One of the great myths of our time deals with the great separation from politics reality people running for office seem to be (or they lying to us?) about all that they will change when in office. Positions on issues and priorities in office have only a smidgeon to do with politics reality. Reality number one is that world events will greatly affect priorities of an elected official, especially a President. War, natural disasters, a failure of an economy, terrorism, all of these affects the direction and timing of dreaming of change and politics reality.
There is so much that we are told by our political leaders which have nothing to do with politics reality. While we can learn something from a politician’s stand on issues it would behoove us to remember that much of that stance is based on what the politician believes is politically expedient. Even when a politician appears genuine on stance it is unlikely that their proposed program will all become law or even be attempted to transform into law.
It is important to remember in politics reality that a politician who says they will definitively get something done while their opponent cannot get their program into law – well, that politician is lying to you. There is no way to know, there is no reliable way to predict. As previously stated a world catastrophic event whether it be environmental, or a collapse of an economic system, or a war, can affect even the fight over and enactment of a domestic program A Presidential candidate that says they will not raise taxes is lying to you or is naïve about the level of influence of worldwide events. And the politician will use that change in the world to justify the change in their position. Of course a political candidate also cannot know before an election the exact composition of the members of Congress both supporting him or her and opposing.
The Presidency, which is the prime political position, cannot guarantee campaign promises will be delivered. Unless, of course, that guarantee is a lie. After all, there are several things are out of the President’s control.
Barack Obama, who approached the 2008 election with idealism greater than many but perhaps not as idealistic as others, is a prime example. Some of his campaign promises included:
“Get Cap-And-Trade Passed
The Promise: “As President, I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming — an 80% reduction by 2050,” said Obama in 2007 before the Real Leadership for a Clean Energy Future.
The Reality: Well it’s not quite 2050 just yet, but it looks like cap-and-trade may be dead. After making its way through the House, the bill died in the Senate after Democrats lost their majority in 2010. Sensing that getting it passed was unlikely, Obama walked back his commitment on the plan. “[Cap-and-trade] was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end.”
“Guarantee that employees get at least 7 paid sick days per year
The Promise: During the 2008 campaign, Obama listed on his website his support for a federal guarantee that all employers provide seven paid sick days per year.
The Reality: In the first year of this presidency, Obama expressed support for the Healthy Families Act. However the bill stalled in committee. It is unlikely that this bill, or any version of this bill, will pass anytime soon now that the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives.
Source: Department of Labor”
“Introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill by the end of his first year in office
The Promise: “The American people need us to put an end to the petty partisanship that passes for politics in Washington. And they need us to enact comprehensive immigration reform once and for all. We can’t wait 20 years from now to do it. We can’t wait 10 years from now to do it. We need to do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States of America. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as president,” Obama said during a speech to the League of United Latin American Citizens in 2008.
The Reality: Obama said immigration reform would be a top priority, but by the end of the first year no comprehensive bill supported by Obama had been introduced in Congress.
In April of 2010 a 26-page immigration reform proposal was released. However he has yet to support a bill in Congress.
Source: Associated Press
Source: senate.gov “
The Promise: On 60 Minutes in 2008, Obama was asked whether he would take early action on closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and his answer was about as unequivocal as an answer can get:
“Yes. I have said repeatedly that I will close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that.”
The Reality: Well, maybe it wasn’t that unequivocal. On March 7, 2011, the president signed an executive order to resume military trials for Guantanamo detainees and allow detainees to continue to be held in the facility.
Though the president said that he is still committed to closing the detention center, the move was largely seen as a concession.
Source: The Washington Post”
This is not a criticism of the Obama Presidency or a critique. It’s just politics reality. All Presidents have their own list of broken promises.
What a political program of a candidate tells us is what kind of elected official they would be. How much they care for people.
This is really being genuine. That’s politics reality.