Can there be any doubt that Obama’s proposed executive order, “Disclosure of Political Spending by Government Contractors” is simply a fund-raising tool? Of course not. And thus, the discussion of the issue gives us an insight into the souls of those discussing it.
As such, Juan Williams descended, in my mind, several notches down the scale of “thoughtful political commentator” vs. “political hack” ratings, based on his comments on the Fox News All Stars.
Wednesday night May 11, the Fox News All Stars discussed this proposed new executive order. The discussion was moderated by Chris Wallace. Here is Chris’s opening question for Juan Williams:
Chris: “Here is the number two Democrat in the House, Stenny Hoyer, and of course, it’s occurred to me, too, he obvious has got a lot of federal contractors in his district, but he says he thinks this is a bad idea because it will inject even more politics into deciding who gets a federal contract.”
Juan: “And I think that’s what you’re hearing now from some Democrats, including those who represent lots of contractors in this Beltway Bandit neighborhood, um, that has unintended consequences even if you put the best light on it, and the best light, coming from the White House, is that after the Citizens United case, there’s an increasing need for transparency, that the American people deserve to know how big contributions are com…, who … who are giving big contributions to politicians and what politicians might be doing in return. So the other way of viewing it, Chris, is not simply that you’re checking people to see who’s giving and then deciding, well, who gets the federal contract. The other way to look at it is who might be buying federal contracts from politicians.”
And then, later, “The American People deserve to know.” and, “I don’t think that’s a bad idea—I’d like to know where the money comes from.”
Jonah Goldberg, who was also on the panel that night, brought up that it’s already against the law for corporations to give contributions to politicians. What the new executive order would do is compel the contractors to gather donation information on their officers and employees. Translation—this is one more step down the road of Obama’s Hugo Chavez–style politics, shutting down dissent, the developing police state. And, if it were to be named accurately, it would be named, “The Solicitation of Donations from Government Contractors” executive order.
Look back at the wording of Juan Williams’s response. The order “has unintended consequences even if you put the best light on it.” I will say, in defense of Juan Williams, that his phrasing this comment this way shows that he still has a conscience. But I will say, on the other hand, that this conscience doesn’t seem to be doing him much good. Yes, he can’t blatantly ignore the obvious. But his subsequent comments say that he will nonetheless ignore it. In other words, “Yes, I understand that this is police-state style intimidation. But it’s for a good cause. So let’s pretend that it’s about openness and not about free speech.”
Fortunately, there are a few Democrats who are having a hard time stomaching this. Unfortunately, it is possible that the White House didn’t ever intend to actually implement this policy and that its intention was to simply scare away Republican donations by floating the idea. The message is clearly out there. Obama could decide, if he chose, the day after the election, to implement this policy. The two-year retroactive disclosure in the proposed order would begin to apply as of last November. He could implement the order unilaterally, without any approval by Congress, since it’s an executive order.
Juan, I’m sorry to have to say this to a guy who is apparently so nice, but this is how corruption flourishes, by people like you who are willing to pretend that corrupt rules like this are in the public good. Shame on you—you should know better. I’m sorry, now, for the times I supported you.