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Find change outside of Washington

February 11, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

We can only imagine how frustrated President Barack Obama is about the basic honesty of people who, through him, have sought major positions in government. As Obama has admitted, however, he shares some of the blame in regard to botched nominations. So do liberals in the Senate, who have been not just willing - but eager - to install tax cheats in the Cabinet.

Obama may have gained a whole new appreciation for the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who, according to legend, spent much of his time wandering the streets of Athens, looking for an honest man.

Perhaps Obama is looking in the wrong place.

His three big failures, less than a month into his presidency, involved tax cheating by prominent figures in the Washington power structure. All three - Timothy Geithner, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer - are Beltway power players.

It has been said that power corrupts. Inside the Beltway, power is the coin of the realm - and, as we have seen, corruption is not just excused, it often is rewarded. Geithner, after all, was confirmed by the Senate to head the Treasury Department.

Obama, like most new presidents, has been filling his administration primarily by looking inside the Beltway. Unfortunately, it seems that in doing so, he has increased his risk of choosing people who have succumbed to the temptation to abuse power.

Perhaps the new president should begin looking for top aides out in the real - and, apparently, more honest - world. He did promise "change," after all. Making Washington experience a disqualification for high office might well spare Obama embarrassment in the future.



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