As long time readers will recall, I was no fan of the Bush administration for a number of reasons, among which was the insulting lack of transparency and accountability to the public on many matters which had little or nothing to do with national security and should have been exposed to the sunshine of public scrutiny. I wanted to know which members of the energy industry were meeting with Dick Cheney. I lost track of the number of things I wanted Karl Rove dragged before Congress to talk about. But at least with the Obama administration in office, the most transparent administration “evah” would change all that, right? Not so much.
If White House social secretary Desiree Rogers survives this week’s withering attacks over her role in last week’s state dinner security breach, she’ll have gotten by with a lot of help from her friends in the West Wing.
As a House committee opened hearings Thursday on how two uninvited partygoers were able to enter the White House grounds and shake hands with President Barack Obama, top presidential aides delivered a clear message to critics of this favored staffer: Back off…
When the House Homeland Security Committee invited Rogers to testify about how Tareq and Michaele Salahi managed to reach Obama unimpeded, the White House declined to make Rogers available and said its internal report on the incident would suffice.
“We think we’ve answered the questions fully,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, a close friend of Rogers from Chicago, said on ABC News on Thursday. “We think it’s important to have a balance and have the White House staff able to have confidential conversations with the president and his team without appearing before Congress.”
Confidential conversations? With the social secretary? I didn’t even have time to pick my jaw up off the floor before Allahpundit jumped in with the appropriate level of snark.
The confidential “advice” to Obama in this case, presumably, was which fork to use for appetizers. To no one’s surprise, the fightin’ Democrats in Congress that screeched for years about executive secrecy and checks and balances under Bush ended up caving to The One here by declining to subpoena Rogers.
To get one thing clear here, the issue which has a bee in my bonnet has little or nothing to do with this specific investigation and the details of the party. Some reality television hopefuls managed to crash the gate, the social secretary’s office screwed up and the Secret Service is taking the hit. There wasn’t much of a disaster here so long as they tighten up security protocols in the future.
The problem is, Congress “invited” (read: asked for) the testimony of a member of the President’s staff. I somehow doubt that the public answers of Desiree Rogers are going to be tipping off Osama bin Laden to our future plans. So you send her down to chat with Congress. That’s what you do. You let the people who elected you know what’s going on if they are interested, no matter how trivial the matter might be. This is how you build trust with us.
When you turn around and act – at least in some ways – dumber than the Bush administration by playing the Executive Privilege card for the woman who orders the shrimp cocktails, you make a complete joke of West Wing transparency. You know, my friend Ron Beasley has spent years and years trying to tell me that there’s really no difference between the two major parties. Oh, sure… there’s huge differences between what they say out on the campaign trail. Their talking points get spun into totally different and opposing games. But once they get in office… I think Ron may be on to something.