White House to Hill Dems: Go Pound Sand

Well, this is certainly an interesting development…

Apparently, the White House is finding it tiresome to have to answer so many questions from those annoying Congressional Democrats on thorny issues like exactly who paid for that “Mission Accomplished” banner that President Bush stood in front of when he spoke on the USS Abraham Lincoln back in May. So, they’ve developed a novel way of dealing with those inquiries — from here on out, they’re going to ignore them:

The Bush White House, irritated by pesky questions from congressional Democrats about how the administration is using taxpayer money, has developed an efficient solution: It will not entertain any more questions from opposition lawmakers…
The director of the White House Office of Administration, Timothy A. Campen, sent an e-mail titled “congressional questions” to majority and minority staff on the House and Senate Appropriations panels. Expressing “the need to add a bit of structure to the Q&A process,” he wrote: “Given the increase in the number and types of requests we are beginning to receive from the House and Senate, and in deference to the various committee chairmen and our desire to better coordinate these requests, I am asking that all requests for information and materials be coordinated through the committee chairmen and be put in writing from the committee.”
He said this would limit “duplicate requests” and help answer questions “in a timely fashion.”
It would also do another thing: prevent Democrats from getting questions answered without the blessing of the GOP committee chairmen.

So in other words, elected Members of Congress have been told they can’t communicate directly with the White House anymore — if they want their questions answered, they have to ask permission from their GOP committee chairman to have their question passed along.

What a slap in the face! The Administration might want to step back and consider that, if it’s being overwhelmed with questions about its actions, the problem might be less with the process for submitting the questions and more with the actions themselves. This kind of Keystone Kop authoritarianism doesn’t help matters; it only tarnishes an already tarnished record.