President Barack Obama is praising his administration as a champion of government transparency — even as his deputies continue their unprecedented, record-breaking obstructionism of the nation’s government transparency laws.
“I am very proud of all the work we’ve done to try to make government more open and responsive,” Obama said at the bill-signing for a government transparency law.
During his tenure, though, Obama has converted transparency laws into stonewalls that hide scandals, such as Obamacare spending, Fast-and-Furious gun sales, Benghazi before-and-after decisions, Hillary Clinton’s emails, the IRS suppression of Tea party groups, Veterans Administration failures, counter-terrorism failures, and much, much else.
He praised himself for transparency one day after Florida media reported that his FBI was asking local police agencies to hide information about the Pulse gay nightclub attack, and on the same day that his Justice Department asked for a 27-month delay in releasing emails from Hillary Clinton’s work at the State Department.
Obama’s in-your-face disregard of the obvious, however, is Chapter One in Obama’s crisis p.r. playbook.
His well-thumbed playbook was used on Thursday, June 30, for the Oval Office signing of the “The FOIA Improvement Act Of 2016,” which modestly improves the Freedom Of Information Act that is supposed to let the media, the public and Congress keep a close watch on government actions.
Guided by the White House playbook, the bill-signing was used by Obama to portray the GOP as laggards in his earnest push to reform government — instead of a day when Obama finally submitted to public pressure for more transparency and accountability.
His short statement showcased the passive-aggressive tactics that Obama uses to portray himself as the well-meaning and hard-working victim of GOP hostility.
First, Obama slammed the GOP with faint praise, and claimed credit for enacting the new FOIA law. “Well, even in the midst of political season, every once in a while, Congress moves forward on something that is really significant and important. And I want to make sure that the American public are aware of what I’m going to be signing here today,” he said.
Then he flipped the reality of numerous scandals and investigations into a fake claim of unprecedented White House openness. “But having said all that, we’re actually getting many more requests for FOIA than ever before. And so we’ve had to figure out ways that we can reform this to make it easier, faster, cheaper for people to get the information that they want.”
Then he dismissed what Congress had done by claiming the law is only a modest improvement over the White House’s good-government reforms. “Congress — on a bipartisan basis — has provided the tools — legislation — to codify some of the reforms we’ve already made and to expand more of these reforms so that government is more responsive,” he claimed with often-practiced sincerity.
He next patted himself on the back, again, and portrayed his critics as petty complainers who aren’t grateful for the hard work he’s done. “And I am very proud of all the work we’ve done to try to make government more open and responsive, but I know that people haven’t always been satisfied with the speed with which they’re getting responses and requests. Hopefully this is going to help and be an important initiative for us to continue on the reform path.”
The template for this p.r. mini-masterpiece is subtle passive-aggression.
He earnestly but indirectly grabs credit, smiles while he criticizes others indirectly. And he uses lots of good-government words — in this case, he used “reform” four times — to hypnotize media lapdogs into passivity.
He rarely ever acknowledges the existence of rival ideas — except when he distorts them for easy criticism and dismissal. He rarely acknowledges any problems in his policies, except to justify his demands for even more resources and power to implement his government-first policies.
He prefers to speak indirectly. For example, instead of describing and praising his often uncontroversial priorities, he claims that his policies simply follow “the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.” Instead of directly describing and criticizing popular GOP ideas, he dismisses them by saying they’re “not what we are about as Americans.”
For example, he’s slammed rival polices at least 48 times with the vague, indirect, above-it-all criticism, “that’s not who we are.”
These indirect statements are critical because direct statements are too lame, defensive or negative, especially when Obama’s record is poor. With indirect statements, he doesn’t have to push crude deceptions that directly challenge to the media’s remaining pride and force the media to publicize his faults. The most obvious direct lie was his 2013 “Lie of Year” — “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” But indirect statements allow the media to ignore Obama’s spin and so deny his critics or the GOP any obvious or easy counterattacks.
If they wish, journalists could quickly respond to Obama June 30 passive-aggressive masterpiece by cutting-and-pasting from their many prior stories about White House stonewalls, no-comments, misdirections, lies, evasions, time-wasting, foot-dragging, misdirection, counter-lawsuits, and so on. Here are a few of the prior headlines;
“Fournier: Obama Admin ‘The Least Transparent,’ ‘Probably In This Nation’s History,’ ‘Clearly Lying’ About Fast and Furious,” Breitbart News.
“US gov’t sets record for failures to find files when asked.” SunshineWeek.RCFP.org.
“New Data Shows Obama Least Transparent Prez Ever,” Daily Caller.
“US gov’t sets record for failures to find files when asked,” Associated Press, which reported in March that;
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration set a record for the number of times its federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page requested under the Freedom of Information Act, according to a new Associated Press analysis of government data.
In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed last year. Such cases contributed to an alarming measurement: People who asked for records under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, also a record. In the first full year after President Barack Obama’s election, that figure was only 65 percent of cases.
But there’s little point in producing such quick responses because they have no political punch. For example, the March AP report showed how the White House shamelessly ignored the obstructionist reality, without suffering any retaliatory pain from the media.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday he was not familiar with the figures showing how routinely the government said it can’t find any records, although the Justice Department also highlighted them in its own performance report. Earnest said federal employees work diligently on such requests, and renewed his earlier complaint that the U.S. records law has never applied to Congress since it was signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat.
The media’s usual he-said-he-did articles and videos lack political punch. They’ve got no political power, and no impact, because Obama’s playbook of upbeat earnest-and-smile appearance makes sure there’s no unpleasant video deception and no obviously insulting lies that would shock and embarrass the humiliated media into recovering its pride by hitting back.
If members of the establishment media wanted Obama to tell the truth, they’d punish him for hiding so much information.
The easiest and most effective way to punish Obama would be by exposing Hillary Clinton’s lies, deceptions, prevarications and misdirections about Libya, Benghazi, the secret emails, the Clinton Foundation dealmaking and all of her prior scandals. That would be government transparency which matters — because it would impose a painful political price by threatening Hillary Clinton’s election plans.
That’s why it won’t happen, and Obama knows it won’t happen, so there’s no political cost for Obama when he treats proud establishment White House reporters as vain servants at Alice in Wonderland bill-signings.
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’