Obama Promise Disappears Down the Memory Hole

The dedicated folks at the Sunlight Foundation have discovered something very interesting. The Obama administration’s Change.gov website, which was set up during the 2008 transition and still available as of early last month, has now disappeared from the web. They suggest one possible reason why:

Why the change?

Here’s one possibility, from the administration’s ethics agenda:

Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

It may be that Obama’s description of the importance of whistleblowers went from being an artifact of his campaign to a political liability. It wouldn’t be the first time administration positions disappear from the internet when they become inconvenient descriptions of their assurances.

I wouldn’t want that empty promise still out there either, but the internet never forgets.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Gee, that IS an awfully inconvenient statement, isn’t it.

  • machintelligence

    Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

    He will make sure they have “the book” thrown at them.

  • slc1

    Now, now, the administration will claim that they encourage whistleblowing. They just deny that Snowden, for instance, is a whistleblower.

  • Karen Locke

    I was SO disappointed in the first term of this presidency, I very nearly didn’t vote; the opposition was so nauseating I supported Obama anyway. Maybe, I thought, without reelection to run for, he can get his act together. I was so wrong in so many ways, and this is just one of them.

  • Moggie

    You’ll probably want to update this post, since the site is back.

  • Steve Morrison

    Now, now, Ed. Obama promised us change – and sure enough, he has changed! Why are you complaining?

  • freehand

    Karen – my story also. I now regret voting for him the second time; I should have voted Green – a message to the Democratic Party to return to progressivism. Now the message of my vote is: you only have to be a little saner, and speak in complete sentences, and we will support you.


    No. Not anymore.


    Global warming, ocean acidification, western forests going up in flames, ozone killing trees, droughts, superstorms, the spread of pests, and a great extinction. We no longer have time. The least I can do is vote for the best candidates, rather than the lesser of the Two Major Evils.

  • Michael Heath

    I archived all the petitions I signed and they remain available. The last one I signed, June 2012, was not at change.gov but instead petitions.whitehouse.gov. In addition I can still login and create a new petition at that same site.

  • throwaway, feels safe and welcome at FTBConscience!

    When you tug too hard and too soon and in too small a number at the Overton “window” it slips out of your grasp.