One of the classics of American literature is the short story “The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allan Poe.
Alone together, the narrator asks Dupin how he found the letter. Dupin explains the Paris police are competent within their limitations, but have underestimated who they are dealing with. The Prefect mistakes the Minister D— for a fool because he is a poet. For example, Dupin explains how an eight-year old boy made a small fortune from his friends at a game called “Odds and Evens.” The boy was able to determine the intelligence of his opponents and play upon that to interpret their next move. He explains that D— knew the police detectives would have assumed that the blackmailer would have concealed the letter in an elaborate hiding place, and thus hid it in plain sight.
In reading a lot of different blogs on both sides of the political spectrum, statements from various politicians, and “analysis” from various pundits, I think they should all read it. Why?
There’s been a lot of complaining recently about “secrecy” in this Administration, complaining about “lack of information,” as well as whines about the President’s “failure” to be as transparent as they think he should be. The problem? Most of the time the information is right out there in public, readily available. All they need to do is look!
In a previous posting I quoted a perfect example:
Murphy’s initial view was that to unlock GOP votes for a budget deal, Obama just needed to endorse chained CPI and more means-testing in Medicare. Then it was pointed out that Obama has endorsed means-testing in Medicare, so Murphy wondered why he didn’t endorse chained CPI as part of a deal. Then it was pointed out that Obama did endorse chained CPI,
How did Ezra Klein know that? Well, it was all right there on the White House web page, along with transcripts of press conferences, speeches, and policy statements. There’s a web site that enables you to search various government agencies for information about them or search other data. In other words, all the information has been out there, right in plain sight, but it wasn’t being looked at.
It’s not just the Right that has this problem, it’s also the Left. Listen to them talk about how he “failed” to do something he supposedly promised in his campaign, and it turns out that … he didn’t. How would I know that? I read his platform. Depressingly more than a few times, I’ve seen them hyperventilate over some comment or proposal, and it turns out that reading the actual statement, proposal, policy statement, regulation, or law, it turns out to be not quite what they said, or even the exact opposite of what they’re worried about.
They prefer to complain, they like to say that “if only” the President would “reach out” or “communicate better,” at least when they’re not calling for him to use the “bully pulpit,” various actions would happen. They’ll talk about “lack of transparency” while pontificating on some issue. What it really means is that they can’t be bothered to look. Yes, the Administration is hiding all sorts of things. Their “secret?” They’re hiding it in plain sight.