Some things never change.
Candidate Barrack Obama said over and over and over it was time for change. He promised he would bring transparency back to government. He promised that the health care reform legislation would be on C-Span so everyone could see who was voting for their constituents and who was be paid off by drug companies.
I remember candidate Obama appearing in Des Moines with Oprah. Everyone was excited. Change. Fresh air in Washington. Accountability. People would be heard. No more business as usual.
The Senate and the House of Representatives have each passed a version of health care reform. Now the two bills need to be reconciled so one bill can be presented to the President.
Normally there is a conference committee of leaders from each house and there are hearings. Representatives from both the Senate and the House have an opportunity to present arguments and make recommendations as to how the two bills can be consolidated. This process is not fast but it is thorough and allows for differing positions to be discussed.
President Obama and the Democratic majority want to get health care reform passed quickly. Thus, they have decided to reconcile the two major bills informally -- that means behind closed doors. Because they have the votes they can pretty much do what they want. The law does not require a conference committee to be convened to reconcile the two bills.
Unfortunately, going behind closed doors means deals will be made to buy votes. Yesterday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made reference to a deal made between the White House and Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. He said "Nebraska got the corn and we got the husk." (Nebraska is known as the cornhusker state.)
Even though the White House has decided to reconcile the House and Senate bills via an informal process, that process could still be broadcast on C-Span. That would be in keeping with the promises made during the campaign.
Going behind closed doors to hash out back room deals in secret is not very transparent. Then again, maybe it is.
Maybe we are learning that President Obama, despite all his promises, is really no different than any other politican. I am not angry, as I am a realist. But I am disappointed. I had hoped for better. I had hoped for change.
Thanks for stopping by.