Lately, at political rallies, Barack Obama has made a point to claim he’s kept 60 percent of his campaign promises. As it turns out, he’s kept, at best, about 39 percent of his pledges. It’s a good thing, too! Would you really have wanted him to keep 60 percent of his promises, as he boasts of having done? I still shudder every time I think of how successful he was at ramming through his agenda in the first two years of his presidency. The stimulus! Obamacare! Dodd-Frank!
Nevertheless, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that the president would stretch his accomplishments close to the breaking point. His biggest failures are highly visible in the still-sluggish economy and the high unemployment rate, so he has to remind former supporters and potential voters that he’s at least done some things they said they’d like. Besides, why speak soberly and sincerely when you can embellish to your own benefit? (Rather different than a certain admonishment to say “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” don’t you think?)
What’s scary, though, is why Obama has introduced this “60 percent” mantra in the first place; it’s a plea for a mandate to fulfill the remaining “40 percent.” And, if we didn’t like the first “60 percent,” we’re really not going to like the last “40.” (Those quote marks are annoying, I know, but the numbers aren’t accurate, so I have to denote that somehow.) The Washington Times reports:
Among the major items on his “to-do” list is immigration reform. Mr. Obama blames congressional Republicans for the lack of progress, but there’s evidence that Hispanics are holding it against the president, too. He hasn’t introduced a comprehensive plan, and a recent Gallup poll showed Mr. Obama with a 49 percent job-approval rating among Hispanics, down from 60 percent at the beginning of the year.
Among the other unfulfilled campaign promises are ending Bush-era tax cuts on wealthy Americans (Mr. Obama extended them for two years in a deal with the GOP and has sought to end them when the current agreement expires) and closing the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist detainees in Cuba, which he ordered done in January 2009.
Believe me, I think we need comprehensive immigration reform, too — but I really, really wouldn’t want that to happen under Obama. Can you say “amnesty”? I wouldn’t hold my breath for better border security, a revisal of the quota system or even the compromise of an appropriately lengthy and substantive path to citizenship. Remember, Obama’s administration has already instituted its own little mini-amnesty program, halting deportation proceedings for immigrants who meet certain criteria (from attending school to having family in the military to bearing primary responsibility for other family members’ care). Nor does it exactly inspire confidence that Obama’s own relatives are in the country illegally.
The point is, under Obama, these promises — immigration reform, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the closing of Guantanamo Bay — would be better left unkept. He’s had all the time we need to know how he’d handle them.