The discontent between the Obama promise of transparency and the reality of opacity is nowhere more visible than the silly petition page on the White House website. When the page, titled “We the People: Your Voice in Government,” was initially rolled out, the administration promised that it would give attention (whatever that means) to any petition with 25,000 signatures or more. When it became apparent that the topics were frequently inimical (petitions to secede from the union were filed on behalf of all 50 states), the number of signatures required for a presidential audience were quadrupled.
The lack of openness is so inescapable that even Jill Abramson, executive editor of the ultra-left-leaning New York Times, said of the Obama administration in a TV interview last Sunday that “this is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.”
Yet, the pretense remains that when the people speak, the president listens. The latest example of presidential openness is a “survey” proffered by Obama’s nebulous dark money group, Organizing for Action. It’s really more of a suggestion box than a survey. The page, at BarackObama.com, advertised on Twitter. It reads:
President Obama is delivering the State of the Union on Tuesday, January 28th, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Before he takes the floor, OFA wants to hear from you: Which issue are you most looking forward to hearing about in the State of the Union?
Let us know right now.
But before you let the administration know what you think, you are required to give them your email address and ZIP code. It’s not hard to imagine what they plan to do with that information.
Nevertheless the notion that this president has his door and ear open to the people is especially hilarious when you look at the latest polls, which uniformly show that support for his vaunted health care law has fallen to an all-time low.