Change You Can Believe In . . . Or Can We?

Like the Deserts Miss . . .the sand.

When it comes to politics, the people often believe that anyone is better than the incumbent, especially when the incumbent had as dismal approval ratings like George Bush did at the end of his term (Bush had fallen from a respectable 60% to an embarrassing 29.3%).  With the state of the economy, the ongoing unpopular war, and the general lack of satisfaction with the Bush administration, Brittney Spears could have run for President on the Democratic Party ticket and won. Instead, history was made on the sweeping promise of change as the first African-American, Barack Obama, was elected to the nation’s highest office.

On the wings of promise Obama took office with an approval rating ready to get things done (63.3%). Roughly a year later the ‘boo’ birds are starting to come out as Obama’s approval has slipped below 50% (47.9% as of 2/17/10). A year later, the people are starting to see that maybe the media darling of the 2008 Election was just like a bad date that tells you what you want to hear to get to get in your pants only to leave you blue in the end. [Editors Note: But what exactly makes that a bad date?]

The man said he wanted us to hold him accountable. Well, okay, here goes-

The Economy

Anyone feel better off now than when Obama took office? Anyone besides a failed bank executive, that is?

Unemployment has hovered around 10% for the nation with fourteen states and the District of Columbia all over 10%. Luckily, one of the promises Obama has kept was to increase unemployment benefits which have been extended to some degree nationwide. To halt the endless number of foreclosures he pledged a $10 billion prevention program; this promise he has surpassed by dishing out $75 billion instead.

Of course there are some things that are not happening. The promised tax credit for businesses that add jobs is not going to happen. On many issues he has been forced to compromise; and there are many more things that are still a work in progress as well.  However the truth is that unemployment, and “under-employment” (where a person has a job but is woefully underpaid and overqualified) is rampant with many people in the know estimating as high as 20 percent (hence all those Craigslist, Ge-a-Freelancer and Elance people bidding 80 cents to build you a website.)

The Military

In all fairness, he inherited a complete mess with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan thanks to Bush. Creating a sensible plan of action has not been an easy task; whether or not it will work remains to be seen. However, this is probably one spot were Obama has kept true to what he promised during his campaign so far. . .well sort of-

  • Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan: this was seen as necessary in order to halt any efforts by the Taliban to regain a foothold in the region. This promise was kept rather quickly; Obama is even looking to send more troops over to further smooth things out.
  • Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy: for the last year this appeared to be a broken promise with no real progress made. In his January State of the Union speech, Obama stated his intentions to have the law repealed this year. Now talks have progressed from whether it will happen to how the new policy (or lack thereof) will be carried out.
  • Close Guantanamo Bay . . .yeah right.
  • “Draw Down” in Iraq – well, in a sense in terms of the on the street presence, but does anyone actually believe that we’re ever leaving Iraq when we still have over 50,000 troops in Germany and Japan?

Like with the economy there are a number of promises that are considered a work in progress. However, there are also many key issues that progress has stalled on. If some of these do not get carried out in due time, Obama will lose a lot of credibility.

Taxes

As the old saying goes, the only thing you can count on is death and taxes. It still remains to be seen if Obama can be counted on when it comes to the promises he made concerning taxes. The vast majority is considered a work in progress or stalled, however, the fact that 95% of Americans are getting or already got a tax break is only partially telling.  The problem is that most people are so hurt that the tax break isn;t enough, nor is it even noticed!  Take the “Tea Baggers” for example (the party that takes their name from ball sacking and the Boston Tea Party).  Here’s a whole group of racists people who are rallying daily for lower taxes, while more Americans received a tax break than any other time in history – that’s a problem.  When the stuff you get done goes unnoticed it only means that some of the stalled issues not getting resolved could create some serious backlash.

Judging the complete success or failure of Obama at this point would be a rush to judgement. Politics isn’t a simple game. There are no real single issues that completely polarize the nation like integration, a world war, or abortion. Now there are hundreds of single issues interest that all want their voices heard, promises made, and promises kept. A sad fact that they all need to realize soon is that it is virtually impossible for everyone’s respective needs to actually be met.

The website Politifact.com has compiled a list of over 500 promises that Obama made on his campaign. Of those, over half are a work in progress, close to 100 kept, another 84 stalled, 33 compromised, and 15 broken. It would seem that to have made that many promises and only have broken 15 is a pretty impressive feat.  However, the American people seem unimpressed.

So has Obama returned us to the level of prominence that we once knew or sunk us to an even lower worldly stature? No, but in all fairness to Obama, the man did say that things would get worse before they get better. That part has been covered; time for some improvement.

Do not rest easy Obama. We will be watching . . .And George, no we don;t miss you, but more than half of the American people would still love to see you and your constitution shredding Vice President indicted for war crimes.

Television Gold: The Top Five Maury Guests
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