We would've been ecstatic to welcome ALL of our soldiers back from desert wastelands to our beloved fields of grain and purple mountains majesty.
We could've sighed with relief as those who built the catalyst for financial collapse were brought swiftly and brutally to justice.
But reality got in our way.
In particular, we met a pipsqueak, congressional minority eager to abuse the power of filibuster, a belligerent foe willing to fill the void of a U.S.-less Iraq, a resurgent Taliban, and an economy that would cease to exist without a functioning banking system.
With all that, with all the obstacles, with all the critics (from both sides of the aisle), Obama was still able to fulfill the key promises of his campaign.
Below, I've compiled what I believe to be the presidents most important promises fulfilled.
Top 9 Obama Promises Kept (So Far)
Cell therapy is the medicine of the next century. It's the approach that has the potential to be the most game-changing medical advance since the introduction of antibiotics. George W. Bush's halt to federally funded stem-cell research, delaying progress for nearly a decade, was a crime against humanity. If there is any issue upon which Obama has restored hope, it is here, and we should all be eternally grateful.
Numbers two through eight are after the jump.
The war that never should have been is now over. Troops remain in a support capacity needed mostly for training Iraqis and as insurance against an Iranian insurgence that might otherwise have filled the void created by a total US exit.
In short, Obama carried out his explicit promises to:
As for the increased number of troops in Afghanistan, well, that was also a part of his campaign promise.
3) Enacted Historic Healthcare Reform
Some people thought it was woefully inadequate. Others thought it was a socialist conspiracy. In reality it was an historic healthcare reform effort that offers many benefits now, but also provides the foundation for future refinements. (Social Security began in much the same way).
Specific healthcare promises kept include:
4) Turn the U.S. toward a path of Energy Independence
It is a matter of national security. It is a matter of national pride. It is a matter of planetary preservation. China has committed nearly $740 billion to clean energy projects. Comparable, pre-Obama US investments in such things was embarrassingly and diminishingly small.
Obama means to change all that - as this article from Time magazine explains:
For starters, the Recovery Act is the most ambitious energy legislation in history, converting the Energy Department into the world's largest venture-capital fund. It's pouring $90 billion into clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S. The act will also triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes, quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet and finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the Internet.
That's for starters. Definitely read the entire article.
And here are some specific Obama-clean-energy promises kept:
5) Regulate Financial Markets
During the campaign, Obama said,
"I'll put in place the common-sense regulations and rules of the road I've been calling for since March -- rules that will keep our market free, fair, and honest; rules that will restore accountability and responsibility in our corporate boardrooms."
At the time, it wasn't clear the extent of the financial system devastation or the dire and lasting effects it would have on the economy. Nevertheless, financial regulation has been implemented - though against a barrage of criticism from both left and right.
Many felt that WallStreet fraudsters escaped with high crimes. Others felt that bankers were unjustly scapegoated. Either way, we had to come out of this with both a smoothly functioning financial system and a framework by which the possibility of such future catastrophes could be minimized.
As with most legislation, the likely effect of the laws is debatable and will only be revealed once they've been enforced. But again, a framework is in place. It can be refined.
6) Lead the world in Nuclear Non-proliferation
Nuclear non-proliferation is such a no-brainer. Nevertheless, earlier this year, President Obama signed the new START or the "Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty" along with Russian President Medvedev.
Obama will "immediately stand down all nuclear forces to be reduced under the Moscow Treaty and urge Russia to do the same."
Accoding to the press release:
In fulfilling its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, President Obama said, "The United States will not conduct nuclear testing and will seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The United States will not develop new nuclear warheads or pursue new military missions or new capabilities for nuclear weapons."
In addition, Obama appointed a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
7) Open Cuba to Family
I think the president said it best:
"Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. Accordingly, as president, Obama will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island."
8) Eliminate Bank Middle-men from Federal Student Loans
Many people don't realize that the federal student loan programs that allow so many people to realize their dreams of a college education are brought to them through banking subsidies that offer banks reward without the risk.
No fair. No more. Now students will be borrowing directly from the federal government in these programs -- and the big, BIG winner is the American taxpayer.
This change will "eliminate wasteful subsidies to private student lenders, which will save nearly $6 billion dollars per year, and invest the savings in additional student aid."
Love him or hate him, here is a president who has fulfilled his main campaign proposals within his first two years in office. Sure they're not perfect, but they are much better than what we had before and they invite and encourage further engagement, refinement and improvement.
When the November election comes around, we should remember that the calamitous economy, the two wars, and the blimpish deficit were all direct products of the Bush Administration and Republican ideology. Obama is the one who kept this nation from collapsing into oblivion, yet he suffers from the filth of the prior administration.
Still a lot of work to do...
KEYWORDS: President, Barack Obama, Promises, Promises Kept
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