"PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama rhetoric, reality clash" is today's offering from Liz Sidoti, the Associated Press White House correspondent. The piece begins with a harsh assessment:
Barack Obama's optimistic campaign rhetoric has crashed headlong into the stark reality of governing.
In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That's happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers' pet projects.
But just wait. Although it's true that Obama is breaking promises faster than he made them, we can't hold that against him. Sidoti explains:
It's the same delicate dance each of his predecessors faced in moving from candidate to president, only to find he couldn't stick exactly by his word. Each was hamstrung by his responsibility to the entire nation and to individual constituencies, changes in the foreign and domestic landscapes, and the trappings of the federal government and Washington itself.
Once in the White House, presidents quickly learn they are only one part of the political system, not in charge of it. They discover the trade-offs they must make and the parties they must please to get things done. Inevitably, they find out that it's impossible to follow through completely on their campaign proposals.
Take, for example, the fact Obama signed Porkulus, a massive spending measure that included more than 8,000 earmarks. According to Sidoti:
He had little choice. The measure, a holdover from last year, was needed to keep government from shutting down. But to blunt the fallout, Obama outlined guidelines to ensure tighter restraints on the spending and made a new promise: Future earmarks won't become law so easily.
See how that works? Obama broke his promise on earmarks, but made up for it by making a new promise. It's a tough job, but one the messiah has selflessly accepted.
No doubt most presidents have had difficulty keeping their campaign promises. Then again, unlike Obama, most presidents have not enjoyed solid majorities in Congress, a never-ending campaign orchestrated by presidential loyalists, and a fawning mainstream media constantly cheering them on.
The One has all of that going for him. It's still not enough and the mainstream media are already getting their excuses for him in order.