Hm, what possible motivation could President Obama have for requiring bidders for federal contracts to disclose their political donations?

In a television interview last October, President Obama accidentally let slip a key element of his political philosophy: “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”

Obama later apologized — not for the underlying sentiment, mind you, but for his word choice. “I probably should have used the word ‘opponents’ instead of enemies,” the president declared.

This incident is worth remembering as the president prepares to issue a far-reaching executive order that would require the government to collect detailed information about the political activities of anyone applying for a federal contract. The proposed order would require businesses to furnish, with each contract proposal, a list not only of their contributions to political candidates and committees, but also their contributions to groups that do not under current law have to reveal their donors. The president’s order would force anyone seeking a federal contract to declare whether they are a friend or an enemy — excuse me, “opponent” — of the Obama White House. Worse still, it would set up a central database listing those contributions at a federal government Web site — creating what amounts to an electronic, searchable “enemies list.”

Does anyone doubt that such a public enemies list would be doubly used by Obama's allies? It seems like the President wants everyone to be more transparent except his own administration.

For at least a year, the Homeland Security Department detoured hundreds of requests for federal records to senior political advisers for highly unusual scrutiny, probing for information about the requesters and delaying disclosures deemed too politically sensitive, according to nearly 1,000 pages of internal e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.

The department abandoned the practice after AP investigated. Inspectors from the department's Office of Inspector General quietly conducted interviews with employees last week to determine whether political advisers acted improperly.

The common theme: politics are primary.

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