Those were definitely words that we in the wilderness wanted to hear, after the secrecy and closed doors of the Bush administration. To be fair, I'm
January 10, 2010

Those were definitely words that we in the wilderness wanted to hear, after the secrecy and closed doors of the Bush administration. To be fair, I'm not sure how much control even the President has over how much transparency Congress is willing to allow, but that doesn't mean we're not going to remind him of his campaign promises:

My colleagues Igor Volsky and Matt Yglesias have eloquently argued on ThinkProgress that C-Span’s cameras should not be allowed to film the final negotiations between the House and Senate as they hammer out health care legislation that President Obama will soon sign into law. While I respect their arguments, I take a very different view. I have long believed that openness and transparency are essential bedrock measures for ensuring public accountability of our government. Letting C-Span cameras into health care conference meetings will keep negotiators honest, give the public an opportunity for input, and allow the process to be more collaborative.[..]

Critics have argued that the presence of cameras is likely to produce political posturing and grandstanding by politicians. And indeed, with the cameras rolling, Republicans have said health care reform is a bigger threat than terrorism, claimed that seniors would be told to “drop dead,” and even called the President a liar. But I’m glad cameras were there to capture those demeaning comments. They have helped all Americans gain a better understanding of the unwillingness of some on the right to engage in a rational debate.

The presence of cameras has also produced some beneficial outcomes. For instance, C-Span cameras exposed House GOP efforts to silence members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus when they tried to speak on the floor. The cameras also shamed Senate Republicans when they tried to filibuster the debate by forcing the reading of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ single-payer amendment.

Democrats have nothing to fear from an open debate. They are working to expand affordable coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans, lowering premiums, ending the insurance industry’s denial of pre-existing conditions, and ensuring women will no longer be charged much more for the same coverage as men. When the House and Senate meet in the coming weeks to discuss this historic legislation, I would humbly urge them to let the cameras roll. We can handle the truth.

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