Obama’s Broken Promises

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, NBC’s Chuck Todd, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) discussed the question of whether the Obama administration is making good on its campaign promises.

Unsurprisingly, Sen. Sheldon answered in the affirmative, while Gregory and Todd were slightly more critical. “Has ‘yes we can,’ become ‘maybe’?” Gregory wondered aloud. Todd and host Joe Scarborough added that you get the impression that the White House has given a certain lead away in the health care debate.

Although Obama has yet to deliver on his promise to reform America’s health care system, and though I certainly agree that the health care debate is both interesting and important, ”Morning Joe” could also have focused on other, perhaps  more important, subjects.

For instance, Britain’s Telegraph recently compiled a handy list of President Obama’s top ten unfulfilled pledges. Among them are:

[1.] Mr. Obama said he would “not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.” But the “sunlight before signing” promise has already fallen by the wayside with Mr. Obama signing three major bills without public scrutiny.

[2.] Mr. Obama said he would end income tax for the elderly making less than $50,000 per year, thereby eliminating taxes for seven million of them. This has not been part of his economic stimulus bill, his first budget outline, or any legislation proposed by the White House.

[3.] Mr. Obama said that in 2009 and 2010 “existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired.” Democrats on Capitol Hill opposed this and Mr. Obama has quietly abandoned the proposal, omitting it from his list of requirements for draft legislation.

Not only did Obama break promise after promise he made to Americans; he did the same with promises he made to Africans. When campaigning for the presidency, Obama said he would “boost money for AIDS funds, education program[s] and poverty-reduction.” But ten months after he took office, Africans are still waiting for the money and assistance the president pledged — while treatable diseases and starvation are killing large numbers of children on the continent.

Lastly, if Scarborough et al. wanted to focus on health care solely, they should have mentioned the fact that Obama promised to “negotiate health care reform in televised sessions broadcast on C-SPAN, the public service network.” Instead, his approach has been no different from that of his predecessors, holding talks behind closed doors at the White House and with Congress.