On the economy, and specifically on the economic crisis, Obama came to office promising a sharp break from the past. Instead, he has added so much fuel to the fires that George W. Bush ignited—exploding already swollen deficits, using TARP monies (which were statutorily provided for banks) not just for auto companies but minor auto parts manufacturers, and giving the federal government more power to seize private companies than even Henry Paulson dreamed of wielding. Such has been the extent of Obama’s me-tooism that he’s taken to defending his record by pointing out that, hey, Bush started it!
The latter was actually a rare moment of transparency; Obama’s typical M.O. is to proclaim a new era of responsibility while ushering in a new era of irresponsible debt, promise to close the revolving door of lobbyists and government while keeping it open, and vow to post all bills online for five days without doing anything of the sort. He says the bailout is “not about helping banks—it’s about helping people,” then gives more of the people’s money to banks. He says he doesn’t want to run General Motors, then fires its CEO, guarantees its warranties, and wags his finger about the company’s surplus of brands. He says he’s taking a battle-axe to the budget, then offers to shave $100 million off a $3.4 trillion tab. At his gee-whiz, interactive, online town hall meeting, he laughed off the most popular question asked by web viewers—should marijuana be legalized—with a lame joke before embracing the status quo like Jimmy Carter hugging a Third World dictator.
On traditional domestic programs, too, Obama came to office with vague yet high-minded promises to rise above, for example, “the same tired debates over education that have crippled our progress and left schools and parents to fend for themselves.” When it came to improving rotten schools, Candidate Obama vowed we would no longer be paralyzed by “Democrat versus Republican; vouchers versus the status quo; more money versus more reform.”
Since then, Democrats (versus Republicans) have killed Washington, D.C.’s proven-effective voucher program (versus the status quo), and showered more federal money on schools and teachers (versus more reform). All while having the gall to maintain, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, that they aim to “close the achievement gap by pursuing what works best for kids, regardless of ideology.”
For those Americans who voted for Obama, a question: Is this the change you had in mind?
For some pure humor, here is Obama’s First 100 Days on Facebook.