Rather than court controversy ahead of a re-election run, the Obama administration delayed work on environmental and health-related policies, according to The Washington Post.
A report by an independent agency admits as much, citing senior officials with the agency that oversees the implementation of federal rules, who said they attended sessions they called "Mother May I" meetings any time something had to get done. More often than not they were told by Mother that now was not the time, dearie.
Obama is oft-criticized for not doing enough on the environment, though the addition of a former Clinton staffer who pushed for environmental policy in his second term was seen as a boost in profile for green legislation.
Many of those rules have since been enacted, including a law requiring cleaner gasoline and another putting stricter controls on protecting bodies of water. Critics say the foot-dragging has cost them, however. One of the rules would have set standards for insurance coverage under the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, the rollout of which is going to through something of a tough time. And a law monitoring silica exposure in the workplace was expected to save up to 688 lives a year; it won't be finalized until 2016.
This is certainly not the first time a president has publicly put politics before policy. In 2004, George Bush held off on major campaigns in Iraq as he headed into his eventual re-election over John Kerry. However, according to the Post, "the number and scope of delays under Obama went well beyond those of his predecessors."
While it is of concern that the administration moves apace unless it suits them to do otherwise, it may also be time for various political publications to think about adding to their "Lie of the Year" considerations, as the administration has said publicly that the delays were as a result of due diligence and mere coincidence.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.