Changing Governance

2009 Five Presidents, President George W. Bush...

Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

Earlier in my posts I started writing about the changes that have occurred under this President. President Obama campaigned on Hope and Change, and when he got into office, changes started happening. While critics of the President would tell you that there has been little or no changes, the fact is there are at least 144 demonstrable changes that have been enacted. What is rather laughable is that it is some of these very changes that critics are pointing to and stating will curb job creation. The last blog was about changing ethics in the government, so this time I will point out four radical governance changes as well.

  • Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)
During the years of 2002 to 2008, the members of President Bush‘s white house bypassed several FDA regulations limiting (1) when medications could be tried on populations and (2)what reporting was required, as well as success rates of these drugs. This resulted in putting some medications on the market too early. It also resulted in the release of several powerful heart medications and medications released for illnesses not directly related to the usage of the medication. This was the result of lobbying by some very powerful drug companies, and did result in a few deaths and many lawsuits. There is a reason that while Republicans talk about limiting the impact of government, they do not want to discuss the very lack of regulation that caused these deaths.
  • Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)
Critics of President Obama also enjoy creating confusion and mistrust about pollution and it’s effects on the environment and people. Having rewritten regulations to allow deep-water drilling, despite safety cautions, (we all know how that turned out) and changed impact statements of mining and drilling operations, there are large populations impacted by these changes. The president has reinstated all environmental requirements for all companies. This is what the Republicans are referring to when they start talking about “over-regulation”. Failure to regulate would allow for more drilling, mining, and all…but the impact on both people and the area could last for centuries.
  • Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)
In one debate over government funding the Republican leadership made no excuses for criticizing the President for both having “closed-door meetings to create a budget”, and for having “open meetings” with the Republicans and they walked out on the President. While it should be anyone’s right to leave a meeting they don’t feel is progressing, excusing oneself is lesser than just walking out? Being respectful of each other was not on their agenda, however, as they demonstrated. Meeting notes and discussions can be found on-line at http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110920_7000.php.
It is clear that the President is determined to clean up government and change the way things are done. While he is sometimes doing the work by himself, with no help from the leadership of the opposing party. I realize that it is not their job to create open meetings with the President, but one would guess they wouldn’t have that much to lose! Still, it’s been their call. I am glad to be pointing out that there is change in government, and it’s good!
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