If there was ever an example to demonstrate the profound differences between the old and new administrations, the fallout from the meeting between the Nameless One and president-elect Obama serves as Exhibit One. First, a little background. Secrecy has been the mantra of Bush's presidency. From desperately hiding the identity of participants at Cheney's initial energy summit meeting early in the first term to the present time, secrecy has been what the Bush presidency is about. As layer after layer of previously undisclosed or hidden incidents of the conduct of various high level officials became known, the Bush presidency unraveled more and more. As the truth emerged out of the morass, the public began to see Bush and the people around him for what they are; individuals who seem to not understand the value of telling the truth. Then along comes Obama who runs a successful campaign for the presidency based, in part, on the principle of transparency. Transparency in government allows citizens to be treated with the respect they deserve. A little bit of sunlight on the conduct of people who live off our hard earned taxpayers' dollars heightens the value of democracy. Transparency allows the electorate to weigh the value of politicians by assessing what they do, rather than being limited to what they say they do.
The meeting between Obama and Bush focused the spotlight on this fundamental difference between the two men. Obama, following his mandate, duly reported the essence of the meeting through his staff to the public. He proposed three specific points to Bush, including a recommendation that the Big Three automakers participate in the bailout. Bush purportedly responded by attempting to horse trade such a deal for obtaining approval of a trade agreement with Colombia. Big deal. So what? This seeking of quid pro quo is what politicians do. Give me this and I'll give you that. It is the Bushies reaction to the disclosures by Obama that serves as the example. The Bush administration is upset that Obama disclosed what the two of them discussed. Apparently, it was supposed to be a secret because that's how Bush has run his administration. This small, but telling, example tells us all we need to know about why we should be grateful that the changing of the guard is soon at hand.