I saw this news story the other day and I knew immediately that it fell right into the wheelhouse of what I have been discussing on this site since I began: Government Accountability. It seems that an editor of the St. Petersburg Times decided he would research, document, and track every one of the 510 campaign promises that Barrack Obama made during his campaign for the Presidency. I initially thought, “yeah, right. Some newspaper will realistically track this…”
But it seems, at least preliminarily, that the website the set up is going to do just that. Now I will go on record saying that I am quite skeptical of their judgement. They are, after all, the media. And we can all agree that the media is absolutely full of shit these days and stopped being honest reporters of facts quite a while ago. But I do thank them for compiling the list for me so that I can look and judge for myself. I only wish they had done the same type of list for the last President, Nancy “crazy eyes” Pelosi, Harry Reid, and a host of others
I am going to be a bit more demanding on the criteria that I use to determine whether a campaign promise was kept or broken. I simply draw a harder line in the sand than this site is willing to do. You see, when you say “I will immediately end cut funding for widget making in the United States,” on the campaign trail, and you leave it at that, then you have made a statement to gain votes. You didn’t “qualify” it or say “under these conditions”. You said you would end it, period. If you come back and say I will end it but under these situations only, and I will accept that a waiver can be had to not end it under certain situations, then I say you have broken your promise. This site will only say that you have “compromised”, far too nice a judgement for me.
So let’s take a look at the promises that the site has judged thus far. But before we do that we can look at the first big promise that I felt that Obama broke, before he was even the Democratic nominee. That was the issue of campaign finance. Politifact did rule on this one, but does not include it in the 510 promises now being rated. They only rated the fact that Obama bailed on his promise to use public financing as “mostly true”. They offered him the loophole that he used the word pursue instead of commit when speaking on it.
Here is my take: Obama said that he would pursue public financing of his presidential campaign if the Republican candidate did the same. This would limit both candidates to only 84.1 billion dollars to be spent on their campaign allocated to them from the Board of Elections. In his paperwork declaring his campaign, under the question of will you use public financing as opposed to private fundraising, Obama wrote the word “YES”. John McCain committed to doing so, as every presidential candidate since the Watergate Era creation of public financing has done. Obama, upon realizing that he had the ability to get gobs of money via private contributions, and thus have the ability to far outspend McCain, flatly reversed course and backed out on taking public financing.
I see this as a flat reversal on a promise made. Par for the course for politicians I agree. But I call a spade a spade. He made a promise and he clearly broke that promise. No loopholes. No political double-speak about pursue versus commit. He made the statement with the intent of swaying voters his way. Once he got them, he broke the promise. Keep in mind he did so while running against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, when public financing was on the minds of a lot of voters scared of Clinton’s apparent vast resources. So I say promise broken, and consequently election bought and paid for, regardless of whether the right candidate won or not.
On to other topics.
Lobbyists and the White House. I have heard a lot of folks talking this week about how good and ethical is is that he is keeping his promise around lobbyists. His promise was: “No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.”
This week he has issued a Presidential Order restricting lobbyists from working in the White House. And everyone cheered their hero for keeping his word. After all we all know lobbyists are bad. NOT SO FAST. The executive order says a waiver may be granted if “the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction” (What exactly does this clause NOT cover) or “it is in the public interest … . The public interest shall include, but not be limited to, exigent circumstances relating to national security or to the economy.” (Whatever the other clause didn’t cover, this one does!)
So no lobbyists unless Obama wants them to be included. Sounds like a giant load of bullshit to me. More political double-speak. And the first waiver application is already in for William J. Lynn III, the appointee to be Deputy Secretary of Defense. Lynn was formerly a lobbyist for the giant defense contractor Raytheon. So go back to the promise above, in blue. Polititrak says this was a compromise. I say it is another promise broken.
Close Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. This has been a big topic all week. He promised “As president, Barack Obama will close the detention facility at Guantanamo.” While I am still researching and thinking and deliberating on whether I want this promise to be kept, President Obama has gotten this ball rolling fairly quickly. This week he issued an order stating that the facility would be closed one year from now. He hasn’t come up with any specifics or plans on how this can actually happen without simply releasing about 300 people into the world who want nothing more than to commit terrorist acts against the United States.
Interestingly, Nancy Pelosi (the lying anti-christ bitch… did I say that out loud?) loves to go on record saying the detainees are being held illegally because by being outside the United States, they are not afforded the rights they should have as prisoners. She says they should be brought into the United States and given lawyers and fair trials. She also stated yesterday that sending them to her District is a non-starter. No way we are moving them to Alcatraz, where they would get lawyers and fair trials (although we know the crazy California court system is where they would stand the best chance of winning!). She demands they be given JUSTICE! Just not in her little crazy section of the country. Hypocritical bitch (dangit my internal monologue just isn’t functioning today).
So I will go ahead and say that at least preliminarily, the Guantanamo Bay promise is moving towards exactly what he said he would do. Whether I agree with the closure or not is irrelevant, only whether he is following through on the promises that he made. Whether or not he follows all the way through, only time will tell. But for now I give this one a promise kept.
So there are a couple on initial volleys on the new President’s ability to keep the promises he made during his campaign. I will wait to see whether you readers are interested in this before I decide whether to continue to write about his ability to do so in the future. If you would like to go to the site I mentioned, you can do so at the link below. It seems to be a fair site, and they rate all politicians against the truth of the statements they make, not just Democrats or Republicans and certainly not just the new President. It is interesting reading. Find it here: