How Many Obama Voters Feel Let Down?
The list of disappointed voters keeps growing.
August 4, 2009 - 12:00 am
Candidate Barack Obama ran a brilliant campaign, convincing moderates and even some conservatives that he was no radical while keeping the netroot base fully engaged. But seven months after taking office, the list of disappointed voters (at least those willing to admit they were had) is growing.
Fiscal conservatives who bought the spiel that he’d go line by line through the budget have seen the most fiscally irresponsible president ever. After a $787B pork-filled stimulus, a supplemental spending measure with 9,000 earmarks, a $3.5 trillion budget, and a trillion dollar health care plan, Obama has managed to exceed the worst predictions of his critics. And now at least some of his advisors are letting on that his promise not to hike taxes on 95% of taxpayers is going to be cast aside. After all, the deficit is now so huge we must plug the gap, right? (Robert Gibbs said Obama would never raise taxes on the middle class – well, except for those cigarette and energy taxes.)
Then there are the good government types who fancied a new era of transparency and lobbyist-free government. Well, not quite. We have had the long list of tax cheats and the lobbyists who needed ethics waivers to squeeze through the revolving door. Again and again — whether on the stimulus plan or on cap and trade — gargantuan legislation has been rushed through without public scrutiny. Well, if the public figured out what was on some of those thousands of pages, they might have objected.
There were gay voters who felt certain this contemporary president understood their concerns. Unlike all the other liberal pols he would finally deliver on gay marriage, they hoped ( after all he came out against Proposition 8 in California) and repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Well, as James Kirchick explains, “Whatever he ‘really’ thinks, Obama’s stance on gay marriage is virtually indistinguishable from that of John McCain.” And re-examination of “don’t ask, don’t tell” remains far down on the priority list. (As Reason magazine’s Shikha Dalmia put it, “President Obama is pleading for time to push this issue until after, presumably, he has averted global warming, revived the economy, and implemented universal health coverage.”)
That’s nothing compared to the betrayal of American Jews and other pro-Israel voters. During the campaign he came on bended knee to AIPAC, made little if any mention of Israeli settlements, and sneered at those who might question his Zionist bona fides. After receiving the money and votes of gullible Jewish voters, as president he has now declared his intention to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel and has embarked on an openly hostile approach to the Jewish state. And if that wasn’t enough, he chooses to honor, with America’s highest civilian award, Mary Robinson, who presided over the anti-Israel hate-fest at Durban in 2001 when serving as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.