It would likely be impossible for me to deal with the crowd that will attend Mr. Obama's stop in Colorado next week. Standing in line for a long period of time with folks that are looking at America's future through rose-tinted glasses, oblivious to the lessons history has taught would be more than I could tolerate. I would, however, like a chance to ask questions of our president: 1. Mr. President, during your campaign you favored tax cuts for small businesses. In recent days, you've come out with a forceful regulatory tone toward big business. Your Stimulus Bill does not include those tax breaks for small business. Is business, small and large, under attack in your administration? Are the American people correct in observing that you are moving toward as much government take-over of business, in general, as you can push through? Are you not in favor of providing incentive to Americans that may want to start a business, or grow a business to include additional hiring and productivity?
2. Would you please explain to the American people why you believe the census should be managed by you and your administrative team? If you are fearful that not enough minorities are being counted, it would seem most appropriate that you appoint a non-political census task force to conduct this process in a completely transparent, and certainly non-partisan way.
3. You have been adamantly opposed to lobbyists since the early days of your presidential campaign. You've made assertions about not having lobbyists in your White House. Your campaign team attacked Senator McCain for connections to lobbyists. Of course, we know now that lobbyists are connected to your administration and yesterday, lobbyists were given the first opportunity to review your Stimulus Bill before members of Congress. What other campaign promises can the American people expect to see broken?
4. Your SCHIP bill was recently signed into law and was done so very quickly before the American people had a chance to examine the expansion and revisions. Funding for this bill will be taken from tobacco taxes. Your Stimulus Bill provides funding for a nationwide stop smoking effort. Can you explain the reasoning as to how healthcare initiatives can be funded on one hand with a tobacco use tax, and then on the other hand, we are asked to pay for smoking cessation programs? It would appear that the costs of the expanded SCHIP program would actually necessitate the need for every American to start smoking.
5. You have stated that your Stimulus Bill is not perfect. You acknowledge there are likely some mistakes. Your vice president went further and stated it may only have a 30% chance of working. Given our financial crisis, and your own admission that if we don't get this right, we may never recover, shouldn't the American people have a right to expect a better plan from our president, perhaps a plan that has even a projected 50% chance of working? The fact that you have no prior business or economic experience comparable to the level of your new job and our current situation, should we not expect to see you sitting in your office every day working closely with your advisors to make sure you put forth a plan that has better than 30% odds? Many Americans are troubled to observe your travel around the country promoting a bill that your administration admits may not have the desired outcome. Would it not be more prudent for you to spend your time instead, working on a plan that includes historically proven positive outcomes?
6. Your Treasury Secretary was asked this week from whom the money will be borrowed to set your Stimulus Plan in motion. He was not transparent. He stated some American and some foreign investors will be loaning the government the money. Since American taxpayers are on the hook to pay back this money, in the spirit of transparency do we not have the right to know the lending sources?
7. During the campaign, Republicans pointed to your lack of experience and suggested the presidency is not a position that is conducive to on the job training. You've experienced several set-backs in terms of improper vetting of high ranking appointments. You left the White House one day unexpectedly when things weren't going well to visit a school, and you've fallen back on your greatest strength, which is public appearances rather than stay at your desk. Would you admit that the office of the presidency has presented you with more challenges beyond your previous experience than you expected?
8. In Elkhart, IN, you stated that private citizens will be able to email you with questions or concerns with respect to how your Stimulus money is being spent. If Americans observe delays, waste or other problems with these public works projects, they will have direct access to you in order to report. Another campaign promise was your claim that Americans would be able to view all policy and legislation online for 5 days prior to your signing into law. This has not occurred thus far. Because there is an early failure to adhere to transparency ethics, can the American people really expect to email the White House whenever they want to report problems with the spending of Stimulus money and receive a credible response?
The list of questions could go on and on, but the reality of our life here in Obama Land tells us we will not get transparent answers. We probably shouldn't even dare to ask. This new transparency is about as clear as mud.