Economics

Obama's Double-Talk

While the president talks sobriety, his policies take America on an economic bender.

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High-flying presidencies tend to reveal their base character in trivial moments. In March 2002, when the nation was still massively behind George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks, he gave the first obvious signal that his administration would play cheap politics even in a time of grave global uncertainty by slapping a temporary new tariff on imported steel. If the world's fragile economy and the putatively bedrock principles of free trade could be sold out for a couple of percentage points in contested Rust Belt states, we shouldn't have been surprised to learn that the very "war on terror" would be subject to political manipulation, or that Bush's skin-deep economic philosophy could not be counted on in a crisis. The costs of what this move revealed became clear soon enough, and eventually Americans withdrew their benefit of the doubt.

Barack Obama's revelatory moment may have come in his first week as president. On his first day of work, he signed an executive order prohibiting lobbyists from holding highranking administration jobs, thereby fulfilling a campaign promise to "close the revolving door" between K Street and government via "the most sweeping ethics reform in history." Two days later, the president granted a "waiver" from the new rules to install Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn as the No. 2 man in the Pentagon.

As offenses go, the move was trivial. But as a signal of a governing pathology, it established a pattern that Obama has repeated serially since being sworn into office: reiterate a high-sounding promise from the campaign, undermine said promise with a concrete act of governance to the contrary, then claim with a straight face that the campaign promise has been and will continue to be fulfilled.

So candidate Obama promised to usher in the "most transparent administration in history," in part by making sure the American people were allowed to read each proposed non-emergency law for at least five days before the president signs it. Yet in his first month, President Obama signed three laws from the liberal wish list—the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Lily Ledbetter Fair Play Act, and the $787 billion "stimulus" package—in less than five days. Explained the White House: "We will be implementing this policy in full soon.…Currently we are working through implementation procedures."

The SCHIP law, which was paid for in part by a cigarette tax hike of 61 cents a pack, also put the lie to a pledge Obama repeated after its passage in his first address before a joint session of Congress. "Let me be perfectly clear," he said on February 24, with less than perfect clarity. "If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime."

But not only is the cigarette tax a "tax" (and worth six dimes at that), it's among the most regressive kind possible, since poorer people are more likely to smoke and spend a larger share of their incomes on cigarettes than richer smokers do. And it's hardly the only tax Obama will levy on those not yet in the quarter-million club. In that same speech, and also in the budget proposal he handed to Congress shortly thereafter, the president called for a cap-and-trade system for companies that emit carbon. That would surely translate into a price increase on every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States, a change that would have more impact on the household budgets of working-class heroes than those of modern-day plutocrats.

Spending? Candidate Obama promised "a net spending cut" in which "every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches." President Obama has proposed the largest net spending increase since World War II, even while holding summits on "fiscal responsibility" and vowing to live by the same "pay as you go" principles he's already blown to smithereens.

Deficits? A president whose first budget will expand the deficit into uncharted territory (see Veronique de Rugy's "When Do Deficits Matter?," page 21) nonetheless promises to cut his shortfall in half within four years. This, he claimed in his speech to Congress, will be achieved partly through $2 trillion in "savings" that will come by "eliminat[ing] wasteful and ineffective programs." Analysts noted within hours that around half of Obama's "savings" actually come from letting Bush's tax cuts expire after 2010. It takes a certain kind of mind-set to characterize Americans' taking home their own money as a "wasteful and ineffective program," let alone tax increases as "savings."

Once you identify the president's tic of celebrating the very campaign promises that he breaks, you'll see it everywhere. So there he is, "proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks," just days after passing a recovery plan stuffed with what the investigative website Pro Publica described as "items that could arguably be called earmarks" (and in the same week that Congress handed him a new budget swollen with brand new chunks of pork). The stimulus package will "save or create 3.5 million jobs," an elastic, impossible-to-prove projection that neatly gives him credit for either boom or bust. (For more on Obama's stimulus, please see "Will We Be Stimulated?," page 32. For more on the state government jobs that will be "saved" by using federal money to cover for bad fiscal management, see "Failed States," page 24.)

The two faces of Obama reveal more than just a politician hardwired to work both sides of a room. The new president's political goals and governing goals are in tension. The post-Bush executive needs to solve a mammoth financial and economic crisis affecting the entire country, but the pre-Clintonomics Democrat needs to blame it on fat cats and Republicans.

So in early January, the president-elect lamented that "banks made loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn't afford." In February his administration pushed banks to lend still more to risky homebuyers while bailing out underwater borrowers. Technocrat Obama wants to jumpstart the "flow of credit," which he has described as "the lifeblood of our economy," but politician Obama wants to somehow surgically remove the "speculators" from the process. "I will not spend a single penny," he vowed to Congress, unconvincingly, "for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it takes to help the small business that can't pay its workers or the family that has saved and still can't get a mortgage." The following week his administration authorized another $30 billion in the $163-billion-and-counting bailout of the Wall Street insurance giant AIG.

There are both risks and rewards when a politician pronounces gray skies (particularly of his own making) to be blue. For now, Obama is mostly reaping the rewards. A public weary of the president's tongue-tied predecessor is giving the eloquent new fellow the benefit of the doubt, as evidenced by an MSNBC poll in early March showing his approval rating at an all-time high of 68 percent. But that same poll pointed to Obama's weakness: A substantially smaller number, 54 percent, thought the president's policies were on the right track. The country seems to like the guy who talks about fiscal responsibility, less so the one who practices the opposite.

The illusion will eventually give way, and voters will see more of who Obama is than who they wish him to be. In the meantime the president has proposed a budget blueprint that would significantly alter the way Americans spend money on energy, mortgages, charities, and investments, to name just a few areas. Will they recognize the tic in time?

Matt Welch is editor in chief of reason.

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  1. And everybody was saying Bush had a chemical abuse problem. HA!

  2. I could not agree more.

    “When deeds speak, words are nothing.”

    So either “we” are being blinded by the words or “we” are getting exactly what “we” think we want. Either way, I think we are being fooled.

    I’m afraid it is going to be too late.

  3. Welch,
    It takes a certain kind of mind-set to characterize Americans’ taking home their own money as a “wasteful and ineffective program,” let alone tax increases as “savings.”

    (From reviewing Il Duce’s supposed budget cuts for the next 4 years.)

    That “certain kind of mind-set” is called thievery, Matt. Thievery. The Thief thinks everybody’s else earnings are his. Il Duce is no better than any other thief that has governed this land, except he’s more extravagant than any other before him.

  4. So I lied. What do you want to do about it?

    http://www.obamaimpeachment.org/

  5. It takes a certain kind of mind-set

    The mind-set the views the Total State as the highest priority, the grounding of all human activity; all productivity and earnings are, ultimately, derived from the State and can legitimately be claimed by it.

    Thus, anything not taxed is viewed as leakage from the almighty public sector; letting people keep what they earn is “wasteful and inefficient” use of what is, at the end of the day, the resources of the Total State, and stopping this leakage via higher taxes is “savings”.

  6. The mind-set is fascism. Pure and simple.

  7. I think this is largely a reflection of Obama’s character and past history. There were several instances in the campaign where he was caught in highly embarassing situations that would have felled a mortal politician, and because of skillful rhetoric he talked his way out of it. (Rezko helping him buy a house, Reverend Wright, Making fun of John McCain’s war injuries…you know the rest).

    I think he really believes that he can talk through substantial political problems, and people won’t call him on it. Some of it is Obama’s ability, but I think you also have to put some of the blame on the press that has let him get away with saying enormous whoppers.

  8. The mind-set is fascism. Pure and simple.

    You mean Il Duce’s?? Noooooooo.

  9. It’s gonna be downhill until we quit lying to ourselves and each other.

    See for example the next post in this blog, about admitting we smoke weed. Or that we’re broke. Or that pieces of paper aren’t money. Or…. take your pick.

  10. When was the last time our president wasn’t a pathological liar? Not completely truthful (“a-HA! we finally caught him in a lie!”), because that president has never existed, but as in “when he says the sky is blue, you don’t immediately rush to the window to make sure it isn’t green?”

    First Bush?
    Carter?
    Cleveland?
    Ever?

  11. Matt,
    The person you describe is best referred to as: Fauxbama. Please put this proper noun to use in the future.

  12. Hussein has never been about transparency.

    He has never released his Birth Certificate but just had posted on the internet a forged copy of a Certificate of Live Birth that Hawaii issued at the time to anyone whose parents had lived in Hawaii the previous year. Even that has been proven to be a forgery.

    Obama has never unsealed his college records from Occidental, where there is evidence that he was a foreign exchange student there, Columbia or Harvard.

    In the early 60s Hussein lived in Indonesia where he became an Indonesia citizen in order to attend school. (Photostat of school records listing him as an Indonesian citizen can be found on the Net). At that time Indonesia did not allow dual citizenships.

    He traveled to Pakistan in 1981 when U.S. citizens were prohibited by the U.S. State Department from traveling there. Hussein has never shown his U.S. passport of him traveling to Pakistan.

    So we know in 1981 that Hussein was not an American citizen and probably an Indonesian citizen. Hussein has never released for public observation U.S. naturalization papers.

    So disregarding the fact that Hussein may have been born in Kenya, keep in mind that there is not one single hospital in Hawaii that has ever come forward and said that Obama was born in that hsopital, he has never proven that he is not now an illegal alien residing in America just like his Aunt.

    Even before Jan 09 their was ample evidence to tell those who cared to look for it that Hussein has never been about transparency and for good reason.

  13. He is delivering exactly what I expected he would, and exactly what the “liberals” (socialists, progressives, social democrats, whatever) wanted him to. Anyone claiming to be a libertarian that voted for him is a cunt. His actions are inexcusable.

  14. The mind-set the views the Total State as the highest priority, the grounding of all human activity; all productivity and earnings are, ultimately, derived from the State and can legitimately be claimed by it.

    To play devil’s advocate for a moment. When the liberals on the forum come here and see that they are going to think that is a ridiculous charge because they don’t see their own belief system reflected in those words, and they also feel Obama is pretty much copacetic with their own beliefs.

    They do however believe that what ever transactions between private parties occur are made much better by the immediatary of the public sector in those transaction. A transaction surplus instead of a cost.

    It is a highly dubious claim, to say the least, but does reflect how they see themselves. They are not going to respond to rhetoric that compares them to totalitarians, but if the case is made, as Reason makes on a daily basis, that their belief system is fallacious their is still the possibility the least stuborn will come around.

    I also believe they should not assume the liberal political class shares their ethos given that on an operational level the politicians actions still translate into the old Roman adage, ‘bread and circuses’ even if they are getting Cirque du Soleil with other people’s money instead merely a few jugglers and clowns under a hole riddled tarp.

  15. alan,

    Very few, if any, commenters here have demonstrated an adequate understanding of liberalism. And they make themselves look ridiculous and fanatical by comparing any and every liberal policy idea to the most authoritarian philosophies and regimes they can think of.

    On the subject of the article, we are not the ones who expect Obama to be perfect. It’s all the guys who like to sweep Bush’s monumental lies under the rug who require Obama to behave as only a messiah could. Everything listed here is infinitesimally petty compared to what Bush lied about and perpetuated.

  16. Tony,
    So since his lies are smaller, they’re okay? Shouldn’t we expect better from our leaders? How many lies is okay? One big one? Ten small ones?

    And we’re not requiring Obama to be perfect. We’re requiring him to be truthful. To not say one thing and then do another. It’s insulting. And it just furthers the stereotype of ‘typical politician’. We need a new brand of politician. Obama isn’t showing that he’s anything different so far.

    Barring degrees of severity, which is a debatable point, do you disagree that he’s been untruthful?

  17. As a kid we called people pulling our legs jive turkeys. Can I call Obama that?

  18. James, I think you’d have to go with jive monkey.

  19. Doesn’t comparing one and a half months of Zero favorably with eight years of Bush, without even mentioning the scale of time involved, somehow worse than faint praise?

  20. Tony = useful idiot

    keep it going!

  21. He’s not an idiot, he’s just a Tulsa fag and a little too concerned about the president’s fashion.

    I particularly liked this one: Beware the teabaggers. They come armed and stupid.

    Is it a jab to nonviolent political protest, or is it a distasteful reminder of testicles in his anus? The world may never know.

    Don’t forget: religion is child abuse! After all, if God wanted people to feel guilty, then he wouldn’t have made me a sociopath.

  22. Remember he’s The Magic Negro , and if PBO says it will work lets get r done. And stop whinning .You all sound like Rush Jeep Rider, hoping everything fails. Surely we all can agree somethings wrong with the system and it needs to be fixed. Where’s Bernie The Magic Jew maybe he has some ideas.

  23. Dead thread I know, but since the Reason overlords are so Hollywood sensitive I should probably credit Flip Wilson for the jive turkey thing.

  24. As G. Gordon Liddy used to say “YE SUCKERS!!!”

  25. We need to pay attention to what BO does, and ignore what he says. He says one thing, and does the opposite.

    My favorite: he campaigned as the guy that would get us out of Iraq faster than anyone else. He said the surge in Iraq was a big mistake, and the war was lost. His current plan is to keep combat troops in Iraq 9 months longer than Bush. And he wants to use the Bush surge strategy in Afghanistan.

    What is amazing to me is that liberals haven’t called him on it. Nope. This is their savior’s strategy, so it must be right.

    I just hope that the Republicans can get their act together and mount a credible strategy to minimize the damage in the next 4 years. So far, the results aren’t promising.

  26. This presidency and congress are a disgrace and the hypocrisy is overwhelming, how is he getting away with do as I say but not as I do. The largest issue remains if Obama is not a citizen, we have a constiturional crisis and how this was perpetrated on this country needs to be explored. There are only a few reasons why his college records would be sealed:
    1. enrolled as a foreign student recieiving financial aid
    2. Anti american sentiments in his papers or dissertation
    3. dismissal

  27. Barack Obama has a narcissistic disorder. It’s frighteningly obvious. The only thing scarier is that a majority of American voters were duped by such a shallow bright light. The delusional arrogance of this president are a new low. Inside that needy brain, it’s all about him, he’s superman, and he can overcome the history of economics and international affairs just because he says “Yes We Can.” This ain’t the south side pal, and it’s gonna take more than goofy slogans to get over on an intelligent world. Where you came from, the people are like sheep. Welcome to the den of wolves…..

  28. Some good points, but at what point can we get past the required 1000 word “I really hate Bush so don’t call me a right wing nut for now criticizing Obama” preamble?

    That’s a whole lot of blah, blah, blah before you start getting to the point of your column which is the current president, not the retired one.

  29. Obama is not who people thought he was despite his campaign promises. He promised to tax the rich, he promised to do cap and trade, he promised to make banks more responsible. And yet now that we see how he is doing it and that he is breaking campaign promises we are getting are first glimpse into Obama. Not just a man with the complete mindset of getting his liberal agenda through, but a man that has no convictions and no qualms about lying to get his way again and again.

  30. Obama has permanently bankrupted America, thus fulfilling the liberal dream of bringing the nation down to third-world status and a new world order with the UN in full control. He wants to scrap our nukes and leave us defenseless against attacks. He’s UNamerican and must be impeached before he rewrites the Constitution!

  31. Stop Picking on Obama
    I am sick and tired of all the criticisms of our new leader, especially those accusing him of being a “Socialist.”
    The fact of the matter is that all he wants to do is establish a system of government in which:
    1.) the state plans and controls the economy and;
    2.) a single authoritarian party holds power while;
    3.) claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which;
    4.) all goods will be more equally shared by the people.

    Oops! That sounds exactly like the dictionary definition of Communism but, anyway, it is definitely NOT Socialism. So there!

  32. Matt, your cigarette argument is a weak cheap shot. Obama clearly meant that if you made under $250,000 you wouldn’t see an increase in *income tax*. Nobody feels sympathy for Americans who are going to have to pay more to ingest toxins into their body. The poor may spend more on cigarettes in terms of percentage of income, but they have just as much power to quit or cut back on their habit. You do realize that you are complaining that the president is establishing a policy that incentivizes behavior that will prevent those same poor people from needing extremely expensive healthcare down the road? This is my first time on reason.com; don’t think you guys are living up to such a lofty name.

  33. The 8 years of Bush’s disingenuous, two-faced policies and consistent lies has resulted in a destroyed country. I don’t think Obama could fix it in 20 years, let alone 4 or 8, and he’s certainly going to have to do the same type of lying and two-faced, disingenuous form of political communication that Bush did to even come close to making a dent on the Bush damage. In an ideal world, politicians could be honest and effective at the same time. But democracy presumes an informed and intelligent citizenry. We don’t have that – and we probably never will ever again. The only way to be an effective communicator and to get anything done is to lie about it. Problems and issues are too complex and sophisticated to be solved by open and honest communication. This is particularly true when the opposition Republicans are still the lying, two-faced, disingenuous bastards they were when they controlled the country, if not moreso.

    Just a quick example – Obama reversed the Bush policy of prohibiting U.S. funds to be given to any foreign entity that supports, and does not actively discourage abortion. By the following day, the uneducated, brain-damaged, idiotic people who listen to Republican radio/talk shows were yelling and screaming about how Obama is using American taxpayer money “to pay for foreign abortions.” That’s not what the policy reversal was at all, yet it’s too complicated to explain, and they wouldn’t want to understand it even if you could explain it to them.

    Bottom line, when everything is too complicated for people to understand, and when everyone against you is lying about the problems, your solutions, and your actions, the only option is to lie right back.

    Also, you know the cigarette tax (which I oppose) increase was not the kind of tax increase Obama was talking about.

    Speaking of taxes, one of the most popular ways both parties, but particularly the republicans lie and misstate tax policy is to confuse tax rates with marginal tax rate increases. For example, if a tax rate is currently 2% and the democrats propose raising it to 3%, the republicans will yell and whine in total disdain about a “50% tax increase” – 3 is 50% more than 2, but people are confused and think that the democrats want to take 50% – half – of their money. Seriously, pay attention to this, it’s amazing how often they do this. Before you know it, it’s “the Obama 50% tax hike” when he’s only proposing raising a 2% tax rate to 3% – one point! You’d pay 3 cents on the dollar instead of 2 cents on the dollar, yet 99% of Obama opponents (including ones who wouldn’t qualify for whatever the tax is for to begin with) are outraged that the communist president wants to steal half their income.

    And you think Obama should be honest?

    I’d like to see Obama point out all the hypocrisy and lies and disingenuous two-faced statemens and actions on the part of his opponents, but there seems to be an understanding in Washington that you just don’t do that (I guess because you know that you’re just as much of a hypocrite as they are, regardless of your party).

  34. “In the early 60s Hussein lived in Indonesia where he became an Indonesia citizen in order to attend school.”

    Wow, what an amazingly clever 3 year old he must have been! No wonder he made it to the White House.

  35. I see the Obamabots came out once this article hit RCP – 3 days after being printed.

    Bruce. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the policy was too ‘complicated’ – If 50% of the population believes that abortion is murder, why whould a single penny of their money go toward funding it – foreign or domestic.

    Although I partially agree with you about Obama’s pledge to not raise taxes – he clearly, at some points, stated he will not raise taxes of ANY KIND.

    and Joe – where is Obama going to get the money to pay for his SCHIP program when he drives all the poor smokers into quitting as you imply?

    and lastly – Bruce. That is how business people refer to increases or decreases. It is not a lie or deceitful, it is simply the way business people refer to these type things. It’s not a grocery store coupon.

  36. When the consequences hit, people (including the newspapers) will finally admit what a jerk that foolish people have been conned to vote for. Harsh consequences taught us after Carter. Even worse ones will hit us after Obama’s deceits.

  37. What everyone is forgetting is that basically the country voted for this agenda. When we’re reduced to complaining that an increase in the cig tax is a tax on those with incomes under 200k because after all they smoke more I’m afraid you’re out of ammunition. It’s silly and everyone realises it’s silly. Which brings me to the core of my argument. Obama is carrying all before him for two broad reasons. His own persona which broadly speaking the American public likes and respects. Claims of jerkishness or lack of intelligence after the last eight years of Bush just don’t pass the sanity test and are therefore dismissed as silly. Then we have the retreat in to silliness by Republicans. Whether it’s Steele hip hopping, the boot licking of Limbaugh or the bizarre congressional Republican budgets of the past couple of weeks: it all suggests a party that is no longer serious about governing. Frum’s description of the Republican party ceasing to be an organized political force and dwindling into a vehicle of cultural dissatisfaction just about sums it up. Until we grow up and start getting serious about the problems the country faces and coming up with real solutions for dealing with them rather than just bashing Obama about trivial stuff like cig taxes and ipods which is all we seem capable of doing; it’s going to be a long time before the Republican party returns to power.

  38. People insist on comparing Obama’s performance to Bush’s. Instead, they should compare his performance to that of the president he promised to be. In other words, Obama should be evaluated based on his own words.

    Every time Obama is measured vis-a-vis one of his own promises, a distraction (ex., Cheney, Limbaugh, et al) soon follows. This seems to be Axelrod’s and Carville’s chief function, to deflect criticism that Obama has renegged on yet another promise.

  39. James Ard:

    “Dead thread I know, but since the Reason overlords are so Hollywood sensitive I should probably credit Flip Wilson for the jive turkey thing.”

    ********************************

    The Obama Administration seems to be channeling Flip Wilson with its, “The devil [Bush] made me do it!”

  40. I think there is at the very least reason to believe Obama is an another American hating Illegal Alien. Probably one of the reasons he supports the invading horde of Illegal Aliens and going away with E-verify!

    Meantime, with millions of Americans without jobs no Liberal Democrat will address the 500 pound gorilla in the room, millions of invading Illegal Aliens taking millions of jobs that should be American jobs and 100,s billions of dollars in social services that should be for American citizens!

    One cannot be political correct and admit that Illegal Aliens are an large part of the problems in this Nation.

    Their negative impact extends to every area from Sub-par loans & defaults, Underground economy, Massive document fraud, Lower standard of living, Crime, Overflowing prisons , Bankrupted hospitals, Failing schools, Property Taxes, Insurance costs, Environment, Culture, Welfare costs, Welfare fraud, SS fraud, Voter fraud, Disrespect for our laws & country, our Constitution against invasion and even Balance of payments occurring from oil and other imports to support the 20 to 30 million illegal aliens in this country!

    One has to only look at Calif. which is basically mostly an Spanish speaking, Bankrupt state that cannot afford to provide Welfare, Schooling, Medical, Prison cells etc. for millions of MS-13 Gang bangers, Drug dealers, Rapist and other assorted Criminals and uneducated, fast breeding, third world rejects from Mexico!

    In a very few years it will be impossible to see where Mexico ends and Calif. begins as both will be an third world cesspool!

    Failure to secure our borders and reward the Invading horde for their invasion and their relatives in an never ending chain with American Citizenship is nothing less than committing National Suicide & will assure our future is an over populated Spanish speaking third world Nation that is an Cesspool of Corruption, Crime, Poverty and Misery modeled on Mexico!

  41. This president is nothing more than a modern day SNAKE OIL SALESMAN. The stupid factor reigns in this administration. By Stupid, I mean the ones who continue to give this warlord on the people, credence. What does “Yes we Can ” mean anyhow? Yes we can what? Screw everyone while they dance and party the night away? Seems to be the object now. and oh isn’t Michelle dressed so fine?

  42. Obama does Double Talk. He is also disingenuous if not an out and out liar. He talks for 20 minutes and says nothing and never answers a question. Before election he never spoke of wasting Taxpayer funds. Nor did he say anything about Corporate Takeovers, Socialism and appointing tax cheats to his Cabinet. Overseas they applaud him but pay him no mind. Now you can add North Korea to the pay no mind list. I guess they see through him but back we can’t

  43. This was all so evident to me even before the elections. Has the dummying down of America by our liberal school systems created absolute morons this quickly?

  44. Obama showed during the campaign, he was two-faced.

    The people who voted for him ignored it.

  45. FOR OBAMA = AGAINST AMERICA

    Spread it around–we need bumper stickers, at least!!

  46. Finally! Finally somehow has nailed it; that is, Obama. This guy does whatever he thinks people want to hear – what got him elected, then executes his hidden agenda. He knows he can get away with it because the spaghetti-spine boosters who fraudulently pass themselves off as journalists – and objective ones at that – only report what he says, never what he does.

    Either it is too difficult for these “journalists” to research beyond the easy sound bites, or they are committed to hiding the truth, essentially becoming a propaganda instrument for Obama.

    This is the first article to honestly illustrate Obama’s words vs. his deeds. I would add one more example. In one of his many TV extravaganzas, he had the audacity to say “I am not a big government guy”. I forget if it was before or after the almost $800 billion “stimulus”, the almost $500 billion budget that he had to pass – it was left over from Bush, another $30 billion to AIG, his move to fire GM’s CEO and have the federal government provide the warranties for their cars, his plan to limit executive pay, or his designs for the government to confiscate people’s private medical records for the purpose of Obama deciding who gets treatment and who doesn’t – essentially, who lives and who dies.

    I guess this last item should not be a surprise since he has already, as an Illinois State Senator, decided some babies should die even after they are born because their mothers intent was to abort them. (After all, they paid good money to suck that baby out and throw it in the trash.)

    Definitely not a big government guy! No, more like an absolute dictator – in the mold of Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez or Josef Stalin.

    Good job. What is most amazing is people just do not – or refuse to – see the obvious. Scary 1984 Orwellian stuff.

  47. Guess its got to be his estimate of our intelligence that makes him believe we are so enamored of the way he says it we ignore what he is saying. Could it be whatever infected the press during the campaign was contagious and 60% of us now have it?

  48. As an undergrad, I got caught up in the Jimmy Carter utopianistic vision of an america leading the fight for Human Rights. I hope the under-30 crowd that voted 2-1 for Obama is now learning what I learned; that campaign hype is BS and that 90% of a candidate’s so-called “promises” are never achieved.

    The ironic part is what Obama REALLY cares about is redistribution of wealth from the top 25% to the bottom 25% and creation of a vast array of new huge govt spending programs. Precisely the issues he was maddeningly vague about on the campaign trail.

  49. I am aghast at the bunch of charlatans we have installed in Congress. The slow departure from the constitution, started in earnest by FDR, is now reaping its ugly harvest. I see no hope short of rebellion or secession. Does anyone see any hope here? What a sickening mess we have.

  50. What an enlightening and so very true article. For almost two years – during the campaign and now in his administration’s first couple of months, we’ve had to listen to President Obama speak out of both sides of his mouth. Straddling the fence may have been an effective strategy during the primary and general elections, but it’s hardly a way to govern as president of the free world. Hillary and Sen. McCain were onto something with their criticisms of President Obama.

    Careful what you wish for because you just got it.

  51. It’s great that the libertarians are taking Obama’s impending mega-government seriously. But how much smart analysis and policy vetting were they doing during the election campaign? The real small-government pragmatists who saw through, and targetted, Obama were once again mostly in the conservative commentariat.

    The folks at Reason were too busy pushing Welch’s anti-McCain book, ignoring Obama too much. McCain’s pricey “conservatism” is looking like a bargain now.

  52. Fools, idiots, stupid, morons aholes, creeps.

    You KNEW he was an empty suit yet voted for him.

    Now all of us have to suffer the consequences.

    Fools, idiots, stupid, morons aholes, creeps.

  53. Believe me, Barack Obama is a Shakespearean actor – maybe Othello – but no “non-violence” Mahatma Ghandi peacenik – for sure !!!

    The “Dual Nature” of president “Dr. Jeykll Obama and Mr. Hyde” – who campaigned and won the presidency in part, on his “global initiative” of Peace with Islam – which was bolstered by his campaign pledge to bring US troops home, not withstanding opposition from the Bush military command… is still of such a superlative degree as to be hard to believe … But can he fool all the people, all of the time ?

    However the president does talk out of ” both side of his mouth” but wisely – made no change whatsoever in the Secretary of Defense department of the United States of America – in order to “preserve his command” and probably avoid a possible revolt against his presidency in a divided America – had he try to immediately withdraw the troops from Iraq – as he promised..

    So not only is Obama still working with the same Defense Department of former oresident Bush, but is now also urging shipping companies and international maritime groups to employ private security forces and take steps such as unbolting ladders that pirates could use to board a vessel, etc. – after a successful assault killing the three Somali pirates holding the American Captain hijacked on open sea.

    The concensus of the U.S. military is that the Somali Pirates must be hunted down and their vessels sunk on sight.. The U.S. military is considering attacks on pirate bases on land and aid for the Somali people to help stem ship hijackings off Africa’s east coast, defense officials said.

    Barack Obama seems intent on giving America two administrations for the price of one… So will president Obama who plays both sides of the street on NAFTA – now object to – further military force as an effective deterrent in the Middle East ? One never knows…. He’s a pragmatist, I guess.

  54. he indirectly raised taxes on middle and lower class with the cigarette tax. i dont think he taxed them enough. cigarettes suck and they should be 10 bucks a pack. it’s free choice to buy them. your other facts may hold water, but i believe you’re grasping at straws with that 1

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