Obama: Too many broken promises

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has sent the American economy into free fall and moved the war in Iraq to the back burner.

Which is a good thing for President-elect Barack Obama because it detracts from another broken promise from the campaign of the nation’s first African-American president.

During his campaign, Obama promised the American people he would bring American troops home from Iraq in 16 months. He’s admitted he can’t do that now. He knew he couldn’t do it when he made the claims during the campaign. But it sure sounded good to all those new, young voters who wanted to end the war.

At best, America will end its combat role in Iraq by 2011 – a deadline set by the Iraqi government and supported by Obama. His decision to keep Bush’s defense secretary – Robert Gates – in charge of the Pentagon represents a major rollback in his promise for a swift end to the war in Iraq.

Campaign promises are normally as dispensable as a condom after sex so we shouldn’t be surprised that Obama’s reneging on Iraq is just another in a growing litany of "well, I may have said that, but…"

But Obama promised to be different. He promised to be a Presidential candidate who kept his promises and he broke that promise too.

Obama said lobbyists – the real power brokers in Washington – would have no role in his government yet his transition team is packed with lobbyists and they’re the ones making recommendations on who should get top jobs and setting the legislative agenda of the new administration.

He promised an end to the old way of doing things but, so far, he has stacked his cabinet with retreads from past administrations schooled in – you guessed it — the old way of doing things.

He promised an end to the bitter partisanship of the past yet his first appointment as President-elect was the most partisan member of Congress as his chief of staff. Rahm Emmanuel is not only a rapid partisan but a former political operative who makes Karl Rove look like a Sunday school teacher.

Perhaps we should have paid more attention to an early indicator of Obama’s disregard for keeping his word. He promised to accept public financing if his opponent did. McCain accepted public financing and Obama broke that promise because he could raise and spend more money outside the system. And he raised more than $750 million. That’s three-quarters of a billion.

Some say Obama bought the election. Buying an election is old-school politics – something Barack Obama said he would bring to an end.

At this point, an Obama supporter will probably rise up in self-righteous anger and tell me we need to give the new guy a chance.

He’s had a chance…several in fact.

So far, he’s blown most of them.

I hope I’m wrong about this guy. America may not be strong enough to survive another four years of failure in the White House.

The Obama faithful keep chanting "let’s wait and see" and promise us that Obama will be the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Let’s hope he is. Let’s hope star-struck American voters have not been mesmerized by style over substance.

Let’s hope the new FDR is not really just a recycled Herbert Hoover.


  1. Jim C

    The problem is that seemingly all of his advisors are conservatives , so what kind of advice do you think he will be getting ? Hint , he’s already backing away from raising taxes on the wealthy which is historically one of the best things you can do to help the economy . Conservatives hate the idea but history shows clearly that when taxes are raised on the rich the economy improves. They stop hoarding funds and paying themselves enormous amounts ( not to mention buying fresh new politicians ) and plow funds back into their business to lighten their tax payment ( look what happened when the wealthy were taxed at over 90% , huge growth and reinvestment ) . If I may offer an analogy , If your car was running badly and you knew of two mechanics , one who every time he worked on your car it stopped running or ran worse than when you took it in and another that you then had to always take it to who would fix it . Which would you go to with car problems ? By the logic you attribute to Obama I guess you keep taking it to the guy who doesn’t know how to fix it assuming that because you told him to fix it he will this time . As far as not caring what their ideology is , if they are steeped in right wing ideology that is the approach they are going to try to follow ? If all his advisers are right wing ideologs ( which they are ) what kind of advice do you think he will be getting ? Ideolog and pragmatist are opposite and opposing terms . By surrounding himself with right wing ideologs for both advice and implimentation I find believing he is going to be pragmatic a bit hard to swallow . I am also not saying they won’t get results , but you might refer back to my Einstein quote .

  2. eggplant43

    We’ll know nothing for sure until policies start being implemented. I think implementation is the key here. Obama is already on record that his cabinet’s job will be to carry out his policies. When the rubber starts to hit the pavement, then we can criticize. Until then, it’s just speculation. If these folks don’t perform as promised, then we’ll see.

    Obama and his crew have got to perform under very delicate circumstances, and frankly, I don’t care what their ideology is, as long as they get results. I hope I don’t live to regret those words.

  3. AustinRanter

    A great line was delivered by Robert Duvall in the movie Apocalypse Now in which he said, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” I’m beginning to appreciate that line more and more. When you live in an explosive, violent, and vile world long enough, eventually you have to be able to find something about it that you like.

    I do believe that a few folks are ready for another presidential election as this past one wasn’t quite satisfactory enough for them. I’m not a Christian, but let’s just pretend that Jesus ran and was elected as President-Elect (I might have voted for him). I just don’t believe that Jesus could have been elected and kept all of his campaign promises…or selected all of the right cabinet and advisory members that would have completely appeased all.

    Seems to me like we (society in general) are always looking for some reason to hang somebody on a cross (metaphorically speaking, of course).

    Damn good thing there’s no official or legal mandate for multiculturalism. There’s enough groups vying for power as it is.

    As my grandma use to say, “When it hurts hard enough, long enough, you’ll stop doing whatever it is that is causing the pain.”

    So you ask…what’s all of the above have to do with broken promises? Welp, think about it.

  4. spartacus

    Let’s keep in mind, too, that the reason Obama and McCain didn’t agree to use public financing was that McCain wouldn’t agree to call off the 527s: the same swift-boaters who made a mockery of the process by turning a war-hero (John Kerry) into what appeared to be a coward, while he was running against someone who didn’t even bother to show up for his stateside job of keeping the skies over Alabama safe! Saying he bought the election is ridiculous, unless you want to compare that to the way Republicans have used their campaigns in the past, with public funds accentuated by 527s spending millions on hate ads and PAC ads that are equally reprehensible in most cases. Obama was simply too smart to go along with the usual Republican game plan: McCain couldn’t even put a lid on Sarah Palin, his rabble-rousing VP pick, when she started her hate-filled rhetoric and incited her crowds to shout threats and show their violent tendancies, assuming he wanted to put a lid on it.

    Obama obviously knew just whom he was dealing with. That’s why he didn’t take the money. Don’t you think other organizations could have taken in those contributions for his campaign as well? There were millions of people who wanted Barack Obama to be elected president (though not you I suppose), so they would have found a way to give it to somebody for that purpose, I assure you.

    This election was not bought, unless you consider that it was paid for by millions upon millions of Americans who gave contributions averaging less than $100 each. That IS public financing.

  5. eggplant43

    I question many of his appointments, especially in the financial arena. That being said, I will wait and see. I believe, that ultimately, he is a pragmatist, and that is what we need right now. I believe that he has a vision that includes fairness as the core value. I like the fact that he has placed a willing, able team, ready to attack from the first day in place. There are many minefields out there, let’s see how he negotiates them, once he is in office.

  6. ChescoRes


    Two quick things:

    First, he CAN’T have broken any promises yet, because as of yet, he doesn’t have the power to KEEP any of his promises.

    Get a grip, please.

    And second, there is this:

    “Some say Obama bought the election. “

    You’re giving us a strawman argument with a link to NEWSMAX!?!? Are you kidding?

    Time to call another “review” of your site. Where’s that “real” journalist that did it for you before?

  7. Jim C

    Eggplant , I’m OK with his being a pragmatist , no problems with that . But isn’t the very idea of pragmatism finding out what works and doing that ? If thats the case , why is he packing his cabinet with conservative economists and thinkers? If there has ever been an ideology and economic theory that has been disproven it’s conservatism , so where’s the pragmatism ? The 1890’s , 1920’s , 1990’s , and the present economic mess , all caused by conservative economics that had to and with the present case need to be fixed by liberal economic ideas . Not to mention Peru , Argentina , Indonesia and others all had failed conservative economic experiments , not to mention bush and company were trying to use Iraq as a proving ground for yet another failed conservative economic test . As all of our economic crash’s since 1890 have been directly caused by conservative economic theory I believe it would be safe to say , IT DOESN’T WORK , never has , never will , so why is he appointing nothing but conservative economic ( gag ) thinkers and advisers to his cabinet ? In the mean time he has appointed not one , zilch , nada , zero liberal thinker to any position , much less treasury where liberal thinkers and ideas are desperately needed . So exactly where’s the pragmatism ? Surrounding himself with people who espouse , are steeped in and in many case’s are the architects of the current mess while ignoring those people who were predicting this from the beginning reminds me more of Einsteins pronouncement ” insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results ” than pragmatism . I mean , really , he said he wanted lots of different ideas . OK , so why has he surrounded himself with nothing but conservatives , not one liberal in the mix .


    “Seems to me like we (society in general) are always looking for some reason to hang somebody on a cross (metaphorically speaking, of course).”

    When someone is hung on a cross, people gather and stare, imagine if the Romans could have put big billboards behind jesus advertising the best deals at local hotels. It’s all about the benjamins man, nobody would read this if Doug fellated Obama with heaping praise, gotta keep the flow coming in.

  9. AustinRanter

    Snafubar…interesting comment.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m not a Christian, or affiliated with any religion or related type belief. But being born in a culture that has a very large population of religions that teaches Christianity I’m very familiar with all of the related stories.

    There was a reason that I used Jesus to make a point in my previous posting.

    Jesus was considered to be flawless, completely without sin, or just plain perfect. It’s really apparent to me that people didn’t want to hear his message, which might have alluded to something like, All beings had abilities beyond their understanding, but they just wanted him to perform miracles. Everybody just wants the good stuff, not have to put out the efforts to engage in all of the tasks that it takes to learn and practice to achieve such enhanced skills.

    Now I’m not trying to compare the skills of Obama with those to have allegedly existed for Jesus, but I see a pattern that is similar. Jesus, living as a human, living in the flesh, didn’t have the power that he needed to fix everything for everybody. But from all of the stories told, I don’t think that was his job, you know, to fix everything for everybody. It seems to me that his job was more related to delivering a message, or messages, that certainly included that it is the responsibility of all of humanity to work together to rise above their self-centered needs and help one another to overcome personal and social challenges.

    Obama isn’t the acting president. He doesn’t have to power to overthrow Bush’s seat in the government. Congress wouldn’t impeach Bush…so, he’s still the “Decider”. Given this situation, it would be impossible for Obama to exercise his elected powers until January 20th. We don’t have a clue as to the purity or imperfections of his appointments or his policies. Yet, as we all sit here pondering our fate, so many are trying to hoist the guy up on the cross, metaphorically speaking, of course.

    Good thing that stoning people to death for their perceived indiscretions is, well, should be against the law. But in today’s times, we have completely new technologies of stoning people to death without rocks and they are all related to various forms of public methods of communicating tools and mediums that disseminate opinions and ideas. You know, things like the Internet, Newspapers, Magazines, TV, radio and such.

    So it looks like to me that we don’t want to hear Obama’s message…we just want him to perform miracles…and the guy doesn’t even have the legal authority to take action that would be required to begin to solve our critical problems. If we listened to Obama’s messages then we would have to admit that we all are going to have to participate in self-sacrifice, challenges that were so unanticipated just months ago, losses that are devastating…and joining together as a society to be individual cogs in the wheel of progress and resolve.

    How about we all try to thinking about the term, “Progress Not Perfection”. Let’s try doing our daily foot-work to do our part in our country’s crises… and not place expectations on the outcomes that we can’t possibly know.

    Obama isn’t President! Just because the present President is a way less than desirable President…doesn’t make Obama automatically responsible for doing the current President’s job.

    HOWEVER, all things considered, I think that Obama is doing way more than what we might has seen and experienced had the election outcome been different.

  10. GovtFlu

    Expecting any DC Mafia politician to tell the truth during a campaign is a recipe for disappointment. They lie like they breathe and Obama sold himself as a change agent to win.

    He knows the political clout he’s got, his many fans will forgive him for awhile and the party sheep will stick to the flock no matter what. Besides that ANYTHING at this point is still better that the low budget Bush league neoclowns.

    Politics is two words; poli = “many”, tics = “useless bloodsuckers”.

  11. DejaVuAllOver

    During the campaign, we saw Obama constantly shifting positions, which is about as unusual as marital infidelity from conservatives. But now we’re seeing the true color of Obama from his cabinet picks, his first measurable and quantifiable action as The Big Cheese. Looks like we bought ourselves another radical-right Israel-pandering banker-bailing workingman-stiffing heap o’ conservative nightmare. And I must say, it scares the holy-stinky-stuff outa me.

  12. gazelle1929

    There you have it, folks. Six weeks until the inauguration and already at least two votes for impeachment. Ain’t nobody good enough for our country. Let’s get rid of all of ’em and let the country run itself.

    If you two (GovtFlu and DejaVuAllOver) have something constructive to offer, please offer it. Otherwise quit your infantile whining. We have heard you over and over again and it wears quite thin.

    You can help to make your country better or you can make it worse. Right now you are trying to make it worse by undermining support for Barack Obama, who is asking for and needing all the help he can get.

  13. GovtFlu

    I’m trying to make the country better by pointing out the 2 party system has, is, and will fail us each and every time.

    Change = voting 3rd party. Recycling the establishment is futile.

    At first Obama was spot on, said all the right things a supposed change agent should. I still didn’t vote for him, he was transparently phony.

    Obama has since devolved from mister perfect change, to “go along to get along” typical politician and those who don’t have lying eyes are pointing it out. Rightfully so. He was supposed to be different, thus far he hasn’t been.

    Maybe this time it will make clear both parties fail the same each & every time no matter who the mouthpiece is… voting for either one is a true “waste” of a vote.

  14. sherry

    Precisely. We become angry with one party and run to the other, which is just as bad as the party we abandoned.
    Obama’s well documented massaging of the caucuses went without criticism in the main stream media. He cheated his way to the nomination. He is straight out of Chicago politics and people actually bought this whole “change” crap.
    Axelrod noted right after the election that Obama had spoken with the Illinois governor, but once arrested, the Obama camp is claiming Obama had no such conversation. Note to Barry: the governor’s house was bugged. Think about it.
    This may be Barry’s new Whitewater. The burning question is, will the race card work this time?
    It’s truly sad, because this nation desperately needs a president. Desperately.

  15. sherry

    It is the responsibility of the nation’s citizens to hold the government accountable. It’s not about supporting or not supporting him. It is about holding him to the standard.
    He either makes the grade or he doesn’t.

  16. ChescoRes

    I swear I can’t decide if reading this crap makes me want to laugh out loud or throw up.

    Looks like we bought ourselves another radical-right Israel-pandering banker-bailing workingman-stiffing heap o’ conservative nightmare.
    Obama has since devolved from mister perfect change, to “go along to get along” typical politician and those who don’t have lying eyes are pointing it out. Rightfully so. He was supposed to be different, thus far he hasn’t been.

    OK people, try, PLEASE try to get this through your stinkin heads.


    The thought that we can somehow judge what he’s going to do before he does it is simply ridiculous.

    I asked it of Doug already and now I’m telling the rest of you.

    Get a grip!!!

    And for all you transparent Repubs who are looking for ANYTHING to criticize and whine about, just remember how you reacted when we screamed about the President doing things like lying us into an illegal war. You were the “America, love it leave it” crowd.

    So now the shoe is on the other foot, except of course, that Obama hasn’t commited any war crimes or constitutional violations, or …. gee ANY crime at ALL!

    And yet you are convinced the country’s about to go down the tubes. Welcome to my last eight years.

  17. AustinRanter

    As the old saying goes, “You can give some of the people everything that they want all of the time. You can give can give all of the people some of what they want all of the time. But you can’t give all of the people all that they want all of the time.” Who said that? Hmmmm, I don’t know…maybe every politician whose ever lived?

    It appears that we have over 299 (plus) Million Monday Morning Presidents crying out how the game should have been played last November 4th. But more in particular, so many Monday Morning Presidents are very torn by the new players that the coach hired to play in future games…that’s yet to even leave the bench to get out onto the field.

    ChescoRes…I think you are on to something…something worth thinking about.

  18. gazelle1929

    Think? Think? You want them to think instead of simply parroting the poisonous crap from Limbaugh, Hanratty, Coulter, and all the others who are so upset because we might finally have some sanity in our government?

    Surely, you jest. They say it isn’t their job to try to help the country, only to tear down a newly-elected leader before he even takes office. I sometimes wish there were a Constitutional clause that permitted revocation of citizenship, or at least a test for it.

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  20. Janice

    Good morning Doug,
    Glad to see you’re up and feeling better. I also hope that Obama will come through with his campaign promises .. and do have a wait and see attidude. The waiting will go on until the end of January, and I better see a damn good plan and lots of fast action.

    What I am pissed about are the bailouts for the financial crooks that put us here. I’m also pissed about our jobs going offshore that laid the ground work for the mortgage mess – and no one is talking about it. I hope that Obama’s plan for a massive work program/restructuring of the infrastructure/god knows what else will work, and I worry about the horrible debt.

    You have to hand it to Bush, he out did himself on this world economic failure. I knew he was taking down our country, but he managed to trash the whole world economy – now there’s a legacy!

    But, seriously Doug, “…makes Karl Rove look like a Sunday school teacher.” .. I think you may have pushed that one a little far – the devil himself couldn’t make Karl Rove look like a Sunday school teacher.

    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
    Mark Twain

  21. dtotire


    Once the program is up and running, the economy will recover. Unfortunately, it will take at least 9 to 12 months before we see any improvement. After Reagan took office, we had a recession. He cut taxes, but he also tripled defense spending from $100B to $300B. This was the fiscal stimulus that made the economy recover, not the tax cut. All the tax cut did was to increase the national debt. Unfortunately, many people still believe it was the tax cut that caused tax revenues to increase.

  22. Walter F. Wouk

    Workers in Chicago occupied the Republic Windows and Doors factory after getting 3-days notice that the plant is closing. They said they they won’t go home without assurances they’ll get severance and vacation pay they say they are owed.

    This sort of action hasn’t happened in decades. It’s a sign that people are pissed off and they’re tired of bullshit.

    Obama would be wise to read the writing on the wall.

  23. Jim C

    Excellent article and spot on . He ( Obama ) also said he wanted input from all perspectives , what he seems to have really meant is all ” conservative and DLC ” perspectives , I’m yet to see a liberal appointed to anything or as an advisor . While I disagree the Emanual is as bad as Rove , he is part of the republican wing of the democratic party . The main competition these DLC ” democrats ” seem to have with the republicans is who can pander for the most corporate money . It does appear that the conservative power players have been moving to infiltrate and take control of the democratic party for a while , possibly realizing that the religious right and one issue wingnuts ( and historically poisonous policies ) would eventually turn the general public off . So the DLC was born and has been quit well funded giving them a foothold . We may be seeing both political parties returning to where they were in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s , both serving the powerful and well connected , different sides of the same coin . This situation wasn’t corrected until when in the early 1900’s the american socialist party won I believe 27% of the vote in an election . Both partys panicked and the democratic party adopted many of their ( the american socialist parties ) planks ,40 hr work week , child labor laws , worker protections etc thus forming the modern democratic party and setting the table for FDR’s new deal . We seem to be backsliding , the rich and powerful are like water on a rock . They just keep using their power and privilage to chip away at middle class rights which they see as an abomination to the natural order of things . I have listened with concern as Obama backtracks and modifies his positions , always to the right , never the left . His comment about ” not being able to apply the measures of the 30’s to the present situation ” is also troubling . The root of the current mess is the dismantling of Glass Seagal along with other regulations that had worked just fine . A little old fashioned trust busting would be nice also . Too big to fail to me means too big period . I have also heard little about reregulating or real accountability for those who caused this mess . Why are we bailing financial firms out with no oversite , regulations ,nothing . Why are upper management allowed to make 400 to a thousand times what average americans make , I say after a certain point , tax it away , it worked for 70 years just fine . These guys eventually use their wealth to try to establish themselves as royalty and royals need serfs to both serve them and as cannon fodder , guess who fills that position ? Oh , Obama didn’t say he would ” agree ” to public funding , he said he would ” consider it ” , sometimes we hear what we want to hear .

  24. Flapsaddle

    Already we see the deer-in-the-headlights look from some of the Obama devout as the promises of the campaign are being isomorphically replaced by the business-as-usual attitude that prevails regardless of which half of the party wins the presidential election.

    Cant help being reminded of the line of H. L. Mencken about no one ever going broke from underestimating the intelligence of the voting public, or Lincoln’s saying about how many people can be fooled how much of the time.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  25. Jim Shelton

    Get real. President elect Obama is one of the most intelligent and pragmatic elected officials I have ever had the pleasure and reassurance to follow. My career as a student of politics began after returning from Vietnam and supporting George McGovern.

  26. Flapsaddle

    I started my political observations with the 1960 election – before going over the water to kill people and break things. Kennedy, too, was intelligent and pragmatic, and it was in part his hubris that put us on the road to Vietnam. Mr. Obama cannot – repeat, cannot! – walk on water.

    Having noted the tendency of intensely worshipful personality cults to develop around charming candidates, I’m reminded also of the line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream when Puck observes “What fools these mortals be!”

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  27. Jim C

    Flapsaddle , don’t forget Stevenson , when someone told him ” I’m certain you will have the support of every thinking american ” , he replied , ‘ that may be true , but I want to win ” .

  28. Charlie Couser

    Interesting comments all…

    The problems president elect Obama faces are not one dimensional. They are dynamic and complicated. Give the man credit for being honest and open and for heeding the advice of the experts which will compose his new cabinet.

    So what if he’s changed his mind on things! He’s intelligent enough to recognize no one man has all the answers…

    Charlie Couser

  29. spartacus

    NO ONE could make Karl Rove look like a Sunday School teacher.

    Why don’t you give the PRESIDENT ELECT a break? He hasn’t even assumed office yet! Again, how could he possibly pick a staff WITHOUT any government experience: the only Democratic administration he could draw on (other than Jimmy Carter’s, and I’m sure you’d have a few choice words about that, too) is Bill Clinton’s! He needs EXPERIENCED people to get things done! You know how Washington works, for heavens sakes! Inexperienced people would never be able to get the job done, just as they were unable to under Jimmy Carter.

    Obama always said that removing troops from Iraq within 16 months depended on the situation on the ground, although getting them out of harm’s way was priority number 1, and the goal was still to aim for 16 months. He also said we’d need to maintain a presense there to protect our people who were still there, and that we’d also have to have troops IN THE REGION should we need to go into Iraq if it became destabilized (and a danger to our people and our interests). This is a proposal that was also floated around by many different military people and others, including Senator Jim Webb.

    Don’t forget that the Iraqis signed that agreement with the Bush administration because they believed Obama means to remove our troops from the occupation; if McCain had won, they wouldn’t have signed.

    Most economists seem to be pleased with Obama’s plans for the economy; however, there isn’t anything he can do until he becomes president. In the meantime, we have businesses failing (like that window factory in Chicago, which owes its employees money and is shutting down because Bank of America won’t loan the money to its biggest creditor so they can pay their bill; hence the window factory can’t meet payroll because of unpaid bills due to no fault of their own); jobs being lost; more foreclosures; economic disasters everywhere you look. So far, Obama’s plans have been anything but Hoover’s (if so, there would have been no desire to help Detroit, or anyone else).

    Obama’s picked a cabinet with lots of ideas and experience. He’s one of the most intelligent people we’ve ever elected as President. Give him a chance to prove it.

  30. Flapsaddle

    The Kennedy boys were obsessed with the notion of appearing to be “tough” in part because of the general and mostly false perception that Democrats were “soft on communism”. It was also a part of the mythic hype and drivel about the Kennedys themselves. Kennedy did little to get us out; true, he slowed the deployment of advisers, but he did not get us out of our progressive attachment to the tar-baby.

    In fact, Eisenhower was the only president from Truman to Ford who actually said No! to our meddling and active, large-scale involvement in Vietnam.

    My personal dislike of Robert Kennedy stems from the fact that, after his having been instrumental in showing how “tough” he could be, and essentially helping get us on the road to further involvement, he would try to reverse himself and morph into the “peace” candidate.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle