“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.“ – Robert Frost
2008 was the first year I didn’t bother voting in the presidential elections. I did listen to most of the campaign speeches and I had a feeling Obama was just another opportunist, a demagogue who would not hesitate to play into the nation’s need for a change knowing darn well that he would be neither willing nor able to deliver on most, if not all, of his campaign promises. I would much prefer to have been mistaken. Here is a short list of only the issues most dear to my heart and the dismal record of presidential failure to accomplish anything or – in most cases – even to act.
1. End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000
Have you heard of any legislation proposing this change? Neither have I. As I am about to retire in a little over a year, this promise is of utmost interest to me, as I will certainly be making less than $50,000 a year.
2. Repeal Bush tax cuts for the rich
The rich are individuals making more than $200,000 a year. I don’t even know a single person in that income bracket. Our worlds just do not seem to intersect even though we vacation not that far from each other (me in Jacksonville, FL; they on St. Barts or Necker Island). What did Obama accomplish here? Precisely nothing, as he extended Bush tax cuts for two more years, until the end of 2012, which incidentally will be the end of his one-term presidency and thus it will become someone else’s problem.
3. Do not allow companies in bankruptcy to pay hefty bonuses to their executives
As far as I can see, this issue never came before Congress and as the working class bleeds, the bloated fat cats are getting fatter on our backs. Barak Obama is a millionaire so why would he care about any of this anyway?
4. Close Guantanamo Bay detention facilities
With much fanfare, Obama signed the first executive order of his presidency mandating the closure of Gitmo detention centers on January22, 2009. The exact wording was: “The detention facilities at Guantanamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Two years and two months later, on March 7, 2011, Obama signed another order reversing the first order (the one which missed the deadline) and by now it is painfully obvious to all that the President has no intention of closing Guantanamo during the remainder of his reign.
5. Form international group to help Iraqi refugees
No such group is in the works and the number of Iraqi refuges outside Iraq as well as internally displaced ones keeps growing and only a handful of international organizations such as UNHCR, IOM and IRC keep on dealing with the overwhelming international problem that our so-called “nation building” foreign policy has contributed to create. Just like Bush Sr., Obama hang the Iraqis out to dry.
6. Recognize the Armenian genocide
Barak Obama specifically stated “as President I will recognize the Armenian genocide.” That was then. This is now. And the reality of “now” is that the word “genocide” isn’t even in our President’s vocabulary. The official party line, as clearly spelled out in March 5, 2010 resolution, is that it “recognizes the 1.5 million death that occurred between 1915 and 1923 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.” The resolution quietly died somewhere in the hallways of the Capitol building and the Administration made sure it went nowhere, as Turkey happens to be our important ally against Iran and a silent partner in Iraq and Afghanistan, so why upset that cozy status quo by digging out almost hundred-year-old graves, right?
7. Double the Peace Corps
Obama promised to double Peace Corps to 16,000 volunteers by 2011. Now, the Administration claims it is on track to reach 11,000 in 2016. How is that “on track”? Is this the so-called New Math? A day late and a dollar short, if you ask me.
8. Introduce a comprehensive immigration bill in the first year
Not in the first year, not in the second year, not at all. No such bill exists to this day, even though Barak Obama, talking from both sides of his mouth on his campaign trail, boldly stated that not only was he promoting such bill but that he can “guarantee” it.