Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Principles Meet Un-Principled Realities: Relevant Accountability

The pundits are going crazy commenting on the rampant "tax and ethics issues," that are plaguing several high level nominees in the Obama administration. I just say it proves what an albatross the tax system has become around the necks of the American public...all the way up. Who hasn't  tried to find ways to reduce your tax burden, or looked cross eyed at the tax code as you try to figure out if you qualify for whichever deduction? Of course there are the stunning incidents of hypocrisy (Daschle anyone? Not a personal favorite political figure, so I think it's good we lose him before we get to much further). When entitlement and one's own clout go to your head, high ideals can become expendable, or you simply start to justify and qualify.

This is the tricky proposition of high ideals and politics. There is just virtually nobody that is pristine and clean. Playing at that level has inevitably involved compromises, and everyone has something lurking in their closets. The task therefore is to find those that hold the core principles, and whose record has shown that they more or less walk the walk, and if they do stray or make an unwise compromises, they are willing to say so and make it right. So far, I think this has been the operating philosophy of Obama's team.

I hope the American people don't expect perfection (it doesn't exist in any human being currently walking the planet). I think it is right that we expect accountability for one's choices, and that we have good investigations (by authorities and the press) to keep our leaders' feet to the flame.

Much has been written about how the press has fawned over Obama, and frankly I don't think that's entirely off base. But then, our notion of what constitutes journalism is shifting as well. Punditry and reporting is a far different proposition, and we have an abundance of punditry, and a decreasing amount of reporting these days. People inevitably start to forget the difference.

If you are interested in keeping track of Obama's aspirations and his execution of those ideals, check out the continuously updating report from PolitiFact.com they dubbed the "Obamameter."

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