Empty promises or true commitments?
Our savior has come today. No more trouble, no more strife.
At least that’s what Barack Obama would have the American people believe, given the multitude of elaborate promises he made during his campaign.
To say the man has promised the moon would be an understatement. The current tally of campaign promises, according to politifact.com, is a whopping 510. Presidents Bush and Clinton made only 177 and 204 campaign promises, respectively.
This plethora of promises from the incoming president includes the ultra-specific — weatherizing 1 million low-income homes per year — and the totally unrealistic securing all the world’s loose nuclear materials within four years.
Obama’s presidency of change, which looks more like an ugly resurrection of the Clinton administration, will have a lot to overcome in the coming months if his promises are to be kept.
Obama’s home state of Illinois is no stranger to the kind of good ol’ boy politics that makes All the King’s Men look like an episode of Barney. Does the name Blagojevich sound familiar?
Perhaps what is more frightening is Obama’s pick for secretary of state, his one-time foe Hillary Clinton. Not long ago, her husband Bill was pressured to release a list of donors to his non-profit foundation — a list that included the governments of Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Forgive me for thinking that a woman like Hillary, who sits comfortably in the back pocket of these Middle Eastern power-players, presents a slight conflict of interest as the chief executive of the State Department.
Obama champions the idea of aggressive, effective diplomacy in his “Blueprint for Change,” yet he chose Clinton as his leading lady against the “Iranian threat.” This seems less than promising when Iranian student demonstrators are already burning pictures of President Obama.
Another blow to Obamaphiles is Timothy Geithner, Obama’s pick for treasury secretary. Certainly Geithner is not lacking in qualifications, but anyone who “forgets” to pay $34,000 in taxes should not be the one in control of our nation’s finances.
This is the groundwork for comprehensive tax reform and stimulating our nation’s economy? Shame on you, Mr. Obama.
Even Obama doubts his own ability to keep his word once he takes office.
“I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace that we had hoped,” Obama said in a Jan. 11 interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Among the stalled promises is the closure of the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, which will not likely close within the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency.
But even if Obama manages to keep all of his campaign promises, an influx in congressional and executive spending would likely push the already elevated national debt to unimaginable levels.
CBS estimates that Obama could easily spend in excess of $280 billion in his first year alone.
The truth is, Obama is a brilliant politician. Every word in his speeches is chosen to placate the masses. Every promise in his campaign was constructed to entice the voters.
But today is only the beginning, when the rubber hits the road for President Obama. He still has a chance to make good on his promises.
So please, Mr. Obama, prove me wrong. America will undoubtedly be ten times better even if you can achieve only half of what you promised.
But until then, I will view you with the same disdain and mistrust as I do any other career politician and compulsive panderer bred into the American political system.
Brendan Collett is a sophomore majoring in public relations and psychology.