It’s becoming increasingly clear that many Americans that voted for Barack Obama one year ago, completely misunderstood the change he was pushing. Lofty rhetoric like "no more blue state and red state, conservative state and liberal state but only the United States," resonated with the majority of Americans. Post partisan and post racial were attractive magnets to draw in even the suspicious voter, who were somewhat troubled by his liberal leanings. He talked about the process being too divisive with not enough transparency. Eloquent enumerations that suggested an America working together to tackle the tough issues of the day. Putting behind forever the racial divide with the historic election of the first African American president. Essentially, most attracted to his presidency assumed the change was about process and tone, as well as historic.
His policy rhetoric was actually in many ways to the right of John McCain. He promised no tax increases for 95% of Americans, and many would receive tax cuts. He said he’d be a fiscal hawk, scouring the budgets line by line to remove waste and inefficiencies. No more earmarks. He excoriated McCain for suggesting taxing employer health benefits. Lobbyist would be persona non grata at his White House. He would finish the job Bush didn’t when he took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan. And of course he said his administration would be the most transparent in history.
In reality what we’ve gotten from him and the democrats in congress is as close to a 180 degree shift from both policy rhetoric as well as his tone and process. He is anything but post partisan. We saw during the stimulus debate, a president that insisted the legislation should and would be written by, in his words those that won the election. His tone on almost every debate has been a denunciation of republicans , and an incessant Bush blaming. The Democrats have defeated every republican amendment to every bill passed this year in congress. Republicans have been shut out of the health care debate and process completely, and then referred to as the party of NO. Both the White House and democrats have tried to marginalize the town hall/tea party attendees, rather than addressing their concerns.
He is anything but post racial. His reaction to the Gates affair this summer was telling. He immediately fell into a Rev. Wright moment when asked about the arrest of Professor Gates at a health care press conference, which obviously had to be stepped back from by hosting the now famous beer summit. He allowed many to play the race card when his policy initiatives were under attack, while he positioned himself above it.
His deeds have not matched his policy rhetoric either. A bloated stimulus bill that did little to stimulate, and served rather as a payback to contributors was rammed through without being read and posted as promised. The omnibus bill contained 9000 earmarks that he didn’t hesitate to sign. He’s given exclusive wavers for lobbyists to work in his administration. He’s already raised taxes on alcohol and tobacco which is the most regressive of all, and the cap and trade and health care bills rattling around congress both include huge tax increases for all Americans. His administration is announcing trillion dollar deficits for the next ten years, and his fiscal year 2010 budget clocks in at almost 3.6 trillion dollars. His promise to finish the job in Afghanistan is now being reexamined, and transparency is the last word anyone would use to describe this administration and congress.
What the America people were promised they’d get, they haven’t. What most didn’t expect they’d get, they’ve gotten. What the foreseeable future holds is more of the same, except now that Virginia and New Jersey have spoken, the foot may have to be eased off the accelerator enough to at least slow the death march to socialism that was always the intent of Barack Obama. Redistribution of wealth, and redistribution of health is now crawling rather than sprinting to the finish line, as blue dogs all across the country study the exit polling from Tuesday’s smack down of Washington’s arrogant excesses. Many sounded the warning bell before November 2008. It just took a year for many to hear.