

The Hope and Change of 2008 has fully and completely descended into hypocrisy and despair, but Politico remains, as ever, forgiving of the president.

“Barack Obama promised to take on Washington’s revolving door culture,” a report on Obama’s about-face on lobbyists began. “Washington won.”

Such lengths to go merely to avoid admitting that Obama took you for a ride. Washington didn’t win. Obama capitulated in a fight he was never going to wage vigorously in the first place.


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We Lobbyists are the ones we have been waiting for!”

Verba, libfree, Pooper, Tlaloc, any of you brainiacs want to chime-in and explain this?

Bishop on August 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

When did they never have lobbyists. The White House gang must need an awful lot of money. It never seems to be enough.

crankyoldlady on August 13, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Big money and power peddling democrats = good

Big money and power peddling republicans = bad

Says “typical liberal.”

Skwor on August 13, 2014 at 10:06 AM

“57 states” was the most honest Freud-o that ever sneaked past the TOTUS and his dogeating lips …

ShainS on August 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Verba, libfree, Pooper, Tlaloc, any of you brainiacs want to chime-in and explain this?

Bishop on August 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Skwor stole my thunder …

ShainS on August 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Well hope and change lead to a ISIS death cult…as Col.Ralph Peter’s put it.

sorrowen on August 13, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I’m beginning to suspect this obozo fellow isn’t very honest.

Flange on August 13, 2014 at 10:15 AM

How’s that Solyndra thing working out?

viking01 on August 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Every statement Barack Obama makes has an…

you know the drill.

formwiz on August 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM

And the corruption goes on.

crankyoldlady on August 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The White House staff has been meeting lobbyists across the street from the White House for years……and none of those meetings are documented.

GarandFan on August 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The One: “Whatever I choose to do is right and moral, since the ends do justify the means.”

vnvet on August 13, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Yawn….

Hard to get apocalyptic about a broken campaign promise when he has brazenly trampled the Constitution throughout his term in office.

chuckfinlay on August 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM

What I can’t stand is the idea that Obama was ever against lobbyists or that he tried to do anything about them. He was in bed with them from the moment he launched his campaign, and it seems that the late Russert was the only journalist with the fortitude to call Obama out on his blatant hypocrisy.

“Barack Obama promised to take on Washington’s revolving door culture,” a report on Obama’s about-face on lobbyists began. “Washington won.”

“Washington is more broken from the previous administration than I thought it was.” – The Won

Aizen on August 13, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Good lapdog politico

cmsinaz on August 13, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Has Hustler Holder announced this week’s revised Spite House bribery price list?

viking01 on August 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM

“We Lobbyists are the ones we have been waiting for!”

Verba, libfree, Pooper, Tlaloc, any of you brainiacs want to chime-in and explain this?

Bishop on August 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Didn’t Obama make more than a dozen exemptions to his “no lobbyists” rule in his first week in office?

And a bunch more were added over time. I think there’s over 100 now.

But at least Obama’s consistent. Everything he says is a lie.

gwelf on August 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

may now participate if they are representing companies or groups and not acting on their own behalf.

Which is the definition of a “Lobbyist”, but it appears our Constitutional lawyer does not even know or understand this.

JeffinSac on August 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Don’t bother with pointing out all the lies.

Tell us when he says something that is truthful!

That would be worth a couple of Hot Air posts!

txdoc on August 13, 2014 at 10:41 AM

All Obama promises come with an expiration date. Every single one.

If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, etc.

ConstantineXI on August 13, 2014 at 10:50 AM

I see….

“Do as I say, not as Bush did”.

HonestLib on August 13, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Thank you, President Obama!

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

HumpBot Salvation on August 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Haaaa, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hak ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaaaaa…

HiJack on August 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Another devastating “return”.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 11:57 AM

I disapprove of all this lobbyist grifting. Sincerely, Elizabeth Warren

22044 on August 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Must be hell to be Ned Pepper.

The guy might have died in obama’s azz, assuming he was consuming Beluga caviar.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 12:25 PM

W00t! All that righteous indignation! I’m heading over to the leftist sites to drink in their sweet salty tears and…

Uh…

Huh… They’re not saying anything…

Well y’know… Gotta toe the line and defend against the real enemy of the “state”… Republicans…

Skywise on August 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM

No HotAir article about another of Barry’s commitments, -the one on vacation?

Flashback: Obama Promises No Vacations For Himself As President

slickwillie2001 on August 13, 2014 at 1:01 PM

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over,” Obama said in 2007 according to a post on Change.gov which is, gallingly, still live.

Why is that still up? Good it is. This is also on there:

End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.

Fail. O-care.

Patriot Vet on August 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Also from Change.gov:

Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Patriot Vet on August 13, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Lying sack again.

Mason on August 13, 2014 at 1:44 PM

‘Hope and Change’

No, that would be BAIT and SWITCH.

It’s been that way since before day one of this disaster of a “Presidency”.

It would also be fraud. Which also quite accurately describes the a fore mentioned disaster.

Meople on August 13, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Do as I say, not as I do.

Oxymoron on August 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM