President Obama, as I noted previously, has an executive order ready to go that would require government contractors (well, not professors and labor unions) to disclose political contributions. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) already has come out in opposition, and now it’s a flood of lawmakers who won’t buy the plan to bring Chicago-style favoritism to federal contracting. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have sent a letter to the president telling him to forget it.
As the Hill notes, these are all the key players on the issue. (“Lieberman is chairman, and Collins is ranking member, of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. McCaskill leads the panel’s Contracting Oversight subcommittee; Portman is the ranking member.”) It now seems unlikely with a chorus of bipartisan criticism that the Obama executive order will ever see the light of day.
How could Obama so dramatically have miscalculated even his own party’s reaction? Well, this is the Chicago mentality at work; of course the government wants to know who’s been naughty and nice, no matter what the Supreme Court said on the subject of third-party spending. Moreover, like Obama’s inactivity on the budget, he and his cloistered advisers seem insulated from common sense. Was there no one in the White House to say, “Ya know, this sounds like we’re in favor of corruption”? I guess not.
At some point, the White House might consider getting feedback, even from congressional leaders in its own party, before rolling out this stuff. They could use some non-tin ears to bounce things off — before those things are announced.