Last I knew, neither the devil incarnate nor the Messiah was running for president. Last I listened to the people on TV — on both sides of the proverbial partisan aisle — I couldn’t tell.
Tonight, Pres. Obama (note: not devil nor Messiah, despite what some opposers and supporters believe) will officially accept his party’s nomination. He will again articulate why he believes he deserves to be president, albeit in 61 days, the voting public will be the deciders of exactly how deserving.
Unlike Gov. Romney — only because Romney has never been president (although it sure seems like he’s been running a long time) — there is no need for Obama to “define” himself in regard to who he is and how he would govern. Obama’s record now “defines” him.
Has Obama done everything he’s promised? No. Has he done some things he’s promised? Yes. Have the Republicans sometimes stood in his way? Yes. Have the Republicans always stood in his way? No. My keen sense is that any other perception of promise-keeping equates to being seduced by rhetorical spin.
Thus, in 2008, what exactly did Obama promise?
(One more note, friends: this is a non-emotional representation; too many of us allow emotion to disproportionately sway our opinion; hence, truth often becomes distorted in our own minds.)
Just as senior class presidents are tempted to promise “free Coke in every pop machine,” most candidates promise much, as promises are perceived as a victorious path. Candidates therefore tend to promise what’s expected to generate the most votes.
- Then Sen. Obama promised to “invest in early childhood education.” Promise kept. Through the stimulus, billions of dollars were given to 2 federal programs, Head Start and Early Head Start.
- Obama promised that “if you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums.” Promise broken. Thus far, health insurance premiums have increased.
- Obama promised that he would “end this war in Iraq responsibly.” The Intramuralist cannot assess responsibleness; however, the promise was kept in that August of 2010 marked the end of combat operations in Iraq.
- Obama promised that “now is the time to protect Social Security for future generations.” Promise broken. In the last 4 years, nothing has been done to stabilize this deficit-running entitlement.
- Obama promised that “we will kill Bin Laden.” Promise kept. The terrorist leader was killed in May of 2011.
- Regarding the healthcare debate, Obama promised to “have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.” Promise broken. Meetings were held behind closed doors.
(FYI: Promise records tabulated via CNN Money, FactCheck, and PolitiFact.)
Obviously, there are multiple other promises we could assess; there have been promises about cutting the deficit, lowering unemployment, eliminating oil and gas tax loopholes, extending child credits, increasing minority access to capital, requiring automatic enrollment in IRA plans, immigration, labor issues, social issues, economic issues, etc. etc. Some have been kept; some have been broken; and some may or may not still be in progress.
The challenge every voter faces is discerning why a promise is broken or kept. Was the President obstructed? Was he insincere? Did he have other priorities? Or was it simply the “free-Coke-in-the-pop-machine” attempt to get elected?
Did I mention that the voting public will decide?