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Those Promises of 'Transparency' and 'Openness' Already Broken

May 7, 2009 By:
Matthew Brooks
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 As Americans examine the first 100 days of the Obama administration, it's important to make a candid assessment of the president's actions so far. These first months are widely considered an indicator of the policies the president will pursue in the years to come. So what have we seen so far?

As Iran continues to work feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons, the United States continues to pursue its policy of "engagement." Just one day after North Korea launched a long-range missile, the administration announced drastic cuts in missile-defense funding, including a halt to further deployment of Alaska-based interceptors designed to counter missiles from North Korea.

Our president, in a handshake seen around the world, embraced Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez while Venezuelan Jews face virulent, government-sponsored harassment.

We have seen Barack Obama reverse the Bush administration's policy of boycotting the U.N. Human Rights Council, the body that organized the Durban II conference against racism, and that continuously focuses on condemning Israel and turning a blind eye to the genocide in Darfur and other human-rights abuses.

The Obama administration further selected Charles "Chas" Freeman to be the chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Freeman is a long-standing apologist for the Saudi regime, a harsh and ideological critic of Israel, and a proud subscriber to the Stephen M. Walt/John J. Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" thesis. After a public outcry against him taking such a sensitive security post, Freeman stepped down.

Many mainstream media outlets have reported on the growing "tension" between the Obama administration and the new Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Obama administration has asked Congress to relax sanctions against the terrorist group Hamas, so that if Hamas and Fatah ever come to share power in a Palestinian unity government, the United States can continue to send millions of dollars to the territories.

We have seen trillions and trillions of dollars allocated to bailouts and new government spending. The massive growth of government engendered by this spending -- and the debt burden that will be handed down to our children and grandchildren -- will haunt us for decades.

Our security agencies have been paralyzed by the double punch of released intelligence memos and vague threats to prosecute those who protected this country from harm in the previous administration.

Despite numerous campaign promises of "transparency" and "openness," only one of the 11 bills signed by the president so far have been made available to the public for review before signing. (In fact, some of them weren't actually reviewed by members of Congress before they were whisked up to the president's desk.)

The president promised not to appoint lobbyists to his administration. He has appointed several, including former Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn to be deputy secretary of defense.

We have seen thousands of people across the United States protest against the high taxes and unimaginable government spending proposed by the current president. These "tea parties" -- peaceful, truly grass-roots demonstrations of public opinion -- were called "unhealthy" by senior White House adviser David Axelrod.

As Americans, we all want our president and our country to succeed in tough and challenging times. However, for those who care deeply about national security, the economy and other vital issues, these early days of the administration offer an opportunity to examine the president's priorities and intentions that should not be missed.

While the president's supporters will praise his actions in these first 100 days, many of the Obama administration's actions have been cause for concern for American Jews.

As such, a balanced and honest review is in order.

Matthew Brooks is executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

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