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Friday, September 07, 2012

Nation of Four-Year-Olds
Posted by Jill | 8:45 PM
After being up late every night this week working and watching the speechifying at the DC, I woke up this morning, turned on the local TV news, and was greeted by the image of Willard Rmoney saying "He's going to have to explain to the American people why he didn't keep his promises."

"He didn't keep his promises" is emerging as the major theme of this year's GOP campaign. Give the Rmoney camp credit for this much: they know with whom they're dealing.

On the radio last night, Brian Lehrer was talking to self-declared "undecided" voters, asking them why they were undecided. I'm skeptical that any of these people were actually undecided, because they all seemed pretty much in the tank for Rmoney already (as did Lehrer, which was a bit of a surprise), but more than a few of them cited this "He didn't keep his promises" meme as a reason why they might have been leaning towards Willard -- a man who's out on the campaign trail, making promises.

To be sure, Rmoney's promises are vague, and perhaps when he manages to steal a close election via vote suppression and questionable voting machines, it will provide him cover. Perhaps the fact that the groundwork has been laid for an improving economy by what little the current president has been able to get past the conclave of morons that is the United States House of Representatives will provide him cover. But what's troublesome is that the idea of a politician not keeping his promises is a surprise to anyone, and why THIS particilar president is being blasted for not being able to do everything he spoke about.

I managed to find this chart at the Washington Post web site that has a scorecard of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign promises and which ones "were not kept." Let's look at a few of these "broken promises" and their status, shall we?

Enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to provide a $1,000 emergency energy rebate to American families.

The promise that candidate Obama made to provide a $1,000 emergency energy rebate for families was a powerful one when he made it, with gas going for more than $4 a gallon and heating oil making it costly to keep homes warm.
But the economy shifted quickly, and by the time he took office, energy prices had dropped, in some cases by more than half. The president never moved forward to fulfill the promise, providing an example of how much the context of a promise matters.

Ensure 10 percent of U.S. electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025. Establish a low national carbon-fuel standard.

None of the these goals has been achieved, though the House-passed climate bill includes a provision that would help attain Obama’s renewable electricity goal.
That bill calls for the nation’s utilities to use renewable sources for 20 percent of their electricity supply by 2020, though 5 percent of the goal could be met through efficiency. A bill passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has a much more modest renewable electricity goal of 12 percent by 2020. The House-passed bill has a 6 percent target for 2012, compared with the Senate committee’s goal of 3 percent.

Ensure freedom to unionize and fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Now this is a legitimate blunder by the Obama Administration, though I hardly think that the right to unionize is a promise that Willard Rmoney cares much about himself. In this case, Rahm Emanuel recommended holding off on pushing EFCA until after health care reform had been done and by then the 2010 elections had taken place.

So what promises were kept?

1. Closing the lobbyist/government position revolving door.

2. In the early years, convened regular foreign-policy sessions with a bipartisan group from Congress.

3. Moved to limit earmarks (with mixed results).

4. Expanded hate crimes statutes.

5. Got the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan passed.

6. Established the Credit Card Bill of Rights.

7. Passed a stimulus package that if anything wasn't large enough but was very probably responsible for what economic improvement we have seen.

8. Health care reform.

9. Ending the active war in Iraq.

Now I'm not an O-bot. The health care reform we got is not what I would have wanted. The Obama Administration's record on torture and rendition is appalling. If anything, he hasn't looked out enough for the interests of the middle class. But I'm quite certain that when Willard Rmoney bashes Obama for "not keeping his promises", he's not talking about card check or closing Guantanamo; he's talking about Making All The Bad Stuff Go Away so that no one is poor, no one is unemployed, and Willard doesn't have to pay a penny more in taxes.

I've been largely AWOL during these conventions, largely due to workload. But I've been reading what my noble compatriot jurassicpork has written here, and while I don't 100% agree with him that there is absolutely no difference, I do agree with him that it's important not to get swept up in stagecraft, or if you do, to recognize that it's stagecraft and not take it too seriously. Ultimately it comes down to whether we're going to be driven off a cliff slowly or at full speed; whether the American Christian Theocracy can be delayed long enough for me to do my fourscore and ten (if earlier members of my family are any indication, though job stress, lack of exercise and general life in the 21st century will probably mean that won't happen) and check out; or if people like me will end up in reprogramming camp learning how to love Jesus instead of Big Brother. But if you still believe in the process at all, you have to wonder what kind of people we're living alongside, these so-called adult voters who are still looking for daddy to make it go away NOW.


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Blogger rjs said...
matt stoller, former senior policy advisor to alan grayson, on 2008's broken promises: