Jan 21, 2010

Is Obama keeping too many of his promises?

As someone who campaigned for Obama last year in the swing state of Ohio, source of all that is bright and beauteous, (for example: my wife), I sometimes get asked what I think of the job he's doing. It's a difficult question to answer of course. How he is really doing will obviously take a little longer to determine. Certain things, however, are evident. America has returned to the rule of law — an immensely reassuring development. It sets a good example to young children if the people in high office are not internationally-wanted criminals. Ex-Presidents and vice-presidents of the United States should be able to travel without fear of being arrested! Similarly, Obama has not invaded any country under a mistaken or illusory set of beliefs. This is also important: If millions are to die a bloody, agonising death it shouldn't be solely on account of the other guy looking at you funny. US military personnel have also stopped torturing their prisoners — good. Holding power drills to the heads of foreigners is very hard to explain as a policy, particularly to their respective embassies at Christmas time. Ditto, threatening to crush the testicles of their children — a definite no no! Foreigners can be so funny about things like that, bless them! The economy was also stopped from imploding and a second great depression narrowly avoided. Good. I like the movies made during the Great Depression — Sullivan's Travels is excellent — but the diet wasn't everything it could have been, from what I can gather. Last but not least, something is finally being to the healthcare system so you don't risk bankruptcy by catching a cold. Very welcome. Buying a plane ticket to England every time I got sick wasn't going to be workable in the long term. The flak Obama has caught for doing all this is a little puzzling. He may be the first president in US history to get into trouble for keep too many of his campaign promises. According to politifact.com he's "kept" 92 of the little bastards, "compromised" on 33, with 275 still "in the works." Okay so he's also "stalled" on 87 but in real terms he has only "broken" a measly 9. It simply not good enough. The American people expect far more inaction from their presidents. Maybe Bush spoiled them in that regard, but the current will of the people, as expressed in the recent Massachussetts senate race and interpreted by those experts at Fox news, couldn't be clearer: "Stop doing all the things you said you were going to do!" Just reading The New Yorker's account of Obama's first year is enough to make you feel pooped:
President Obama forestalled a second Great Depression, turned the attention of the executive branch toward real problems, restored lawfulness and decency to foreign and domestic policy, damped down the flames of global anti-Americanism, and staffed the agencies and departments with competent, public-spirited officials who believe in the duty of government to advance the general welfare... Under his leadership, climate change, health care, and financial regulatory reform were given the central role in American policy that they deserve.


  1. Did you see this?