It’s hard not to snicker at the outrage over the latest in a string of broken Obama promises. Anyone capable of learning English should have known the president would not be able to sprinkle his magic amnesty dust in a way that would give everyone what they expected. Foolish hopes had grown for too long. Cutting illegal immigrants out of the midterm plan was a shrewd calculation our grabby, non-citizen friends and neighbors should have seen coming. Their anger doesn’t matter. They can’t vote, or at least not legally, and their supporters who can are not going to vote for Republicans just because Obama didn’t follow through. That’s how things work in America. It’s not the American life Obama promises he’s working on, but that’s only a leftist fantasy he knows he won’t deliver.
Broken Obama promises: what did you expect?
So many Obama promises, guarantees, and assurances have been broken, ignored, or set aside for later that when it’s all over it will be impossible to say just what his administration stood for. The president has been promising a social and economic overhaul that he can’t achieve by himself, much less coerce from an uncooperative Congress. Worse, unless he admits his recovery policies were a failure he is going to have a hard time justifying plans for the future of the middle class that aren’t needed anymore.
One would think that the president and his second-in-command would at least keep their stories straight, but Obama and Joe Biden can’t even agree on who gets credit for America surviving the recession. Falling back on the trite “greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression”1 slogan, the vice president gave some credit to the middle class:
Folks, it’s long past time to cut the middle class back into the deal, so they can benefit from the economic growth they helped create.2
Of course, if the middle class is working and creating growth then they are sharing in prosperity, but until midterms are over we need to pretend they are being shut out.
President Obama was less generous on the campaign trail in Rhode Island, reserving credit for himself and fellow Democrats:
And over the last six years, in large part because of the leadership of Nancy Pelosi in the first couple, and then our continued battle on behalf of middle-class families in subsequent years, what we’ve seen is 53 straight months of job growth; the lowest unemployment rate since 2007 — it’s actually gone down faster this past year than any time in the last 30 years; …3
It’s hard to sell Obama’s promise of a middle class American life provided by big government and wealthy incomes if we’re doing fine on our own. How can we believe the president without ignoring the credibility gap created by taking credit for a booming economy while lamenting that Americans are wanting (see: Social Change for Obama Means Keeping America Divided and Angry)?
Lame duck Obama runs out of time.
Everyone heard what they wanted to hear in the early days when the president knew he would be believed. Since then, how many sacred cows have been cut loose? Teachers, low wage workers, unions, veterans, environmental groups, Israel and our “allies” in the Middle East, LGBTs, and now undocumented immigrants have been left to wonder what happened to the executive order activists thought they would have by Labor Day. That’s the problem with believing Obama’s promises. They only matter when they aren’t more trouble than they’re worth.
Throughout this presidency the theme has been raising up those who don’t deserve it, can’t be helped, are outside of the president’s power, or are already getting exactly what they should. Life in America is a lot simpler than trumped-up arguments over inequality, race, and social class lead us to believe. It’s about real fairness, the kind of fairness that means wanting something because you think you deserve it entitles you to nothing.
The trail of broken Obama promises just got longer, but with every day it matters less and less. We are looking at a failed lame duck who will be worse than useless if his party loses the Senate in a few months. What will his legacy be? A health care bill Republicans will be quick to dismantle as soon as they get a chance. Millions upon millions of foreign nationals left in limbo. The economy? Sooner or later that was bound to recover, anyway. Just ask the middle class.