Our flip-floppin presidentPresident Obama has compiled a long and growing list of increasingly important flip-flops on critical U.S. policies.
By: Bonnie Erbe, The Dickinson Press
President Obama has compiled a long and growing list of increasingly important flip-flops on critical U.S. policies. Most Obama backtracking took place after he entered office, tossing no-longer important (to him) campaign pledges out the window like so much detritus off a deck. But this week he issued what can only be described as a whopper of a flip-flop, urging passage of a law enacting Pay Go as a budgetary requirement some four months after sending Congress the most recklessly oversized budget ever amassed by a president.
PAYGO is a simple term. It means that Congress can’t spend a new dollar without cutting a dollar out of the budget somewhere else. On Monday in the White House Obama tried to adopt the mantra as his own, but actually House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had required the House to budget along PAYGO lines before Obama’s presidential candidacy was being taken seriously.
When Obama sent his budget to Congress earlier this year it projected the deficit would soar this year to $1.75 trillion. It called for the incomprehensible sum of between $3.5 trillion and $4 trillion in spending in fiscal 2010. And this from a man who now asks us to believe he is fiscally responsible? Methinks not.
Ah, but there’s good reason for Obama’s latest 180. A new Gallup poll shows the president enjoys a 61 percent job approval rating, but there is a growing split in public opinion, weighted against the president’s favor on his handling of the deficit. Forty-eight percent of Americans told Gallup pollsters they disapprove of the president’s approach to the deficit, while a smaller 46 percent approve.
Obama, or his handlers, are the consummate people (or shall I say, voter) pleasers. He is and always has been more about election and reelection than about principal, and his flip on the deficit is only the latest example. When the country fears a bottomless recession, he throws too much government money at the problem. When the recession bottoms out and fears ebb, voters start worrying about the deficit and he becomes Mr. Fiscal Responsibility with the wave of a wand. Harumph!
My colleague Ken Walsh, White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, has compiled a partial list of Obama flips, as follows:
He once promised Planned Parenthood that his first act as president would be to sign an abortion-rights bill into law. Now he says it is “not my highest legislative priority.”
He pledged to gay activists that he would repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which allows gays to serve in the armed forces if they don’t reveal their sexual preference...Instead, he has delayed any action to change the system.
While he released previously classified memos describing the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques, he is now trying to legally block the release of photos showing abuse of detainees, reversing his earlier position.”
Republican consultant Alex Conant recounted these flops recently on the Politico.com Web site.
During the presidential debates last year, Obama declared that capturing or killing Osama bin Laden “has to be our biggest national security priority.”...Bin Laden’s significance to Obama dissipated during the transition. By ... early January, he said killing or capturing bin Laden was not necessary to “meet our goal of protecting America.”
Early in his presidential campaign, Obama had great reservations about the costs and risks of human space flight. He said he would delay NASA’s plans to send humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars and, instead, spend that money on education. ...Now that he’s in office, Obama’s reversal is complete: “The White House budget...provides a healthy increase in NASA funding.”
President Bush’s sordid failure as a national leader provided a pass for Obama. As long as he was “anything but Bush” he won public support much more easily than any Democrat in recent history. It’s time for the American public to hold him accountable for his promises. Being the anti-Bush is no longer enough.
— Erbe is a TV host and writes this
column for Scripps Howard News Service.