Democrats & Liberals Archives

Withdraw Lynn's Nomination

As a great Obama booster, I was very disappointed to read that after laying down the law about lobbyists not being welcome in his administration, Obama nominated a lobbyist. According to the rules, as a Democrat I should keep my mouth shut. But I can’t. This is discouraging. And so early in the administration.

Obama nominated William J. Lynn III to be Deputy Defense Secretary. This is a top level job where Lynn would run the Defense bureaucracy. Lynn is a lobbyist par excellence:

In a 2008 lobbying report, Lynn was listed as part of a Raytheon lobbying team on budget and appropriations issues including the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, acquisition policy, missile defense, and Foreign Military Financing. The Obama Administration should not allow its ethics standards to begin with a series of waivers and loopholes which immediately undermine its good intentions.

Yes, there is a loophole to Obama's lobbyist rule: To get the best candidate, the rule may be waived. What's the good of a rule that may be waived whenever it's inconvenient to follow it? When it comes to ethics we need strict rules. As the Swamp puts it:

When is a ban on lobbyists in an administration not a ban on lobbyists in an administration? When you need a lobbyist who knows how the Pentagon works to help run the defense establishment.

Terrible. Terrible. We don't need someone who knows how Defense works, but who will change how Defense works.

Senator Carl Levin questioned the Whitehouse about this. According to Bloomberg:

Levin today said the White House assured him that the waiver given to Lynn wouldn’t compromise the Armed Services Committee’s own “strict set of ethics rules that we apply to all nominees.” These rules include “the requirement to recuse himself, for a period of one year, from any decisions involving his prior employer, unless specifically authorized to participate by an appropriate ethics official.”

This is wrong. There is practically nothing the Defense Department could be discussing that may not affect Raytheon. John McCain complained, and for once, I am with him.

Please, Obama, withdraw Lynn's nomination.

Posted by Paul Siegel at January 23, 2009 6:23 PM
Comments
Comment #274196

Paul, thank you for such refreshing honesty and reasoned assessment. You sir, merit my respect.

Posted by: Jim M at January 23, 2009 7:08 PM
Comment #274208

It has never been my experience that Raytheon
has a stellar reputation for management ability.
Unless they have changed over the years,
they always reminded me of the gang
that couldn’t shoot straight. Now comes the lobbyist for the gang, is selected to be
deputy sec’y of defense, right out of the
gang that couldn’t shoot straight, is one heckofaleap. Besides Obama said no lobbyists.

Posted by: Bob Henry at January 23, 2009 8:29 PM
Comment #274210

Paul, it’s going to be just a bit harder for Obama to keep pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes with pretty words now that he actually has the capacity for actions.

He makes a “rule” and then breaks it the next day. Not after a long period, but really—the very next day. Interesting, isn’t it?

It would be an interesting experiment for somebody to go through past posts on this site and count how many times George Bush was accused of violating the Constitution, demonstrated himself worthy of impeachment or prison because of his “unconstitutional” assault on our civil liberties as a result of warrantless wiretapping.

Are we now going to hear the same thing about Obama? Or do all those who USED to believe that this was an assault on our civil liberties now feel that such assaults are okay as long as it’s a Democrat carrying them out?

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 23, 2009 8:43 PM
Comment #274211

Actually, Paul, I’d point to this posting—your very own—from last year:

You say that “Warrantlesss Wiretapping is a Crime” and conclude by saying that “Nobody is above the law.”

So have you read this?

How quickly the tin idol has fallen from his perch. Paul, I look forward to your posts in which you accuse Obama of being a criminal.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 23, 2009 8:50 PM
Comment #274218

Paul,
Why I can understand your concern about William J. Lynn III lobbyist background, can you please explain to me how his experience will or will not help him carry out his duties to President Obama?

For why I realize that the promise made by Candidate Obama said No Lobbyist in his Adminstration. I thought that President Obama said no one in his adminstration could lobby a long as he was President. So, effectively does not that mean that William J. Lynn III can no longer consider himself a Lobbiest for the next four years?

Thus, why you ask President Obama to recend his nomination based soley on his connection to lobbying. Can you name a Qualified Person capable of matching Lynn? For if not than in retrospect are you not asking the President of the United States of America to choice a person who cannot do the job based soley on your idea of a “Prefect” Adminstration.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #274220

Actually this is just the very tip of the iceberg. Closing Gitmo is a great idea but doing so without the slightest idea what you are going to do with the detainees is pretty interesting.

Some might accuse Democrats of taking advantage of this crisis, to push though just a bit of pork. CBO is not your friend on this one. Basically giving our children the bill tomorrow for pork today in a crisis. This bill should be clean as a whistle in light of the crisis. You all want to explain to me how contraceptives are a part of the crisis?

Idealism is meeting reality. Please Please don’t stick our children with the bill for your pork.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 23, 2009 11:39 PM
Comment #274226

Graig,
It could also be said that the Democrats have their priorities wrong just as the Republicans got them wrong. Maybe someday both sides will learn to ask Where is the Beef!

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 24, 2009 4:43 AM
Comment #274234

Craig:

How do you know that there is no idea of what they are going to do with the detainees? My understanding is that Gitmo will close within a year. Plenty of time to work out logistics.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 24, 2009 8:28 AM
Comment #274237

Paul, thanks for the heads up. This makes MAJOR MISTAKE number 4 on my list by Pres. Obama, along side Geithner, refusing to commit to pursue law violations by the Bush administration, and his having not a clue how to address GITMO detainees while ordering its closure.

When the number reaches 10 or so, this supporter may have to become less hopeful and more skeptic.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2009 9:37 AM
Comment #274238

womanmarine, wasn’t it GW Bush who said, invade Iraq, we’ll worry about the details later? This may be the action of a decider, but, not one of an effective leader. Obama should have the details before making the decisions. He doesn’t. That smacks of Bush’s leadership style, and we have been buried by that kind of president.

Obama talked smart on the campaign trail. He must now PROVE that he can act as a leader just as smartly. So, far, he hasn’t. Geithner, Lynn, GITMO, and preferring to give Bush admin law violations a pass, are too many failures in judgment in too few days of his new administration. This is not what this supporter expected or hoped for.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2009 9:44 AM
Comment #274239

David:

I read the article you linked to in your post in the middle column. It appears Obama has appointed people to work out the problem, and it appears there are countries willing to take some detainees. I do think a year to work out the details is reasonable.

Lots of nitpicking going on, and he’s been president for how long now? How many presidents have actually fulfilled all their campaign promises, even if they were able? I will still have a wait and see attitude.

My honeymoon was longer than this.

:)

Posted by: womanmarine at January 24, 2009 10:02 AM
Comment #274243

DRR,

Has he actually said no on the Cheney/Bush investigation, or merely put it on the back burner?

Your 4 major problems may be just 2.

I don’t care for those two appointments either, and I sent emails regarding my feelings on them. But of the several appointments he’s made, one bad and one not good, is still better than most could expect.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2009 10:50 AM
Comment #274248

Marysdude, justice deferred, is not justice. That back burner can extend out an entire two terms in office like Bush’s commitment to cut deficits in half. NEVER HAPPENED! Always deferred in lieu of more pressing issues like Iraq.

As an Independent voter I have an obligation to keep objective score on Obama, neither giving him the benefit of the doubt nor unwarranted skepticism. A new person on a new job, a few mistakes can be understood and given a pass. But, someone has to keep count so we know when the number exceeds a few.

I wrote here about Bush’s invasion of Iraq that the fast approaching GI Death Toll of 500 was too high a number to exceed and having taken out Saddam Hussein, withdrawal was in order. I was right. And America is short a trillion more dollars and more than 3,500 more dead American soldiers because no one drew a line as to how much was too much.

Obama won on the basis of being of high intellect, educated in Constitutional law, and committed to both rule of law and pragmatic solutions while observing that law. He needs to live up that image he projected in order to win my and 10’s of millions of other American’s votes.

New guy, new job, he gets a few mistakes. ONLY A FEW. Remember, it was not Democrats who elected Obama, it was registered Independent voters who elected him. And they will UNELECT him in a heartbeat if he proves to be short on what he led them to expect.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2009 11:57 AM
Comment #274254

DRR,

No one on this site has written earlier, more vociferously or with more conviction about the stupidity in Iraq. And, I believe it to be important to set up an investigation on Cheney/Bush for usurping the Constitution of the United States, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But, I am also a realist…if Mr. Obama wants his stimulus package passed through Congress, and if he honestly believes it to be a top priority to do so, I see no way without pacifying Republicans in that very Congress by not talking about his intentions about Cheney/Bush.

I will be extremely disappointed if he does not pursue the investigation soon, but real life almost always interferes with ideal situations, especially if those situations are of import.

Please remember, he has never voiced his intentions toward the criminal Cheney/Bush bunch, but he did say his first priority was the economic meltdown.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #274263

Womanmarine:

That gives Obama another year to create another Gitmo and call it change. Haven’t we had enough of taking action without a plan?

On the budget area, you Democrats wouldn’t be taking advantage of this crisis to pass a little pork would you?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 24, 2009 1:36 PM
Comment #274264

>On the budget area, you Democrats wouldn’t be taking advantage of this crisis to pass a little pork would you?
Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 24, 2009 01:36 PM

Craig,

We hope not…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2009 1:51 PM
Comment #274267


How does a former politician get around the two year ban on lobbying after leaving office?

He becomes a “special adviser” for a K Street lobbying firm with 60% of it’s clients associated with the health care industry. The salary of $800,000 to $ 1 million per year.

Tom Daschle, Sec. of health and Human Services.

Posted by: jlw at January 24, 2009 2:28 PM
Comment #274268

Md,No Statute of Limitations on Bush This is war Crimes Right, Why get Bogged down right now, when we need Economic Recovery and Moral Support.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at January 24, 2009 2:28 PM
Comment #274270

Wait! I posted this article as a message to the new president. I sent him a note from the White House website saying the same thing. I was just trying to help him live up to his principles.

Then I get this barrage of complaints. You attack Obama as though he is a criminal. You judge him more strictly than you judge any other politician. And he should be judged at this higher level - he asked for it.

But remember: he did promulgate these high principles upon which he is being judged. He has been trying to meet them. According to Gates they can’t find anyone as good as Lynn for the job. So he asked for a waiver. I don’t believe the reason given, as most of you don’t.

However, let’s not forget that Obama has raised very high the criteria for judging him.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at January 24, 2009 2:30 PM
Comment #274275

Paul,
I’m still waiting for a better candidate than Lynn for the job.

David,
Why the EO signed by President Obama to close Gitmo did not include in detail publicly how and what will be done. I do believe that under the blanket of national security PO did the best that he could. Or should he have released the day and hour of their transfers?

And why I do agree with your concern about Sec. of Treasury. Like I asked Paul, can you name me another qualified person to take the job?

Now, as far as looking into President Bush Adminastration I do believe that Congress would be the proper body of government to look into the case. For not only would it allow the President of the United States of America to stay above the fray, but it would also require the Republican Leadership to address their lack of oversight.

So, why I will not give President Obama an “A” for his first week in office because I believe he should of done more. I have to give him a passing grade knowing that sometimes even the best business owner has to settle for whom they can get and not who they want.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 24, 2009 6:40 PM
Comment #274276

Good article Paul. I agree absolutely that we should hold Obama closely to his own high standards, and let him hear from us when we expect better. There is no issue of criminality here - just an expectation that real change promised, requires more than just a wink and a nod and a signed piece of paper. It is probably smart for the order to allow for a waiver (sec 3 paragraph a), but to use it so quickly when it strains credulity to believe that others would not be as well qualified, is bad form at best.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at January 24, 2009 7:02 PM
Comment #274300

Henry asked: “Or should he have released the day and hour of their transfers?”

NO. But, he should have delayed the Exec. Order until he and his cabinet had worked out the obvious questions that would follow such a grandstand announcement. Announcing one is going to do something without having a clue as to how one is going to accomplish it, is amateurish, and highly unprofessional, at best, and simple political gamesmanship fraught with unintended consequences at worst.

God help us if this is the kind of strategizing we get from Obama in managing our military efforts in Afghanistan.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2009 12:17 PM
Comment #274301

Paul said: “However, let’s not forget that Obama has raised very high the criteria for judging him.”

Yes, Paul, we already know of his accomplishments as a campaigner and communicator capable of moving masses of people to his aid and support. Raising that criterion bar was part and parcel of that campaign.

But, now he is President. Now, he has to live up to those standards, or, his support will erode as comments here clearly indicate. Them’s the facts of political life for Obama and his relationship to supporters.

Bush’s bar was so general and low, that he got reelected despite wide ranging and growing dispersed disappointments in his performance.

If one raises the bar, one must come very close to hurdling it to keep the respect of spectators. If one is not capable of coming at least very close, one should not raise that bar in the first place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2009 12:24 PM
Comment #274302

Marysdude, you make a fair point about Obama’s reticence to vocalize a clear intent to go after Bush/et. al. for law violations immediately as a political maneuver to get an economic rescue package through the Congress.

If that is Obama’s game as it plays out, I tip my hat to his accumen. Thank you for this alternate viewpoint that truly has potential for reflecting the reality of the situation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2009 12:28 PM
Comment #274315


Yea well, the Congressional democrats set the bar a lot higher to regain control of Congress in 2006 and then they crawled under the bar.

Posted by: jlw at January 25, 2009 3:38 PM
Comment #274318

If I was Obama, I would have played GITMO just the way he did it…that prison is a blight on the American soul. It needs to be closed, no matter the consequences. The rest of the world can never look to us with clear eyes until that part is settled.

There was no need to prepare, before-hand, a schedule of disposition, because the ramifications are wide and varied, and the legalities complex and varied.

It is obvious not every case can be settled for the best, but they must be settled none-the-less. We have a year to put the legal-beagles to work on it. When all is said and done, some bad guys may have to be returned, free, to their country of origin. We may have to face them at sometime in the future as terrorists. But without habeas corpus, we are little better than them.

We cannot defend leaving that place open just because we don’t know what to do with every prisoner we’ve kept illegally.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2009 4:10 PM
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