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Why it's become clear that Obama's White House is open to the rich and closed to the poor

Posted by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM
  • 35 Replies

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the sequester after a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House in Washington March 1, 2013

Access for the few - Obama's White House Photo: REUTERS

President Obama's pledges to open up the White House are going in reverse, says Mark McKinnon

Once, only nobles were granted an audience with the King.

In America, we've prided ourselves on abandoning those privileges of class some 237 years ago, following that little uprising in the 13 colonies.

And we again congratulated ourselves at 12:01 pm Eastern Time on January 20, 2009, just moments after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and as he committed to making his administration the most transparent and open in history.

But more than four years later it is time to ask questions. The most transparent administration ever? The most transparently political, yes. The most open government? If you have the money to buy access, yes.

Since last weekend, Mr and Mrs Regular Citizen have been denied the access people used to be granted to tour the White House, purportedly because of the clampdown on federal spending since the "sequester" that imposed cuts across the board.

These tours, most recently guided by volunteers though monitored by paid Secret Service staff, have been an American tradition since John and Abigail Adams, the first White House residents, personally hosted receptions for the public.

And their cancellation is an austerity measure that saves a pittance, while more frivolous taxpayer funding for items like the White House dog walker continues.

Meanwhile, noble Americans can buy time with the president for a suggested donation of $500,000 to his new campaign group, Organising for Action.

Yes, the announcement offering access to the president for cold, hard cash was made openly and with total transparency. But it was also made without shame.

It's the third version of Obama's original monster campaign machine, Obama for America, which then morphed into a re-election campaign machine, Organising for America, on the third day of his first term.

It has now re-launched again as Organising for Action (OFA) - a non-profit, tax-exempt group headed by his former campaign advisers. Apparently no longer "for America", the group might just as well be called Organising for Obama's Agenda.

Its mission: to support the president in his attempt to achieve enactment of gun control, environmental policies and immigration reform.

At the two-day kick-off event last week for the new OFA's founding summit, attended by 75 folks for the "bargain" rate of just $50,000, Obama at least acknowledged the concerns raised by others about the funding, purpose and influence of the organisation.

However, he brushed them aside. With greater humility than new Pope Francis, Obama said he prided himself on feeling no obligation in the past to the interests of the generous donors who made his election and re-election possible. Though paradoxically he also said he wanted "to make sure the voices of the people are actually heard in the debates that are going to be taking place". So, he'll take money to listen to the voices of the privileged, but not do their bidding?

May I humbly suggest he could hear more voices, more clearly if he mingled with the public he serves? Perhaps the White House could hold open tours for the public! Why has no one in his administration thought of that? And volunteers could manage those tours, to keep costs down!

But, of course, those are what have just been cancelled. Meanwhile, three calligraphers reportedly remain on staff. I suppose their services are needed for the special hand-lettered, gold-foiled invitations sent to the nobles who are willing to pay for an audience with the King.

OFA is a legal, tax-exempt advocacy organisation, established as a social welfare group under the rules of both the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Elections Commission. It can accept unlimited contributions, so long as it promotes the common good and does not primarily engage in electoral politics.

As it is not required to publicly disclose donors, OFA is actually one of those "shadowy" organisations Obama railed against as a candidate when he supported campaign finance reform.

In 2010 the Supreme Court made a controversial ruling known as Citizens United that allowed unlimited corporate and individual donations to so-called "super political action committees", which at least have to disclose their donors, and to social welfare organisations, which do not.

At the time, Obama loudly criticised the decision, saying: "That's one of the reasons I ran for president: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamour of a privileged few in Washington."

But then he reversed course, giving his blessing to a super PAC supporting his 2012 re-election, and now to OFA. What has changed?

Obama is looking to his legacy. And his eye is on the 2014 Congressional elections. If he can maintain his appeal among the masses and help Democrats win back a majority in the House of Representatives, while maintaining control of the Senate, there will be no stopping his agenda.

He explained the "grassroots" purpose of OFA like this: "If you have a senator or a congressman in a swing district who is prepared to take a tough vote... I want to make sure they feel supported and they know there are constituencies of theirs that agree with them, even if they may be getting a lot of pushback in that district."

Engaging voters is always a good thing. But the president should not charge for the privilege. If he will look out the Oval Office window beyond his own reflection, King Barack I will see the public he is meant to serve. He ought to invite them in.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/9934645/Why-its-become-clear-that-Obamas-White-House-is-open-to-the-rich-and-closed-to-the-poor.html

by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM
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SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM
1 mom liked this

And this is from a British paper.

Word goes around.

These two things - access to the President to those who pay $500,000 - and canceling White House tours for average Americans - has got to be one of the most ironic and boneheaded things he has presided over.

littlelamb303
by Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 5:01 PM
2 moms liked this

First of all, ALL politicians, repub, dems or whatever hold expensive dinners, and they will always have rich donors,  but some on the right always like to point out when obama does, ignoring the fact that romney had a MEGA pricey fundraiser on Long Island with the KOCH brothers. Do you really think repubs don't do this?  WHATEVER.  Why is everyone making a big deal about white house tours being canceled when many workers are being furloughed(including my dh). That furlough is hurting a hell of a lot more people than white house tours.  Donald Trump wants to fund them, what  freaking idiot he is. He should be funding the meals they took away from seniors.  Shut up about the white house tours already.  My DH pay cut is way worse that that. People will survive without house tours already.

JakeandEmmasMom
by Gold Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 5:13 PM
3 moms liked this

 You seem WAY more upset about this than the situation even remotely warrants.  Did this ruin some vacation plans or something?  I'm trying to figure out why you're so upset about the suspension of the WH tours that you would make post after post about it.

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 5:37 PM
2 moms liked this

But you see - Romney is not the president. Obama is.

You are right that there are times for huge dinners. NOW is not the time. The people are hurting. The Obamas need to be like the King and Queen of England during the Blitz of WWII. It appears he is more concerned about his perks than the pain of the people.

This sequester should be a no-brainer. Look at the budget, make cuts  to remove the waste. Simple. No need to lay people off, stop infant immunizations, and discontinue WH tours . That is ridiculous. Which is why he is getting so much pushback from the people. As he should.

As such, Pres. Obama has a huge budget. There is crap in that budget, wasteful spending that can be more wisely cut than things that directly hit the public - the things he has cut thus far. He is NOT using the executive discretion he has to determine where those funds go. And he blames people who ultimately report to him, whose decisions fall under his purview.

This is only 2.4% of his total budget. Surely he can cut 2.4% of the budget without bringing on catastrophic results to the American people. He has the authority and discretion to do this, and he is acting as if to blame someone from taking a cookie from the cookie jar.

This is just dumb. And I'm glad he's finally being called on the carpet by the left wing media as well as conservatives. Finally.


Quoting littlelamb303:

First of all, ALL politicians, repub, dems or whatever hold expensive dinners, and they will always have rich donors,  but some on the right always like to point out when obama does, ignoring the fact that romney had a MEGA pricey fundraiser on Long Island with the KOCH brothers. Do you really think repubs don't do this?  WHATEVER.  Why is everyone making a big deal about white house tours being canceled when many workers are being furloughed(including my dh). That furlough is hurting a hell of a lot more people than white house tours.  Donald Trump wants to fund them, what  freaking idiot he is. He should be funding the meals they took away from seniors.  Shut up about the white house tours already.  My DH pay cut is way worse that that. People will survive without house tours already.



SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM

You are hilarious.

No - I'm pissed at Obama for using the sequester to purposely hurt the American people. The sequester is a measly 2.4% of his budget. 

If I'm pissed at someone who continues to hurt people, I will continue to speak out against it. Not you? Maybe you don't care as much about the American people, or it WOULD bother you.

President Obama is a combination of Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge.

The posts i have posted all say different things, and were posted separately on different days. Two today - They are not at all identical. Read them yourself and find out.  And enjoy. :)


Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 You seem WAY more upset about this than the situation even remotely warrants.  Did this ruin some vacation plans or something?  I'm trying to figure out why you're so upset about the suspension of the WH tours that you would make post after post about it.



JakeandEmmasMom
by Gold Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 7:00 PM
3 moms liked this

 On the contrary, I do speak out when I believe a policy hurts the American people.  I would just never classify this as being hurtful.  Nobody is going to go hungry, become homeless, lose access to medical care, lose access to education, etc. because the tours have been suspended.

This affects some tourists and a few tour guides.  There are much bigger fish to fry.  You've posted several times about the WH tours.  I commented on one of those posts a couple of days ago, and here we are again.

Quoting SallyMJ:

You are hilarious.

No - I'm pissed at Obama for using the sequester to purposely hurt the American people. The sequester is a measly 2.4% of his budget. 

If I'm pissed at someone who continues to hurt people, I will continue to speak out against it. Not you? Maybe you don't care as much about the American people, or it WOULD bother you.

President Obama is a combination of Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge.

The posts i have posted all say different things, and were posted separately on different days. Two today - They are not at all identical. Read them yourself and find out.  And enjoy. :)

 

Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 You seem WAY more upset about this than the situation even remotely warrants.  Did this ruin some vacation plans or something?  I'm trying to figure out why you're so upset about the suspension of the WH tours that you would make post after post about it.

 

 

 

Carpy
by Platinum Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 8:05 PM
4 moms liked this

Sometimes things just sail right over peoples heads.

Quoting littlelamb303:

First of all, ALL politicians, repub, dems or whatever hold expensive dinners, and they will always have rich donors,  but some on the right always like to point out when obama does, ignoring the fact that romney had a MEGA pricey fundraiser on Long Island with the KOCH brothers. Do you really think repubs don't do this?  WHATEVER.  Why is everyone making a big deal about white house tours being canceled when many workers are being furloughed(including my dh). That furlough is hurting a hell of a lot more people than white house tours.  Donald Trump wants to fund them, what  freaking idiot he is. He should be funding the meals they took away from seniors.  Shut up about the white house tours already.  My DH pay cut is way worse that that. People will survive without house tours already.


Blondie378
by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

No President ever thought that they were a King more than King George WIMP Bush ! He repeatedly referenced to the United States of America as a Kingdom. He was reminded on many occasions that America is not a Kingdom nor he a King. As for Mark McKinnon's loose based opinions and speculations, they are nothing more than mud slinging Republican Propaganda.

susan115
by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Yes, I am upset, this was done as punishment, hoping to get back at the Republicans, such a childish and very immature move.  Remember, the memo stating to make this hard on purpose...but wait you were watching Diane Sawyer or Racheal Maddow so you never got the full story.  Sorry.   This should of never been cut, but I guess if a Republican President did this you would still feel the same way?  Think, then answer, but I know Ms. Maddow or Ms. Sawyer would  help sway your opinion into believing Republicans are just evil? Am I correct?  Have a great day.



Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 You seem WAY more upset about this than the situation even remotely warrants.  Did this ruin some vacation plans or something?  I'm trying to figure out why you're so upset about the suspension of the WH tours that you would make post after post about it.



JakeandEmmasMom
by Gold Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM
2 moms liked this
Bwahaha!

Yeah...Republicans are eeeevvvviiillll.

No. I am a Republican, actually. Looks like you're as good at "reading between the lines" as another poster whose correct assumption count remains at 0.

I don't care about the tours. Seriously. Can you honestly say that it "hurts" anybody to not be able to tour the White House for however long this lasts? Of all the cuts, this warrants the least amount of attention. Yet we've been subjected to countless posts about it.

To be honest, I haven't felt any of the so-called cuts yet. (Didn't really expect to, either) Have you?


Quoting susan115:

Yes, I am upset, this was done as punishment, hoping to get back at the Republicans, such a childish and very immature move.  Remember, the memo stating to make this hard on purpose...but wait you were watching Diane Sawyer or Racheal Maddow so you never got the full story.  Sorry.   This should of never been cut, but I guess if a Republican President did this you would still feel the same way?  Think, then answer, but I know Ms. Maddow or Ms. Sawyer would  help sway your opinion into believing Republicans are just evil? Am I correct?  Have a great day.




Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 You seem WAY more upset about this than the situation even remotely warrants.  Did this ruin some vacation plans or something?  I'm trying to figure out why you're so upset about the suspension of the WH tours that you would make post after post about it.




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