When Obama was running for office, he spoke about how he would handle health care reform: “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table,” and it all would be “televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”
As they say, that was then and this is now. Now, Reid, Baucus and Dodd are meeting in private to hash out health care. It might be around a big table, but there will be no C-SPAN or any access allowed to the general public. Naturally, various excuses have been given as to why this will be handled in secrecy.
Naturally, there can be legitimate grounds for secret meetings. If , for example, matters of national security are being discussed by Senators and a leak could actually be harmful to the people of the United States, then such a meeting should be secret.
In the case of the health care reform, there is clearly no such justification of secrecy. In this case, I would infer that the folks choosing to take action in secret are doing so because what would be revealed to the people would be more damaging than the fact that the president is breaking his word.
While I can only speculate on what is happening behind the closed doors, I would suspect that it is the usual thing that politicians do behind closed doors. No, not cheat on their wives. Rather, it might be the case that they are working on various dirty deals that that would outrage many people.
Since Obama promised an open process and there seems to be no legitimate reason for such secrecy, what is being done is simply not acceptable. This process should be out in the open, with the full light of public scrutiny upon it.
Yes, I do know that politics is all about secret deals and back room machinations. But, obviously enough, this sort of behavior allows and encourages corruption and misdeeds. I was critical about the secrecy in the Bush administration and consistency requires that I apply the same criticism to what is happening under Obama. It is far past the time when we should demand proper openness in our government. The Bush administration made it quite clear what can happen in the darkness. While the Obama administration will probably commit different sins, keeping a light in things can help keep that sinning down to a minimum.