Clarifying his campaign promise to post all legislative bills online for five days before he signs them, President Barack Obama today said that his failure to so in the first six months of office reflects his commitment to make government “more transcendent.”
“Any politician can call for transparency in government,” the president told a crowd of supporters in the White House press briefing room. “Making legislation transcendent means lifting it above and beyond the ordinary range of human comprehension. People don’t necessarily want to read, or understand every law. They want to experience mystery and the majesty that comes through obscurity.”
The statement came in response to a New York Times story Monday that claimed the president has not posted a single piece of legislation online for five days before signing, and noted that, even if he were to do so, it’s too late to change a bill’s language at that point anyway.
“Transparency is disingenuous,” said Obama. “The people can see right through it. But transcendence elicits awe. A thousand-page stimulus bill that spends $800 billion in the twinkling of an eye leaves the common people breathless, their mouths agape, their eyes fixed in wide wonder. That kind of legislative transcendence stirs the soul in ways you can’t get from a dry reading of the text of a bill, or in-depth analysis of its potential consequences.”
During his presidential campaign, Obama said, “When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you, the public, will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it, so that you know what your government’s doing.”
Monday he affirmed that, “The people do indeed know what their government’s doing. We’re making laws. Congress quickly writes bills. I rapidly sign them. That’s what their government’s doing. And because the public trusts Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and me, their faith leads, as the old saying goes, to the bliss that comes from a certain level of knowledge.”