During Obama’s 2008 campaign, many of my conservative colleagues were harshly critical of the then-senator’s campaign message of “hope and change,” demonizing it as lofty but empty rhetoric. Four years later, I think it’s time we acknowledge some of the areas where Obama has actually delivered on these promises.
Here are just a few examples:
● With America struggling amid massive unemployment, a languishing economy, and skyrocketing debt, President Obama went straight to the heart of the problem and tackled it head on — by raising taxes, imposing more regulations, and ensuring that independent business owners were no longer operating under the false belief that their smarts and hard work are responsible for the success they’ve achieved or hope to one day achieve. Change we can all — collectively! — believe in.
● Amid the weakest economic recovery in the postwar period, with another recession appearing increasingly likely and uncertainty about taxes and health care costs preventing companies from hiring, President Obama stepped up to introduce the stability that America so gravely needed: not for our private sector — which, of course, is doing fine — but for 30-something students like Sandra Fluke, who are forced to wake up each morning not knowing whether the government will pay for their birth control.
● Most of all, I had confidence that President Obama would deliver on his promise of running the most transparent administration ever. And I’m proud to say that the president has kept his word on that, too. Sure, he may have refused to release records about his Department of Justice’s illegal gun-walking operation in Mexico, which has resulted in more than 300 murders, but on the issues that really matter to Americans — like Mitt Romney’s tax returns — there has been no greater warrior on behalf of transparency than President Obama.
● Finally, with Americans terrified that programs like Medicare and Social Security are headed for bankruptcy, President Obama has proven to be a beacon of hope. By raiding $716 billion from the Medicare system to start a new open-ended entitlement program and creating a new bureaucratic board to slash the program even further, he has ensured that Americans won’t have to lose any sleep over the stability of this program. Seniors now have the clarity that comes with knowing Medicare will be steeply cut by their bureaucratic superiors. They can peacefully plan for their last years without worrying that Medicare might be there for them.
Now our great leader is getting into the full swing of his re-election campaign, and is again focused on the big, inspirational issues that unite us as Americans — issues like the war on women, how Mitt Romney made his money, how Mitt Romney might somehow be responsible for the death of a woman with cancer, and how to force religious employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. Obama won’t be sidetracked or distracted by divisive issues like jobs and the economy.
The bottom line is Obama promised hope and change, and he delivered — big time. He has moved us sharply away from those nasty free markets and into the arms of benevolent central planners. We have “invested” trillions of dollars! What could be better? Who wouldn’t want four more years of this?
Erik Telford is the vice president of strategic initiatives and outreach at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.