As Jim Geraghty has pointed out on numerous occasions, all Barack Obama promises comes with expiration dates. We in the gay community have seen how quick he is to break (though the obsequious Joe Solmonese might say “slow to fulfill”) his campaign promise to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT), the ban on gays serving openly in the military and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Now, one of his closest advisers won’t rule out a middle class tax hike. Obama’s even willing to consider taxing employer-based health care plans, something which he excoriated his Republican opponent for supporting in last fall’s presidntial campaign and promised himself not to do (unless, of course, the person taxed earned over $250,o00 a year).
Even the New York Times notices that he has broken his promise of transparency, reneging on his pledge to post bills online for five days before signing them. But, in typical Times fashion, the headline reads that the Democrat has only changed “the terms of a campaign pledge“. If he were a Republican, he would have broken faith with the American people.
In order to reach out to independent voters (and even some Republicans), candidate Obama knew he had to play to the center to keep scrutiny off his past left-wing activities and rhetoric and his (very,) very liberal voting record. Moreover, aware that voters (especially libertarian and conservative Republicans) were upset with the GOP for not holding the line on domestic spending, he sensed an opening and cast himself as a fiscal disciplinarian. And a lot of people bought it.
Once elected, however, he faced a dilemma, keep faith with his left-wing base which (one of my past posts notwithstanding) seems to be where he finds his political heart or staying true to the promises he made in the general election. Given the opportunity that crises afford, he thought he could get away with veering to the left on domestic issues, thinking that under cover of a perceived crisis, he could get away with it.
The mainstream media being what it is, he may well succeed. Americans may be turning away from his big-spending initiatives, but they have not yet lost faith in Barack Obma as a leader. But, should the economy continue to falter, people will not not only fault him for his failed economic policies, but also his betrayal of the trust he had gained in the course of the presidential campaign, during the better part of the transition and in the first few months of his Administration.