The Corner

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Obama’s Broken Health-Care Promise


The tape circulating in the blogosphere of Obama in 2008 repeatedly and passionately promising to broadcast the upcoming health-care debate and vote on C-Span, combined with C-Span’s polite request to follow through on that promise, combined with the apparent unwillingness of the Obama administration to honor its pledge, combined with Speaker Pelosi’s cynical remark that the vow was just another Obamaism, is all quite damning. I don’t think I can recall in recent political history a serial public vow that was so flagrantly and cynically renounced.

Things like this, in and of themselves, are not fatal, but they bring the president’s approval ratings down another notch or two; and when one adds them all up, these deceits account for Obama’s 20-point drop in the polls, since they are confirming a picture of political expediency, duplicity, and cynicism quite intolerable for a messianic figure who hinged his presidency on a new ethics.

It didn’t help that, almost simultaneously, in response to the Christmas Day attack on an airliner, Obama blamed Bush for Guantanamo in the now Orwellian fashion of “Bush made me keep Guantanamo open, and it is a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.” (If it really is, and serves no purpose other than to empower the enemy, why not close it immediately? Also: What was the recruiting tool on Sept. 10, 2001? And since when are the endless purported grievances of al-Qaeda or any other fascistic enemy to be believed?)