All Politicians make empty promises on the campaign trail.
By this time in the 2008 election, potential candidates on both sides were cranking up their campaigns, working on slogans, talking points, hot button and third-rail issues.
They all work with teams—advisors, consultants, strategists—developing policies and formulating a variety of promises hoping to be elected or reelected.
The 2012 election cycle will be slightly shorter, but will cost in excess of a billion dollars and will be rife with promises; many that will never be kept.
They’ll promise change. They’ll promise fixes, both political and economic. They’ll promise transparency and honesty. And, they’ll promise prosperity—a chicken in every pot, a job for every American.
How many political promises are real and how many are outright lies?
Unkept promises are part of the political game and politicians know that voters don’t have time to sift through the BS.
As long as the electorate remain uninformed, naive, and gullible, politicians will continue uttering impossible assurances—30 second sound bites—and getting away with it.
Obama is no exception. He elicited many promises during his bid for the presidency. For two years he promised hope and change. Voters believed in his potential; in his ability to achieve what he promised.
In his quest for reelection he should be evaluated on those promises and his ability to fulfill them.
So, how has he done?
At first blush it doesn’t look pretty.
Crisscrossing the nation Obama committed to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our young men and women home and out of harm’s way. With Iraq, George Bush’s folly could have become Obama’s triumph.
The President believes he’s fulfilling that committment by reducing numbers in Iraq and setting a time-line for Afghanistan. He, ostensibly, misread the mandate afforded him based on the electorates’ perception of his promises.
Then, a few days ago he joins forces with allies and bombs Libya? In two days over $20 million was added to the deficit—over 400 teachers, firefighters, and police salaries’ for an entire year.
Under pressure from right-wing zealots, he waffled on Guantanamo—failed miserably on his vow to close the unlawful facility. And now he’s further tainted by the illegal incarceration of Private Bradley Manning which flies in the face of democracy.
On the campaign circuit the future president vowed transparency and elimination of lobbyists’ influence in his administration. He has yet to fulfill either promise after two and a half years.
Adamant in his campaign to end the Bush tax giveaway to the wealthiest individuals, he squandered the opportunity. Instead, he compromised with a GOP that held unemployment benefits hostage.
Over and over, from positions of strength, Obama has softened under resistance.
This was never more evident than in the battles over healthcare and financial regulation. Compromises weakened both to the point of nominal gains rather than the powerful legislations they could have been.
Lack of a Public Option weakened the healthcare bill to the point of impotency. Likewise, failure to break up the big banks weakened FinReg. The President was missing in action as these battles escalated in Congress.
Obama’s inability to reverse the damages of the Bush administration is unacceptable. Baby steps when we needed giant steps. We needed someone who could take a punch and punch back harder.
Comfortable shoes? He promised during the campaign to slip on a pair of comfortable shoes and walk with union members. The perfect opportunity presented itself in Wisconsin where Republicans are trying to bust the unions. He could have walked in solidarity with the unions as he promised. A month later he’s still absent. Another forgotten promise which could be his demise.
In his defense, he inherited a country, an economy, a political climate, that was far worse than anyone could have anticipated.
Despite his ability to follow through on some promises, his failures will have the most impact.
Millions of Americans’ lives are still in disarray. Unemployment is still high, the housing market hasn’t begun to recover, banks are still stealing from the people, and divisive politics is still en vogue. The change necessary to reverse the downward spiral has fallen short—impeded by Obama’s pragmatic style.
Promising to bring the deficit down, he fails, again, to see the error in his ways; the failure to identify what really needs to be done to improve the economy and therefore reduce the deficit.
Had he followed through on his promises, ending the Middle East wars, the deficit could be reduced immediately by a minimum of $150 billion a year. And Social Security can be easily fixed if he were advised properly. The Bowles/Simpson solution would further erode the safety net. Obama’s lack of understanding of Social Security seems to be an impediment to fixing it for the future.
Maybe the cause of his failures can be found in teams he’s selected. His judgement in selecting people to advise him is suspect.
His compromises and failed promises have had an adverse effect on those he pledged to help; those that need both hope and change, not empty promises.
There is no doubt the alternative, the election of McCain and Palin, would have been a disaster and potential Republican hopefuls are even less qualified to fix this country. It was their policies that destroyed it.
Obama can be beaten. A strong challenger can point out his failures and force him to face the issues that still plague us after three years of his presidency.
We cannot afford another four years of Forgotten Promises.
Tags: 2012 Election, campaign financing, campaign promises, candidates, Congress, Democrats, Economy, House of Representatives, Jobs, lobbyists, Politics, Presidental, recovery, regulation, Republicans, Taxes, unemployment, Wall Street