Sharp Eye on Obama from Flanders

Where did Obama’s political “honeymoon” go? I guess it comes down to the times being a little too serious for cutting much slack to any new presidential administration, especially one coming into office with so much committment to “change” and so many electoral promises to keep. And keep them he had better, or the Flemings (that’s the Dutch-speaking Belgians) will let him know about it; already their main daily, De Standaard has the headline up Obama breaks first electoral promise.

Now, to be sure, it does not seem to be the case that De Standaard has dispatched one or more of its reporters over to Washington to function as Flanders’ watchdog over the Obama administration for the rest of its term; newspapers around the world are trying to cut costs these days, not add to them. You’ve got to be smart in the news biz and get more out of less by leaning heavily on time-honored economic concepts like specialization and comparative advantage. So De Standaard relies mainly on the special website, called, that the St. Petersburg Times has set up to monitor (in great detail) Obama’s many electoral promises.

Sure enough, there is already problem about the speed with which President Obama is signing newly-passed bills from Congress into law. It’s not that he’s too slow; it’s that he’s too fast, since his “Sunlight Before Signing” promise entailed putting each bill on-line for five days before signing it, “giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website.” Yet the very first bill he signed into law, the “Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Bill,” was dispatched from the president’s desk a mere two days after the Senate passed it on to him, and in any case it does not seem that its text was put on-line even for that period. And then the next, the SCHIP bill extending children’s public health insurance, he signed into law a mere couple of hours after it was passed by the Congress.

The Standaard article continues: “An Obama spokesman confirmed that Obama wants to bring more transparency into government with the so-called “Sunlight Before Signing” measure, but said he hoped the measure would be implemented soon.”

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