On the campaign trail and beyond, President Barack Obama was viewed not as a person, but rather a symbol for the people who were sick of bureaucratic gibberish and who yearned for change. As a young African-American senator, many U.S. citizens identified with him and mistakenly bought the promises he made — hook, line and sinker.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe that Obama is well-intentioned, but after the past two years I think he is far more adept at campaigning than he is at leading our country.
Part of the problem lies in expectations. In the beginning, the far left lauded him as the Messiah and the far right occasionally compared him to the Antichrist. Talk about two outlandish extremes.
While Obama condemned other politicians for lack of transparency, the controversial health-care legislation was passed under the radar in an underhanded manner. Say what you will of the bill in general, that is beside the point.
He is guilty of the same secrecy he censured others for. Congress met on Sunday, March 21, 2010 in order to pass the historic reform, a move reserved for imminent emergencies in a time of war, not secretly pushing legislation through the Senate. The bill was widely viewed as dead two months before, hence the mystery and urgency.
When the American public appeared divided, at best, after the health-care reform bill was introduced, Obama stated that he would negotiate the bill, to be televised on C-SPAN. This never came to fruition.
Obama was also an advocate of bipartisanship during the campaign, which is a common claim. He expressed a desire to reach across the aisle and unite the parties, but the House passed the health-care bill without Republican votes.
Obama promised to allow five days of public comment before signing bills, and this was not the case for “The Credit Card Bill of Rights,” which was signed a mere two days after it was passed by Congress.
The president has failed to follow through on his proposition to create a $3,000 tax credit for companies that add jobs. Also, the policy to allow for penalty-free hardship withdrawals was never introduced, and at this point won’t be. These are only a few of the promises that have not been kept.
It is vital to note that Obama is not solely accountable for all of these failings. The American system is one of checks and balances, devised to keep the executive, legislative and judicial branches in check. However, the fact remains that as a seasoned politician, aware of the inner workings of the system, he is acquainted with what are and are not pragmatic promises to make.
Obama has failed to take his limitations into account, and one can see why a large portion of his previously fervent supporters have become somewhat jaded. As of Feb. 12, the Rasmussen Reports showed that a dismal 26 percent of the nation’s voters strongly approved of Obama’s performance as commander in chief.
I believe that what he has promised the American public and what he has actually been able to achieve is something that should be taken into consideration in November of 2012.
– Megan Pendagast
Sophomore English major