Congressional give-and-take with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been successful in advancing the President's agenda, Shailagh Murray reported at the Washington Post a few days ago. Just prior to working on the 2010 budget resolution, 46 legislators came to the White House to meet with Emanuel. "On April 2 Emanuel's hospitality paid off," said Murray. All but 3 of his visitors voted for the measure. She explained further: "The White House legislative strategy blends Obama's vision and salesmanship with Emanuel's granular political expertise and deal-making skills."
Second-guessing the President's words -- Robert Schlesinger opines that, in his most recent economic speech, President Obama should have chosen a different concept than "new foundation" to illustrate how he wants to fix the economy. The author reminded us that the phrase was used unsuccessfully in the Jimmy Carter administration, and was discarded three days later. The post was found in the US News and World Report of 4/14/09.
Intergovernmental give and take -- “Over 700 Federal employees, contractors, academicians and interested members of the public have mounted a campaign to enhance collaboration, knowledge and learning in the Federal Government,” according to Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News. Additionally, "The initiative is developing its policy proposals along with educational and promotional materials on a public wiki site hosted by NASA."
Watching his words -- Aftergood also reports on a Presidential memo issued last month. President Obama said, "“If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public,” according to a new memorandum on “Scientific Integrity” that was issued by President Obama on March 9. The president also promised to limit the use of signing statements, and to “make clear the nature and basis of the constitutional objection.” Also, this story appeared recently on Wired-Threat Level: "Legal Scholar: Obama Breaking Promise for Online Transparency (4/14/09).
Words don't always matter -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney's recently stated assertion, that President Obama's actions have increased the chances of a terrorist attack, fell mostly on deaf ears according to a (4/13) public opinion poll by CNN. To quote: "Seventy-two percent of those questioned in the poll released Monday disagree with Cheney's view that some of Obama's actions have put the country at greater risk, with 26 percent agreeing with the former vice president."
The power of words is illustrated in a slightly different way in a section of Thursday's CQ - Behind the Lines newsletter, by David C. Morrison:
Holy Wars: Obama pledges that the United States “is not and will never be at war with Islam,” but it has forcibly overthrown, and attempted to overthrow, Muslim governments perceived as hostile, a Countercurrents essay counters. “The Obama administration’s attempts to change the language in order to appease Islam ignores the fact that there is a significant body of Muslims who want to do America harm,” OneNewsNow quotes a “Christian” political scientist. “Though it’s not de rigueur to make such an observation, ‘Muslim terrorists’ is the right way to” characterize the Somali ship hijackers and it “makes eminent sense” to point that out, The National Review notes. “We know rationally that the extremists and jihadis form a tiny minority among the billion Muslims across the globe, [but we] need an image of good Muslims to offset the bad,” Deepak Chopra counsels in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed.
President Obama has repeatedly stated that he wants people around him who will speak their own minds. That standard has served him well. Choosing very smart people who can speak out, and at the same time collaborate, will help Mr. Obama govern. The President generally speaks up for himself, choosing his words thoughtfully. He is a great "teacher," able to be plain-spoken when necessary. And we trust him and take his word for promises made. Broken promises can break our hearts. And we trust that his biggest decisions will keep us safe, despite what former officials claim. And finally we can celebrate that we live in a free country where people can speak up, even if they turn out to be wrong.
My all-in-one Home Page of websites where I post regularly: Carol Gee - Online Universe