By Robert Quast
“And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.”
I am sure everyone remembers these words spoken by then President-Elect Barack Obama. His campaign promised “hope” and “change” and a future of bipartisanship politics which our country has never seen before. To this day we still do not know exactly what Obama’s terms “hope” and “change” mean, but he claimed transparency and to be the antithesis of Bush’s “third term” (which is how he described John McCain). A White House that would step across party lines and do what is best for the American people, not the politicians. One would think him a savior for America and the much anticipated cure to the partisan politics that he claimed to plague the country in the previous administration. How could we have been more wrong about Barack Obama? A little more than a year after his historic campaign, our country has the highest unemployment rate in decades, a president with the lowest approval rating in United States history after one year in office, two major bills passed without one Republican vote, along with a healthcare bill so muddled no one is even sure what it means. Obama has not only showed himself to be a disappointment for the people whose vote he earned, but one of the least transparent and most hypocritical presidents in our nation’s history. After slamming the Bush Administration time after time for secrecy and partisanship, he is engaged in the same thing at the expense of the American people.
Obama pledged not to let lobbyists or corporations be involved in his formation of policy for the American people, but that he would cross party lines and do what is best for the American people. For example let’s take the health care bill that was just passed in the senate. After months of behind-door meetings and deliberations, along with a bought vote (the Cornhusker Kickback of Ben Nelson), Obama claimed he “succeeded” in passing a healthcare bill. While I will not focus on the atrocities in the bill and outright lies which will most likely bring it into law, I will describe some of the partisanship and secrecy that was involved. The White House continually denied releasing the public the logs for the White House visits during the health care debate and the watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), eventually sued the White House for not releasing them (they are public record). After CREW released a news release accusing the White House of a lack of transparency, the White House sent the group a letter with a list of names in recognition of the “compelling public interest in the health care debate and the president’s goal of increasing transparency in government”. What the White House did not include in the letter were the times and purposes of the meetings and the names of the officials who invited the guests. Turns out there were 14 different executives who were involved in the drug, hospital, and medical industries. It is obvious that Obama was using every card in his deck to assure passage of this bill, a bill in which a majority of the public did not want to be passed.
Another atrocious example of Obama’s hypocrisy lies in the decisions of Congress to raise the debt ceiling by 2 trillion, bringing the total to a whopping 14 trillion. The most interesting part of this is if you look at these words spoken by Obama during his campaign about the debt ceiling: “Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren,…America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” Hearing this, you would think he has the right idea. These words were spoken 2 trillion dollars ago and when someone else was president. While Bush was ridiculed as “the most fiscally irresponsible president in history,” Obama and the Democrats have approved over 2 trillion dollars of deficit spending in 2009, an amount far greater than that of any year under the Bush administration, with still more to come in 2010.
How could Obama have been more deceitful? Does he think that the American public simply does not care or see these never before seen and astronomical expansions of government? Fortunately for the American people, senate midterm elections are coming up later this year, and it seems the public is fed up with Obama and his hypocrisy. He might lose his party the majority in the House and Senate. Barack Obama’s historic campaign might have gotten him into the White House, but one year in his presidency, all he has to show for it is a still faltering economy, a national debt of over 2 trillion, and falling approval ratings. We will have to wait and see if the American people are fed up enough with the “hope” and “change” he and the Democrats have brought to the country in the 2010 elections. Or should we just continue to “hope” that our national deficit will disappear?