Obama’s First Year; Promises made, kept, and broken

After one year, and a lot of ranting, it would be rather odd if I did not comment on Obama’s first year.  One thing I will say, what a difference 3 months can make.  Up until October Obama still enjoyed near complete immunity for any criticism from the mainstream press; the big 3 networks, daily news papers, or major cable networks (well until their ratings went into the toilet).  Many on the left cried foul from the instant criticism Obama and his administration drew from Fox News, blogs, and pundits who did not like the tone, attitude, and direction the administration was hinting at.  To be fair this was a bit harsh and premature, however it ended up being 100% accurate and did not indicate just how far left and radical this administration was.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.  Looking over his first year is much better then looking over his first 100 days.  So how did Obama do?  Let’s take a look.
Obama gave himself a B- as a grade for his first year in his interview with Time Magazine.  I would say he was generous, ironically radical liberals would agree too just for opposite reasons.  Realistically he achieved a C- in my mind, teetering on a D+ saved only by his unique way of improving America’s image aboard by humiliating it publically time and time again.  He has failed to meet most of his campaign trail goals, he has passed a couple of bills into law, he has reshaped the nation, and he has generated a new kind of unity, just not as intended.  To be fair we have to look at his scores in; intent, delivery, performance, and message.  These areas will show us what he set out to do, what he did, how well he pulled it off, and how he communicates to us as a nation and those outside our borders.
Intent.  Obama rode into the presidency on a wave of aspirations and ideals wrapped up in the mantra of Hope and Change.  The Bible states the road to ruin is paved with good intention, maybe Obama’s previous racist pastor forgot to mention that in 15 years between his American and racially blunt sermons.  Obama inspired with talk of opening up the process of governance, making the White House the people’s house again, and casting out the entrenched old ways of getting things done in D.C.  If people were paying attention they should have called him on it and asked how.  He promised to end wars, re-engage the world, and end poverty home and abroad, again we should have asked how.  He promised tax cuts and salvation from a faltering economy yet people believed it was all possible.  Call it what you want, the expectations Obama set for himself and allowed to be set for him by everyone were too lofty.   As a candidate this was easy, let others attach what they will to broaden appeal, unfortunately there comes a time to deliver, well that is the next section.
Delivery.  What has Obama delivered to the American People?  Forget the world at this point, its the people who elected him, the nation he sets the agenda for, and the nation that holds him accountable for his actions, the world is just a vocal observer in this and that is one lesson he may want to write down in his little book.  Some of Obama’s accomplishments were deliveries he promised, some weren’t.  He did prevent an all out depression by pushing through a massive stimulus package even setting up a website to track it, unfortunately the website was found to be wrong many times and money went to liberal pet projects that will take years to get going.  He delivered on his promises on Iraq, sort of.  The realities are proving harder to implement then thought but he does have a time table in place and bringing the Iraq War to a close, to his supporter’s chagrin he ramped up as many troops for Afghanistan as Bush did for the surge.  He delivered on his promise by signing an executive order to stop torture and close Gitmo, things got muddled in the implementation on that as Gitmo will not close by his own deadline.  His first Supreme Court nominee was confirmed demonstrating his radical left views on the Constitution.  He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, SCHIP, and eliminated bans on stem cell research and federal funding to NGO’s presenting abortion as an option.  He increased CAFE standards for cars and trucks to help the environment.  He tried to avert a race meltdown with a beer summit.  He reset our relations with Russia by scrapping a missile defense shield, and with the rest of the world through numerous trips, speeches, and humbling overtures.  Finally he has seen both the Senate and House pass health care reform he was spearheading as the cornerstone for his administration.  As you can see, he has delivered quite a lot, been a busy boy.  On their own merits that should give him an A+, or an A++++.  If only the world operated that way.   His delivery success is tempered in his broken promises and outright lies needed to achieve what he accomplished, the ends do not justify the means.
We have a saying in business applied to people who raise too fast or achieve too much too quickly, they become a victim of their own success.  Obama has avoided this simply by failing to achieve over half he promised the nation.  He did not temper the expectations his own campaign or others placed on him, instead climbing up on the pedestal others created for him higher and higher each time.  His failure was his inability to match his ambition with reality.  Many of the promises he counted out again and again on the campaign trail have been quietly broken.  He promised to transform Washington and even signed an executive order reshaping the way lobbyists could be hired, only to break it time and time again himself.  He stated he would make the legislation process open, pledging to have C-SPAN air healthcare debates and deals only to renig on his 72 hour posting of bills before signature, closing the doors to let insurance companies and pharmaceuticals to get huge tax breaks and subsidies to gain their support for health care.  He campaigned on restoring creditability to America by stopping torture, renditions, and Orwellian practices only to get sued for torture while renditioning suspects, knocking down a liberal lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld, and using the tools of the Patriot Act exactly as the Bush White House did.  He raised taxes 61% on every American who smokes cigarettes.  He pledged to work tirelessly to keep Americans safe from terrorism only to see an attack happen on our soil inside our largest Army base, followed by a man wearing explosive underwear fail to blow up an airplane on Christmas day, instead continuing to blame Bush and the GOP for all wrongs he faces.  Worst of all, he has failed to listen to the American people instead letting a 60 year senate seat held by the most storied American political dynasty in one of the most liberal seats in the country go to a Republican who ran exclusively to stop his health care program.  He has failed to deliver on climate change, world trade, and making the world safer from threats from North Korea, Iran, or radical Islam.  His words continue to aspire and resonate, but they fail to deliver results outside his own Congress.
Performance.  Presidents don’t do much before signing things or making speeches.  Obama’s performance has to be measured by his proactive approach verses his reactive approach.  Why this?  He is the leader of the nation, by this he is expected to lead.  Leading means getting out ahead of things and steering the nation toward the course you want it to go, remember he constantly stated we were headed on the wrong course.  If you are reactive you are not leading, you are putting out fires, letting the situation control and dictate your actions.  How has Obama measured up on moving others to his will?  Not well.  His first six months were stellar, he toured, made speeches, drew from the enthusiasm and elation of his victory only to fall flat on the realities of dealing with those who could care less what you were selling.  His humiliation tour through eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America may have re-endeared America to those peoples, it did little to gain achievements from their leaders and rulers.  He did get some reactions from Gaza, pledging $30 million in aid, but the net result has been little if any progress.  His leadership in the UN did net a nuclear arms deal, outside of that little else.  At home he ran into the legislature score some quick wins only to step back and let Congress do what it does best, debate something to death.  He has failed to even get his cornerstone measure, health care, off the ground.  Sure, it has passed the House and Senate but getting the two to agree now is fading faster and faster each day.  His approach of carrots and handshakes has netted little abroad and at home.  Even his projected post racial elegance has netted little outside of his beer room diplomacy that only faded into the background.
The flip side of performance is being drug around by others.  Obama has ran into this more times than expected.  He had to concede missile defense to the Russians on help with Iran, help not yet seen or realized as Iran continues unstopped toward the goals they only know.  His attempts of leading to the G20 to address the financial mess netted a falling dollar, falling bonds being issued, and countries like India getting more gold or China using the IMG to get bonds making funding his spending dangerously in question.  His open hand policy was slapped back by North Korea who demand all sanctions be lifted and direct 2 party talks before they will budge, despite numerous overtures and harsh language.  He has yet to demonstrate standing on solid ground for anything, giving ground on Iraq, Gitmo, Afghanistan, Climate Change, Health Care, you name it.  He is not flip flopping as much as just giving inches here and there.  If Obama were a strong leader he would put his foot down the way he did 4 days after Christmas in demanding better security and cooperation to identify potential terrorists before they strike.  The situation was leading him, not the other way around.
Our last area is Message.  How well has Obama preformed on his message this first year?  Not well in my opinion.  He started the year in campaign mode doing little to moderate his message.  When he ran into trouble he, and his administration, pulled out an old familiar whipping boy, G.W Bush.  That worked for a while, but got old quick.  His message stayed on point on a few items, only to be realized his actions were just the opposite.  This alienated his supporters, angered independents, and reinvigorated his opponents.  His tone has stayed consistent, he is a great speaker.  His words however have failed to inspire Congress to work efficiently, companies to start hiring again, or countries to cooperate in our best interests.  His message of bi-partisanship has tempered to one of a bully pulpit.  Granted opposition was on party lines, but not once has he called for compromise from HIS party to gain support on issues instead demanding his way or the highway.  This message has stirred up an ire not seen in this country since the liberal movement in the early 1960’s.  Obama pledged to bring America together.  Well, he is slowly succeeding, just bringing us together against his radical ideals and policies.  George H.W. Bush failed to win re-election due to one thing, the economy.  Obama ran on the message of jobs, even his VP got caught up in it.  The problem is unemployment continues to be above 10% and an adjusted level suggests up to 15%!  His message was great, his delivery sucks.  Add to the facts his message is getting caught in lies, over job numbers and stimulus affects for example, is not helping him.  American businesses are scared of his message.  American progressives are growing scared of his message as well.  If he continues to ignore and talk down to his distracters he will find himself derailed much faster than expected come November.  His message appealed to those of the far left and those dissatisfied with the current system.  When it was discovered he was part of the system and all was as it was before his message started falling on deaf ears.
Obama’s accomplishments are more than his failures, however his failures are damning in the way they erode from his appeal in getting things done.  As a conservative I do not want to see him socialize the nation through entitlements, bankrupt it thought ever expanding government, or weaken us to the point of requiring aid from others to run our affairs due to weak trade or military presence.  I would be happy if he just learned the same things Clinton did in 94 and became a moderate.  We can fix fiscal expansion, we can’t fix entitlements.  We can fix a weak dollar, we can’t fix a worthless bond rating or being the world’s largest debtor nation.  If he had delivered on changing how DC did its business and ran I could overlook some of his other failures.  His accomplishments have been average, maybe a little above that, thus far.  That gives him a solid C.  His failures have not been catastrophes, yet, co he only gets a D- for that.  His arrogance and insistence on going the way he is without the American people nets him an F in my book.  To me he is teetering between a C- and D+.  I hope he improves because from here the wheels look as if they are about to fall off, if that happens it won’t be pretty.  I want him to keep the nation safe, out of bankruptcy, and keep us competitive economically.  He came in with promises of change, I hope he can salvage it before the change is going from leader of the free world to leading beggar of the industrialized world.
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2 Responses to Obama’s First Year; Promises made, kept, and broken

  1. Cherry says:

    You go John , The tides are turning with the election of Scout Brown, US Sen. of MA USA, Obama Refuse to take the blinders off and see what the american people want. Instead of preaching to us as little childeren who cannot understand the complexity, of obama health care, cap and trade tax and now hisplanned tax on wall street. So All I can say we are adults and not childeren. Mr. Obama needs to listen to the will of the people, not the will of Obama and chicago politics. 2010 is the year both the Democrats and Republicans will be shaken up by election day. and new body of goverment will be in place in the Senate and us US Congress. Great article wil post to my site .. Thak you John for your words of Support.. Hows the pancakes, lolCherrye Kellogg USA

  2. Kevin says:

    you are so into politics, aren\’t ya

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