Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's Election Year: What you can look forward to

What’s new Today

Our #1 story is a list of  promises that Obama has made and broken.  #2 tells us what the GOP plans to do with this and other Obama failures.  #3 is my look at why comparing the approval rating of Obama with congress is nonsense.  And #4 is an interesting article about how January 1st was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union. 

1.  Here is a list of Promises Obama made that have actually been broken


Pledge: "When you walk into my administration, you will not be able to work on regulations or contracts directly related to your former employer for two years." -- Obama, during a June 22, 2007, speech in Manchester, N.H.

Verdict: Promise Broken. This pledge was broken from the very beginning of Obama's presidency, with the nomination of William Lynn as deputy defense secretary. Lynn was registered until last July as a defense lobbyist for Raytheon Co., where he advocated for a range of military programs. Even though Obama did issue the ethics rules he promised on the campaign trail, he ended up issuing a waiver on Lynn's behalf after senators threatened to hold up the nomination. Lynn was confirmed, and the administration continued to grant waivers for subsequent former lobbyists.


Pledge: "When George Bush came into office, our debt -- national debt was around $5 trillion. It's now over $10 trillion. We've almost doubled it. ... But actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut." -- Obama, during an Oct. 7, 2008, debate in Nashville

Verdict: Promise Broken. The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2009 tripled to a record $1.4 trillion, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate out in early October. That's nearly $1 trillion more than the $459 billion deficit recorded in President Bush's last full year. The recession-driven declines in revenue accounted for a large part of Obama's red ink, but so did increases in spending -- on everything from the economic stimulus to Wall Street bailouts (sealed before Obama took office). Though Obama still says he wants to bring the deficit down significantly before the end of his first term, projections show the fiscal 2010 deficit will also exceed $1 trillion. Even if Obama does make major changes to fiscal policy and cut the deficit in half, that's still hundreds of billions of dollars every year to the national debt.


Pledge: "That's what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are." -- Obama, during a Jan. 31, 2008, debate in Los Angeles

Verdict: Promise Broken. While Obama and his congressional allies have given countless briefings and speeches on health care reform, much of the negotiations have taken place behind closed doors. These private meetings have grown more common since the Senate Finance Committee passed its version of the bill in mid-October, becoming the last of five congressional panels to clear the bill. Lawmakers are now trying to hammer out versions that can pass the full House and Senate.


Pledge: "If you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it. All I'm going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You'll still have choice of doctor. There's no mandate involved." -- Obama, during an Oct. 7, 2008, debate in Nashville

Verdict: Promise Broken. All of the health care reform plans before Congress endorse some kind of requirement for people to get health insurance. And during his Sept. 9 address to a joint session of Congress, Obama endorsed the idea as well. "Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part," the president said. Obama expressed a wholly different point of view during the Democratic primaries, when one of the few policy differences between him and Hillary Clinton was that she supported an individual mandate while he did not. He persistently defended the decision, arguing that the reason people don't have health insurance is because they can't afford it -- not because they don't want it.

This are just the beginning of the facts we will see in political ads this coming year. 

2.  GOP Battle Plan

With Republican voters in Iowa set to finally begin picking a nominee to challenge President Obama, GOP officials in Washington are quietly and methodically finishing what operatives are calling “the book” — 500 pages of Obama quotes and video links that will form the backbone of the party’s attack strategy against the president leading up to Election Day 2012.

The document, portions of which were reviewed by The Washington Post, lays out how GOP officials plan to use Obama’s words and voice as they build an argument for his defeat: that he made specific promises and entered office with lofty expectations and has failed to deliver on both.

Republican officials say they will leverage the party’s newly catalogued video library containing every publicly available utterance from Obama since his 2008 campaign. Television and Internet ads will juxtapose specific Obama promises of job gains, homeowner assistance, help for people in poverty, lower health insurance premiums and stricter White House ethics standards against government data and news clippings that paint a different reality.

The decision by GOP officials to finalize a strategy at this stage underscores the view, in both parties, that the general election campaign has begun — even if an official Republican nominee has not been selected…

This wasn’t hard to imagine.  The GOP will use Obama’s words against him while the Democrats will make inferences that Romney (that’s who they believe will be the candidate) is an out of the mainstream (read the Mormon) 1 percenter (read the rich) who doesn’t pay his fair share.  It’s a weak strategy by the Democrats, but they don’t really have anything else they can do.   

3.  Why Approval Ratings for Congress are Meaningless

Accordingly, the real number pollsters should be looking at is the willingness of voters to re-elect their own senator or congressman, not what they think of Congress as a whole. What do the numbers tell us? So far, Americans are very happy with their own and are willing to re-elect them with ease. According to, for the last three elections cycles (2006, 08 and 10) the re-election rates for the US Senate are 79%, 83% and 84% (2010). For the House of Representatives, re-election numbers are 94%, 94% and 85% (2010). The bottom line is that voters overwhelming like their own senator or congressman but despise the other guy and Congress as a whole. But it is only their own they can vote for. Approval numbers for Congress as a whole are nothing anyone can act on, unlike approval numbers for President of the United States. Therefore they mean almost nothing.

When Obama’s numbers dip, the MSM likes to trot out the fact that congress’s approval rating is so much worse than Obama’s.  It a stupid play on the MSM part since it means absolutely nothing.

4.  The 20th Anniversary of the End of the Soviet Union

In addition to being the last day of the year, today is also THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OFFICIAL END OF THE SOVIET UNION, WHEN THE LAST SOVIET GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS SHUT DOWN. Today’s quasi-authoritarian Russia is far from admirable. But, despite Mikhail Gorbachev’s lame and self-serving claims to the contrary, IT IS STILL A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER THE USSR. In addition to the benefits for Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, the fall of the USSR also created important benefits for the rest of the world. I covered the many advantages of the end of the USSR in more detail in this post….

Something truly to be happy about.

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