Transparency in the State of the Union 2013


In years past, we have celebrated or analyzed the transparency, ethics, and money-in-politics themes from State of the Union addresses.

This year, there’s not much to talk about.

Aside from saying that the White House will ensure anti-terrorism “efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world” (whatever that means), transparency didn’t come up at all.

Obama says that we have to “keep the people’s government open,” but he means avoid a shutdown, not remain transparent.

This is a far cry from recent years — here are excerpts from 2012, 2011, and 2010.

It’s not a surprise for government integrity, transparency, and influence to be absent, since Obama’s visionary rhetoric and action on government transparency have largely been replaced with rhetorical defenses.

Maybe it’s still too awkward to talk about lobbying and dark money when the President is accepting huge corporate donations for his inauguration parties and designing his own c4.  By his own words, the post-Citizens United Obama repeatedly assured us that secret money in politics would undermine integrity. We’re still wondering whether his ongoing silence on transparency and money in politics is evidence that he was right.