Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama: Mixed approval ratings, 'successful first term'

By Thomas Haines, Opinion Columnist

In 2008, Barack Obama rode into the presidency on a platform of promises for change and hope.


After only four days since assuming office in January of 2009, according to Gallup, 67 percent of U.S. citizens had already approved of Barack Obama’s job as president, with 13 percent disapproving.

As of Jan. 29, 45 percent of U.S. citizens approved of his job as president, but 48 percent disapproved.

Many have become disillusioned with Barack Obama. However, it is my belief that these people are not taking everything into consideration.

We do not live in a dictatorship or tyrannical state, but in a country where three federal branches of government level checks and balances against each other.

While even many democrats have started to criticize Barack Obama for not completing some of his promises during the campaign season, they must remember that he does not have complete control of the federal government and cannot do anything he wishes at any time.

Looking at Politifact.com’s Obameter, one can see all the promises Barack Obama made during the 2008 campaign season and his progress on these promises.

With 508 promises tracked so far, Barack Obama has kept 165 promises, broken 56 promises, compromised on 51, stalled on 65 and has 169 still in the works as of publishing.

That is one-third of promises kept and only 11 percent broken.

So while many complain he didn’t keep his promise to close Guantanamo Bay or repeal the Bush Tax Cuts, they should also consider he has kept, compromised or is still working on many more.

The final thing to consider is the man who would be the president if Barack Obama had not won in 2008: John McCain.

For those who are critical of the promises broken by Barack Obama, they should still at least consider what would have happened if John McCain had won the presidency.

For example, while many are critical of Barack Obama for not repealing the Bush Tax Cuts, John McCain would have done the exact same thing. According to an interview he did in Detroit in Oct. 2007, he promised, if elected, "I will not let the Democrats roll back the Bush tax cuts."

However, many of the positives of what Obama has done might not have happened under John McCain. happened if John McCain had won the presidency.

For example, while many are critical of Barack Obama for not repealing the Bush Tax Cuts, John McCain would have done the exact same thing. According to an interview he did in Detroit in Oct. 2007, he promised, if elected, "I will not let the Democrats roll back the Bush tax cuts."

While we cannot judge Barack Obama based only on what would have happened if McCain had won or if he had full unchecked power, we can see that he has kept more than one-third of his campaign promises and is still working, or has compromised, on another 43 percent of them.

This allows him to claim what I would call a successful first term.

Thomas Haines is a junior at Pacific Lutheran University studying history. He is the vice-president of the PLU Democrats and secretary for the PLU Secular Student Alliance.