I’m Surprised It Took That Long

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

So I’ve got the Obama administration’s first lie (at least that I’ve noticed) coming on November 9, five days after the election. USA Today reported that six of the 15 highest-ranking members of Obama’s transition team were also among Obama’s highest-dollar bundlers of campaign contributions.

Response from the Obama people:

Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said transition members “were chosen based on their skills, ability and expertise.”

In an interview, Peña said there is “no connection” between his fundraising and service on the transition team.

“The people who are in the transition process are people that (Obama) has great confidence in and who bring different talents and experiences to this effort,” he said. “If some of them happen to also be involved in fundraising, that’s simply a coincidence.”


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31 Responses to “I’m Surprised It Took That Long”

  1. #1 |  JJH2 | 

    This is an old chicken-egg political science cliche.

    Are politicians warped by their donors into supporting causes or people they wouldn’t ordinarily support, or do their donors donate in the first place because they believe the politician is inclined to support them or their cause in the first place?

    If I were a political hack with a tentative comment to an appointment in a potential future president’s cabinet, I’d probably be extraordinarily enthusiastic about raising funds for their campaign. I find that far more likely than the crude alternative, which is that successful politicians simply scan their top donor lists and randomly take their pick.

  2. #2 |  bcg | 

    “That’s a coincidence,” is the best they could come up with? Maybe really, really obvious lies are what Obama meant by “transparency” …

  3. #3 |  Eyewitness | 

    So what are the facts that prove this is a lie?

  4. #4 |  SQLCowboy | 

    Politicians… no matter what creed, they’re all still politicians.

  5. #5 |  mcmillan | 

    Well they said “The people who are in the transition process are people that (Obama) has great confidence in”, but they didn’t say what that confidence is for. Apparently it’s the people Obama’s confident can raise money.

    Actually I pretty much agree with JJH2, the people that thought they had a chance at getting a cushy job in a new Obama administration probably became very motivated to try to make sure Obama got to be the person who’s handing out the new jobs.

  6. #6 |  thomasblair | 

    One thing you can be sure of: if his name is on the ballot, he’s already been bought.

  7. #7 |  Jefferson | 

    I don’t really see why they would bother lying about this. I don’t see this as all that bad compared to the “revolving door” stuff two posts down.

    Pena should have just manned up and said, “yeah, they were exceptional organizers and motivators in a historic campaign. are you suggesting that we WOULDN’T want people like this in the administration?

  8. #8 |  Les | 

    Yeah, I must say I agree with JJH2. There’s not much here. The big lies, the obvious lies, these will come soon enough. They always do.

  9. #9 |  bobzbob | 

    Drivel. The big “bundlers” are the people who have been working hardest and most succesfully on the campaign. What did you expect him to do? Hire people he had never heard of to be on his transition team? Duh.

  10. #10 |  TexasYellowDog | 

    Of course you would expect the transition team to be expert fund raisers. The people we a talking about are figureheads and will not be actually involved in transition planning. Their job is to raise money because the government won’t pay for the actual cost of transition planning. They will also probably raise money for the inauguration. You read too many right wing nut sites for such a normally perceptive individual.

  11. #11 |  Marta Rose | 

    Aw, come on Radley! I hope when you make an honest woman of the Agitatrix (I’m sure you’re holding out in solidarity after the Prop 8 vote, right?), that you’ll enjoy the honeymoon for a little longer than 5 days…

  12. #12 |  Lee | 

    Not buying the first lie bit either. I think you were too eager to pull the trigger.

    I’m sure these 6 people are very talented, motivated people that work close to Obama. It would make sense that they also would be the most effective money bundlers. It would also make sense that he would also want them to work on the transition team (which also needs money).

    I’m calling it a swing and a miss.

    Better luck next time ;)

  13. #13 |  James D | 

    The best part, your ad on the right of your page was an ad asking “Did Obama buy the election?” :)

    Now you can start angering all these liberals who are more recent visitors to your site.

  14. #14 |  DJ | 

    Seems like a pretty serious stretch to call this a lie. At worst, there are some bad atmospherics. What’s lacking in your post is, as #14 observes, any explanation as to why these six are unqualified such that their roles cannot be understood except on the ground that they raised a lot of money. Take, for example, Susan Rice. She’s a longtime foreign policy advisor to democrats, served on the National Security Council and was an Assistant Secretary of State. She’s also been a longtime Obama advisor in addition to having worked at various think tanks. Is it really so implausible that Obama would include her as an advisor on the transition apart from her fundraising?

    She’s just one example, but your comment that Obama lied reflects something of a possibly unhealthy degree of cynicism about US politics.

  15. #15 |  andyinsdca | 

    As much as I detest Obama’s politics, it’s hard to get on a guy who has people in his transition team that helped do fundraising. Good fundraisers have a head for organization, motivating people, politics, &c. Those are the same people you would WANT on a transition team. Sure, there probably is some backscratching going on (Obama IS a Chicago politician, after all), but he wants good people.

    There will be plenty of rocks to turn over later when Obama takes the Oval Office.

  16. #16 |  scott clark | 

    DJ, even the nth degree of cynicism would not be unhealthy when it comes to politics.

  17. #17 |  Honeyfrog | 

    You don’t think Obama lied in his mealymouthed crab-skitters away from hard questions regarding Wright and Ayers (not that the media were willing to ask much, but even so)?

  18. #18 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    I don’t necessarily believe this is a lie, nor do I believe it would be the first.

  19. #19 |  Nothing to See Here « Wintry Smile | 

    […] November, 2008 · No Comments When I saw Radley Balko’s post that 6 of the 15 members of Obama’s transition team were bundlers, I had an immediate reaction of disgust.  Even for […]

  20. #20 |  Justin | 

    I’m a bit worried about the people who think fundraising shows important skills that would qualify them for this job. Maybe folks are just rich and hang out with other rich people?

    Luckily, we can just check their qualifications. I did that, and contrary to Radley implicit assertion, they just look like qualified people who happened to be bundlers. Hopefully I won’t go hell for this bit of self-promotion, but I wrote if you want the tedious details, I got them.

  21. #21 |  TJ | 

    “It’s a coincidence” would be the lie, I’d guess.

  22. #22 |  Kolohe | 

    Yeah, what JJH2 said. This is definite spin, but to call it a ‘lie’ assumes some facts not in evidence.

  23. #23 |  Dave Krueger | 

    LMAO! Ya gotta love those naive idiots who think huge campaign contributions are something other than bribes. It’s certainly not corruption. Corruption is what happens in other countries.

    Obama’s campaign financiers are lining up at the door. “It’s payback time, Baby!”

  24. #24 |  GregoryMac | 

    Did anyone expect less? After all, he is THE ONE. How dare you doubt him. He knows whats best for us. Your seat in hell is reserved with the others who have differing opinions. Who cares anyway? You that disagree with his ideas must be racist anyway.

  25. #25 |  CTD | 

    The downside off all the money The One raised is, as has been pointed out elsewhere, that he owes more favors to more people & interests than any president in history.

    And #21 TJ has pointed out the exact nature of the lie for those who just don’t quite get it.

  26. #26 |  Fay | 

    Well then by CTD’s logic, he’s also gonna have to make a lot of phone calls, because he also had MORE individual donors, and a smaller average individual contribution, than any president in history… and he refused to accept donations from federal lobbyists or PACs. Small donors deserve their “free” speech too, right?

  27. #27 |  Elliot | 

    Stop, Radley! Have you no sense of humanity!??

    Next, you’ll be torturing Obama’s people with the comfy chair!

  28. #28 |  FWB | 

    And now we see the “CHANGE” so long promised. NOT!

  29. #29 |  FWB | 

    Your seat in hell is reserved with the others who have differing opinions.

    Actually, your seat in Heaven may be reserved for noting this.

  30. #30 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “So I’ve got the Obama administration’s first lie …”

    You mean his lips didn’t move until Nov. 9th, 2008?

  31. #31 |  Sam | 

    CTD: “As has been pointed out elsewhere,” Obama owes LESS to anyone that any president in recent history. Over 50% of donors to the Obama campaign donated less than $200. This is compared to 30% of Bush’s donors, meaning that Bush’s campaign was supported much more by those with deep pockets who can command attention and favors.

    When you have been supported by three million individual donors from across the country with different desires, you owe no individual group for your success.