June 22, 2007  ·  Lessig

A great speech by Mr. Obama about limiting corruption in government. The fact sheet has lots more substance in it. This is great progress, though recommendation (2) is a bit funny. I would think the right way to avoid the revolving door is to forbid employment a certain number of years after working in the Administration. If you tie it to the life of the Administration, then there’s not much protection for the last years of the term.

  • Evan

    Both would be nice. Life of administration + N years.

    Heh, it should be tied it to copyright terms–I doubt people would be willing to wait 70 years after the end of an administration, so maybe we’d see some real copyright term reform ;)

  • John Nilsson

    While looking into this corruption thing you might be interested in listening to this podcast about “how dictators and democratically elected leaders respond to the political forces that keep them in office”.

  • Tammy

    I think Senator Obama recognizes that he can’t control what happens after his two terms end. However, while he’s the nation’s chief executive, they’ll be no backdoor back-slapping deals.

    Everybody’s going to operate on the up-and-up. I just love it!

  • Alan McCann

    I’ll believe he’s serious about this (and Lawrence too) when he talks about Diane Feinstein’s involvement in voting for military contracts that went to her husband’s company.

    If he isn’t against all corruption, then he isn’t against corruption at all.

  • http://lucychili.blogspot.com Janet Hawtin
  • David Durant

    This is an excellent step forward. Surely the next thing to do is to challange the other candidates to sign up to this pledge so that no matter who gets into office at the next election it’s still upheld. That concept worked for opening up the Presidential Debates and could work for this as well. If prospective candidates won’t sign it – it gives Mr Obama excellent amunition to use in his campaign.

    Speaking of which – do you feel that while you are attacking corruption in Washington that it makes sense to still remain a member of one of the parties? Surely this will weaken your position and make any comments you make about republicans look partisan?

  • David

    PDF links not found…

  • Randy Sailer

    Links seem to be broken in this post….

  • Jardinero1

    I think number two is laughable if you expect to find any appointees willing to do the job. If you spend your life building a career in say, the natural gas industry, and receive an appointment to the F.E.R.C. in an Obama administration what’s the likelihood you would accept the job. There’s little chance you will take a two, four or eight year government job if it means unemployment for two years while your contacts and skills grow stale and the industry moves ahead of you.

    Appointees come from the industries they will regulate and from watchdog groups for those same industries. Will the watchdog appointees be allowed to go straight back to their previous employers and take immediate advantage of the contacts and influence they developed?

  • Dan Miller

    Re: Jardinero’s point, we could see how it worked during a prospective first term, and if we were really having problems, increase pay substantially for executive branch service. I’d much rather appointees get paid by the taxpayers rather than cashing in from private entities.

  • Scott Snider

    I have real questions about Sen. Obama’s commitment to fighting corruption. He was concerned about corruption in Mayor Daley’s administration until he decided that he needed da Mayor’s help in Illinois. All of a sudden he had no problem endorsing Daley’s run for reelection as well as that of an alderman facing corruption charges.

  • http://www.guillermowechsler.com Guillermo Wechsler

    Obama’s speech goes in the valuable direction. He doesn’t need to be immaculate, but persevere. However, setting up standards for NC in roles definitions; standards for information transparency; assessments of NC compliance and capacity to act in order to assure education and enforcement is something I wouldn’t leave in any politician hands. I would like to have democrats, republicans, independents, etc playing this music. However, we as citizens, can -socially and collaborative-define the NC standards for different gov roles, regulatory agencies roles, and specially by an anomalous role that work against the foundational principles of our republic: lobbyists.
    Lobbyism thrives in the gray areas. It connect justice-legislation-Whitehouse. It connects politics-corporations-media. Lobbyyism is an enabler of non-transparent networked collectives defining spaces of collaboration and life for the whole community. If they transform themselves in a transparent activity, they may even become beneficial. Today, they are weakening our democratic institutions and contributing to the depletion of the common. So, from my perspective, our main challenge is to build the standards, to make it a fundamental criteria for assessing public identities, and to offer them to whom may be interested in being “certified” as compliance by the NC collective.

  • Todd K.

    Libertarians have been saying this stuff for decades. If Democratic voters didn’t want to benefit from graft and corruption they would have been voting for Libertarians all along.

    The “Google for government” bill? That’s a cheesy attempt to appeal to young voters. Maybe next he’ll propose “iPod for Justice” legislation.

  • Raven C

    I believe that most people WOULD vote Libertarian if:

    1) They new what that meant.
    2) The party hadn’t been sucessfully demonized as extremists by its rivals
    3) We weren’t locked into a never-ending 2 party systems that wastes votes for any other parties and makes it necessary to simply vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

  • http://fare.tunes.org/ Faré

    I will dance over your mass graves once you achieve to get elected incorruptible people like Robespierre and Pol Pot — yes, “Incorruptible” was their surname, because they were wholly untouched by any argument, completely raptured by ideology.

    The enemy is political power. Corruption is the mollification of political power by the interests of real people. Incorruptible officials means sheer evil for the sake of evil.

    Corruption is the symptom of society resisting political power, just like fever is a symptom of a body resisting infection. Removing the symptom is not likely to make the patient better — but much worse off.

    Any political power is destruction of the civil society now, and political abuse now and later. To think otherwise is to completely ignore the nature and dynamics of political power. Learn the Law of Bitur Camember.