The Obameter

Published: October 28, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-check group has carefully kept track of all 508 campaign promises made by then candidate Obama. Politifact breaks them down into the following categories: “Promises Kept,” “Compromised,” “Promises Broken,” “Stalled,” “In the Works” and “Not yet rated.”

According to Politifact, President Obama has kept 151 promises; among them: Establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights; Expand loan programs for small businesses; Extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes; Sign a “universal” health care bill;
Seek verifiable reductions in nuclear stockpiles; Create new financial regulations; and require children to have health insurance coverage.

He has “compromised” on 46 promises; among them: Eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups; Freeze the 2009 estate tax law; Create a national health insurance exchange; create a small business tax credit to help with health premiums.

52 promises have been “broken”; among the most disappointing: Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center; Increase the capital gains and dividends taxes for higher-income taxpayers; Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners; End no-bid contracts above $25,000; Forbid companies in bankruptcy from giving executives bonuses; Enact windfall profits tax for oil companies; Allow five days of public comment before signing bills; and Centralize ethics and lobbying information for voters.

68 promises have been “stalled”; among them: Eliminate all oil and gas tax loopholes; Close loopholes in the corporate tax deductibility of CEO pay; Require publicly traded financial partnerships to pay the corporate income tax; Dedicate more resources to fight employment discrimination against military reservists; and Establish transparency standards for military contractors.

189 promises are “in the works”; among them: Make permanent the Research & Development tax credit; Create an international tax haven watch list; Create a $60 billion bank to fund roads and bridges; Hold hospitals and health plans accountable for disparities in care; Prevent drug companies from blocking generic drugs; Allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices; Fully and properly equip troops; Create a system of incentives and penalties for defense contracts; and End the use of torture.

2 promises have “not yet been rated”: Direct rebuilding efforts from the White House after a catastrophe, and Appoint a Chief Financial Officer to oversee the rebuilding following national disasters.

Percentage-wise, President Obama has “kept” or has “in the works” 67% of his campaign promises. He’s “compromised” on 9%; “broken” 10% and 14% remain “stalled.”

Tracking the promises of the Republican Leadership in Congress, Politifact has found that, to date, the GOP have “kept” 16% of their promises, “compromised” 2%, “broken” 2%, remain “stalled” on 9%; while 25% are “in the works,” and 47% are “not yet rated.”

However, according to a Gallup poll taken at the end of September, “Americans are more than twice as likely to say President Obama and the current Congress are doing a poor job (67%) as a good job (30%) of dealing with the most important problems facing the United States.”

Congress remains stalled on the debt issue and several members continue to play political brinksmanship with any issue raised by the president.

Bottom line: both the president and Congress need to actively search for ways to come together through realistic, reasonable compromise rather than stick to entrenched thinking.

Americans want far less partisanship and a lot more statesmanship than they’ve been getting. If not, bigger changes are waiting in the wings come November 2012.


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