Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Worst President? IV

No. 6.  Worst reversal of policy for political expedience than even other politicians.

Yes, I know that politicians are human; that humans frequently change their mind; that we want our presidents to have open minds.

I also know that politicians seem to change their mind in the most cynical ways, for their own good or that of their party.  Presidents are no different than any other politicians, but it is more visible when they do it.

As just a few examples, Jefferson ran as a states rights, small federal government, strict constitutional interpretation candidate. Not so.  Roosevelt ran as an anti-spending, anti-big program president in the face of the depression and ended up doing the opposite. Reagan raised taxes, whatever his program (though overall reduced them). So did George W. Bush. You could go on and on.

But, Obama seems to be destined to be the worst offender. Time and time again he does exactly the opposite of what he said presidents should not do or his administration will or will not do. It's hard not to call some of them just outright lies. And, it's not that I disagree with everything he did once he flopped. The point is, he so frequently says he won't and then does or he will and then doesn't.

  • In his 2008 presidential campaign he went back on his pledge to take public funding, which would have limited his spending. When his -fund-raising advantage became obvious he changed his mind and of course denied what he had promised.
  • He said he would no sooner throw his long time mentor (and nut) Jeremiah Wright under the bus than his grandmother and then through him under the bus. It wasn't that Wright got any crazier. It just became more politically difficult.
  • He said lobbyists would not work in the White House. There are long lists available on the web of those who do.
  • He said that raising the debt limit was "irresponsible," a "failure,"" and "unpatriotic." And then he continued to raise the level of deficit.
  • He said he would not use federal law to circumvent state law on marijuana. Yet, his administration had more raids on dispensaries in states with medical marijuana laws in one term than his predecessor did in two terms.
  • He said he would close Guantanamo Bay and he didn't.
  • He set a red line for Syria for the use of chemical weapons and then went back on it. Amazingly, he even denied having said it.
  • He said we would get out of Afghanistan and increased the troops. Far more soldiers died in Afghanistan under Obama than under Bush.
  • He vehemently argued against the Patriot Act in the Senate and then extended it.
  • He said that we should not have military tribunals with respect to terror suspects. And then. . . .
  • Before he was president he wrote that we should end renditions and then . . . .
  • Before he was president he said that the executive did not have the constitutional power to attack another country short of self defense without the blessing of congress. Libya anyone?
  • Soon after he became president, he said we would retain the plans for a third site missile defense in Eastern Europe against the threat of Iranian missiles. He reversed. Why? Few disagree it was mostly because our great friend Russia didn't like it.
  • He said that Mubarak (Egypt) was an ally and a force for stability and then demanded he go. We got Morsi (and I'm for one grateful the military essentially took over).
  • He said he would put health care negotiations on C-Span. Well, there was that one meeting where he told John McCain that "the election is over." Okay, he did apologize later, but, there were no negotiations on C-Span. In fact, the way Obamacare was passed set new records in government secrecy and opaqueness.
  • He  "promised" and "guaranteed" that people could keep their health insurance after his plan was passed. Later, the government had to admit it wasn't true.
  • He promised that no family making less than $250,000 would see any tax increase. This so incensed me during his initial campaign as a ridiculously seethroughable lie (why could I not convince anyone of this?) and it was, of course, just that. Even Obamacare raises taxes.  He also phrased it sometimes to make it appear that it was per person. He also made it sound like capital gains taxes depended on your total income. 
  • He said promised he would make it quicker and easier to pay our taxes. Nothing has happened that would remotely make that a possibility.
  • He said that he would have the most transparent administration in history. James Risen (NY Times - hardly among his chief critics) said - "He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” ABC (also, hardly your normal Obama critic) Ann Compton said it is day to day the most opaque of the 7 administrations she has covered. It's not even close.
  • He said he would wait 5 days before signing non-emergency bills so that the public could read them online. One of his first promises. Nope.
  • He said that he would cut the deficit in half by end of his first term, but has only ever sought to increase it. 
I'm going to stop here because I'm trying to write shorter posts. There are others. I didn't even include the Obamacare deficit because some argue the point (I don't know how, but they do) and it is very hard to argue something that has not happened yet.  You get the point.

By the way, was Romney the most forthright guy? No.  But, I really do think that if our president has not set the gold standard, he is among the worst, and that is bad enough.


  1. Given how rarely over the years this has happened, I must call it out: completely, 100% agree with you. I cannot stomach political hypocrisy and he's the ultimate hypocrit.

  2. I welcome your agreement. What a relief. Phew! Now, if only you would come around to my views on everything else, the universe would be well ordered.

    P.S. BEAR IS BACK on his own blog at (yes, now you know his secret identity).


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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .