Transparency and Bipartisanship On the March. Really!


I’m convinced that Obama’s massive (and growing) popularity has as much to do with stuff like this as it does with his personal charisma and his plans for fixing the economy, health care, and America’s reputation abroad. Even those who opposed Obama during the campaign are seeing that the new administration will be run with respect for the other side and a full embrace of transparency. Jake Tapper:

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Vir., suggested said the [stimulus] bill should be put on the Internet a week before Congress votes on it.

Mr. Obama smiled and said something along the lines of, “maybe if I was better at faking it , I’d say, ‘Great idea — we’ll take you up on that.’ But we’ve actually talked about this idea.”

Obama turned it over to incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who essentially said they would do the Republicans one better. They’re planning a Google-like search function to show every program funded by the stimulus package, whether it comes in under or over-budget, whether it is meeting its intended purpose, and how many jobs it is creating.

“Tell you what,” Obama said, “we’ll still call it the Cantor idea.”

Also note that Obama is insisting that the stimulus bill be clear of earmarks. This stuff is catnip for fiscal conservatives and government reform do-gooders alike. (H/T Sunlight)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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