By Tom Quiner
I had lunch yesterday with my favorite liberal friend.
He voted for Barack Obama for President. He will most likely vote for him again.
I asked him about Newt Gingrich. He said he could never vote for Mr. Gingrich because he broke his marriage vows.
Quiner’s Diner has suggested in a previous post that there is no correlation between divorce and a person’s ability to lead the nation (Analyzing Gingrich’s Baggage).
However, there is a link if the candidate, in this case, Barack Obama, has lied to you, the voter.
Now I don’t like to use the word lie, because politicians oftentimes say things with good intentions but just can’t get something done because of a weakness in their ability to lead.
Take President Obama, he vowed to provide healthcare for all. Ain’t gonna happen.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, 22 million Americans will lack access to basic health services after the full implementation of Obamacare in 2014.
Did President Obama lie? No, he just couldn’t deliver on his campaign hype. Happens to every candidate.
How about his campaign promise to close Guantanamo? This was a huge deal to Candidate Obama and his political base. President Obama reneged on this pledge once he got into office and discovered that President Bush was right to keep it open. President Obama even resumed the use of military tribunals with terrorists, something he formerly opposed.
Did President Obama lie? I think the term is harsh, but this is a campaign pledge he chose to break, because he realized his earlier emphatic view was emphatically incorrect.
Candidate Obama called for reform of the Patriot Act. When push came to shove, he called for renewing the law as it stands without change, tacitly acknowledging that President Bush was once again correct.
Candidate Obama vowed to end the Bush-era tax cuts for high earners. Agree or disagree with the position, Mr. Obama didn’t deliver, again tacitly acknowledging that President Bush was correct.
Candidate Obama appealed to voters on both sides of the aisle with his “sunlight before signing” vow:
“When there is a bill that ends up on my desk as the president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it.”
He hammered home the point on his website:
“Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.”
The president has total control over keeping this vow. No one can make the president sign a law any sooner than the president wants to. The rationale behind candidate Obama’s vow to wait for 5 days makes sense in light of the complexity of some legislation, such as the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Then-Speaker Pelosi acknowledged it had to be passed before we’d fully “find out what’s in it.”
The president reneged. He signed it into law just two days after passage.
Same thing with his mammoth $787 Billion stimulus package, the one supposedly loaded with shovel-ready jobs. He waited only a day. He didn’t allow voters enough time to see the finished bill and learn that much of it was being diverted to public union employees. There were no shovel-ready jobs.
The same thing happened with the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. He chose to renege on his campaign promise and sign them into law without waiting five days.
Candidate Obama also promised to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses. He didn’t.
Candidate Obama proudly claimed he would never hirer any lobbyists in his administration. He was adamant, as you can tell from his remarks here in Des Moines on November 10th, 2007:
“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”
He doubled down on his commitment to keep lobbyists out of his administration with these comments during a campaign speech:
“When I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.”
The USA Today exposed his boast as a fraud. They reveal that his campaign fund-raising team included 38 lobbyists who had been paid $138 million to lobby the federal government in 2007. President Obama proceeded to appoint two lobbyists to his administration.
No one made candidate Obama hire lobbyists to raise money for his campaign and appoint them to his administrataion. Barack Obama made the choice even though it contradicted his campaign promise.
On the other hand, let us look at Newt Gingrich. Through his leadership, Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives in 1994, the first time that had happened in forty years.
Mr. Gingrich led the charge by helping develop and sell The Contract for America. He got every Republican candidate to sign on to the Contract except for two. The Contract promised a vote on 8 reforms. Speaker Gingrich delivered on his promise and got each reform to the floor for a debate. All did not pass the Senate. But through the Speaker’s leadership, he delivered a balanced budget to the American people.
So let us return to the headline of this post: whom do you trust more, President Obama or Newt Gingrich?
The never-divorced president chose to repeatedly, and cynically, renege on key campaign promises he made to his supporters and the American people.
The twice divorced Speaker delivered on his.