Regardless of what anyone thinks of Barack Obama’s term in office, it simply cannot be argued that he has fulfilled any of his campaign promises. The soaring rhetoric of his historic 2008 run for the presidency was nothing more than a well-orchestrated marketing campaign. He said what he had to say in order to be elected. What puzzles many is the fact that he has as much support in the polls as he does.
His campaign promises, as well as those he made once in office, were legion and his failures to achieve those goals are nearly as numerous, much too lengthy to detail here, so let us look at some of the major ones.
The most glaring broken promise was his pledge, made in February 2009, to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. This broken promise is obvious, as spending has spiraled out of control.
In fact, Obama said this on the campaign trail about his predecessor’s spending spree: “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”
Yet Obama has added what will total $6 trillion in just four years, half the time it took Bush to run up $4 trillion.
He promised to “go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way.” This is as laughable as his pledge to reduce the deficit by half.
As president-elect, he vowed to “ban all earmarks,” yet just a few months later he signed an omnibus spending bill with more than 8,500 of those special, and oftentimes ridiculous, appropriations, doing so behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the media.
And while we are on that subject, let’s look at Obama’s promise of more openness and transparency in government, accusing Bush, as he did, of being the most secretive administration in history. In 2007 he said we have “had enough of politicians who put power over principle, of a government in Washington that shuts you out, and of presidents who don’t hold themselves accountable.”
Yet he has turned down more freedom of information requests than any other administration and prosecuted more “whistleblowers” than anyone else. In fact, he accepted an award for transparency in government, but closed the award ceremony to the media.
In the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation, Obama claimed executive privilege and refused to turn over documents to Congress, currently investigating the scandal. But he has claimed he knew nothing about it, so withholding vital information proves he more than likely knew everything about it.
It’s even more interesting when you consider that in 2007, candidate Obama criticized the Bush Administration for “hiding behind executive privilege” during the uproar over the firing of a handful of federal prosecutors, a minor incident to say the least.
He promised that there would be “no lobbyists in my administration,” yet Obama administration officials have been caught meeting with lobbyists across the street from the White House in coffee shops, so they do not have to disclose the meetings to the public.
He promised comprehensive immigration reform and has pushed for nothing, causing one Hispanic congressman to become so irate that he was actually arrested while joining a protest in front of the White House.
Obama swore to help the millions who are in trouble with home mortgages but the housing crisis continues to deteriorate, becoming far worse than it was under Bush, something the media has chosen to ignore.
He railed again the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and vowed to close it within one year, signing an executive order within days of taking office. Yet it remains open and operating.
He vowed to “bring us all together,” yet has done nothing but divide us further with a campaign of attack and smear. He said he would oppose Super PACs, but reversed course earlier this year to support the Priorities USA Action Super PAC, which produced the notorious ad accusing Mitt Romney of essentially murdering a former Bain employee’s wife.
And, finally, the crème de la crème: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Bill Clinton had it exactly right, when, in 2008, he said the Obama campaign was “the biggest fairly tale I’ve ever seen.” It’s a fairy tale we simply cannot afford to believe again.
This column ran in the Laurel Leader Call (Laurel, MS) on Tuesday, September 24, 2012.