In After Hope and Change, we contrast the promises of the 2008 Obama campaign with the reality of governing.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reports:

In its latest video, the Republican National Committee (RNC) takes the Fundraiser-in-Chief to task: as Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry put it to Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest: “There are five workdays this week, and three of them, he’s fundraising.”

A growing number of conservatives and liberals alike have criticized Obama’s latest Fundraising extravaganza – particularly in light of the world crumbling around him.

24 July 2014 ·

Thomas Frank and the Meme

As many posts have indicated, the title of After Hope and Change anticipated a media meme.

At Salon, Thomas Frank speculates on the design of the Obama Library as a way of scalding POTUS for disappointing the left’s hopes for change.

In approaching this subject, let us first address the historical situation of the Obama administration. The task of museums, like that of history generally, is to document periods of great change. The task facing the makers of the Obama museum, however, will be pretty much exactly the opposite: how to document a time when America should have changed but didn’t. Its project will be to explain an age when every aspect of societal breakdown was out in the open and the old platitudes could no longer paper it over—when the meritocracy was clearly corrupt, when the financial system had devolved into organized thievery, when everyone knew that the politicians were bought and the worst criminals went unprosecuted and the middle class was in a state of collapse and the newspaper pundits were like street performers miming “seriousness” for an audience that had lost its taste for mime and seriousness both. It was a time when every thinking person could see that the reigning ideology had failed, that an epoch had ended, that the shitty consensus ideas of the 1980s had finally caved in—and when an unlikely champion arose from the mean streets of Chicago to keep the whole thing propped up nevertheless.

24 July 2014 ·

In After Hope and Change, we discuss the president’s rhetoric.  What was once fresh and new is now stale and tired.

At The Washington Free Beacon, David Rutz illustrates this point with a supercut of Obama speeches.

17 July 2014 ·

Health Insurance Premiums

In After Hope and Change, we contrast the promises of the 2008 Obama campaign with the reality of governing.

Bobby Jindal writes:

How would you feel if someone promised to give you a car, and then reneged on that pledge?  That’s how all Americans should feel when it comes to ObamaCare — because Barack Obama’s failed and discredited campaign promise to lower health insurance premiums has cost the average American family an amount equal to the price of many new cars.

During his 2008 campaign, one of then-Senator Obama’s most audacious promises was that his health plan would reduce premiums by $2,500 for the average family.  His repeatedly made his pledge on videotape; you can view those promises here.  But health insurance premiums have continued to rise — not just despite ObamaCare, but in many cases because of the law’s new regulations and mandates.

new analysis by the think-tank America Next, where I serve as honorary chairman, quantifies the massive scope of the broken promise.  Compared to 2008 — the year President Obama was elected — Americans have faced a cumulative $6,388 per individual, and $18,610 per family, in higher costs because President Obama’s health plan has failed to achieve its promised premium reductions.  Overall, that amounts to $1.2 trillion in higher premium costs due to ObamaCare’s failure to deliver.

16 July 2014 ·

Secrets and Promises

In After Hope and Change, we contrast the promises of the 2008 Obama campaign with the reality of governing.

Nick Baumann writes at Mother Jones:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama hammered George W. Bush for expanding government secrecy. Obama promised that his would be the most transparent and open administration ever. In particular, Obama criticized the Bush administration’s use of a legal loophole known as the state secrets privilege. Citing this privilege, government lawyers can keep evidence and testimony from being introduced in court that would reveal government secrets. 

In 2008, Obama griped that the Bush administration invoked the state secrets privilege “more than any other previous administration” and used it to getentire lawsuits thrown out of court. „, After Obama took office, his attorney general, Eric Holder, promised to significantly limit the use of this controversial legal doctrine. Holder vowed never to use it to “conceal violations of the law, inefficiency, or administrative error” or “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency of the United States Government.”

Despite this promise, Obama continued to assert the privilege to squelch cases about Bush-era abuses. In one instance, the Justice Department scuttled a lawsuit brought by a man who claimed he had been kidnapped by the CIA and had his penis and testicles cut with a scalpel in a Moroccan prison. And now Obama is broadening the use of this legal maneuver: In the past 18 months, the Obama administration has twice cited state secrets to prevent federal courts from considering lawsuits challenging its use of the no-fly list.

15 July 2014 ·

"Keep Away"

In After Hope and Change, we contrast the high hopes for Obama with the reality of governing

At The Hill, Amie Parnes writes:

Democrats in tough reelection races have a blunt message for President Obama: Keep away.

Obama’s approval ratings are in the basement and show no signs of improving, so Democrats are keeping their distance. On the stump, in campaign ads and at fundraisers, Obama’s absence is increasingly conspicuous.

Democrats are voicing their displeasure with his policies and campaign advisers are telling candidates to avoid being photographed with him, so as to deny Republicans effective visuals for campaign ads.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said one operative who works for a senator up for reelection in 2014. “The second term has been a bit of a disaster, his approval ratings are the lowest of his presidency and Washington is in disarray.”

Many of the Democratic senators elected in 2008 rode to office on Obama’s coattails. Six years later, they’re asking, “Barack who?”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last week avoided being at his own fundraiser while Obama was there, excusing himself on the grounds that he had to attend votes at the Capitol.

14 July 2014 ·

Photo Ops, Then and Now

In After Hope and Change, we note that President Obama gained from photos of his inspection of the Hurricane Sandy devastation. Jules Witcover writes:

President Obama’s comment that “I’m not interested in photo ops" about the border crisis during last week’s visit to Texas was akin to your neighborhood pup not being interested in chasing squirrels.

His observation that nothing “has taken place down there that I’m not intimately aware of” smacked of White House indecision at the least. Was there concern of a negative political impact of the president being photographed with kids he has vowed will be sent back to their own countries?

It will be recalled how Obama had hastened to the New Jersey shore during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy to buddy up and commiserate with Republican Gov. Chris Christie. He was rewarded then with fulsome appreciation from this conspicuous supporter of his election rival, Mitt Romney, nearing the end of that presidential campaign. Indeed, that particular photo op was later celebrated as critical in sealing Romney’s doom

13 July 2014 ·

Avoiding POTUS

In After Hope and Change, we note that President Obama carried Colorado.  But Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has been avoiding him. David Weigel writes at Slate:

The president arrived in Colorado this week. Udall did not appear with him. “It bothers me a lot,” one liberal Coloradan told a reporter, as she took her place at an Obama rally. Maybe Udall couldn’t believe that he was in a close race with Republican Cory Gardner, a cherub-faced congressman whose brightest moment in the spotlight came when he asked Kathleen Sebelius to defend the “brosurance” health care ad campaign. But Udall’s fear and trembling gave Gardner a week of easy attack lines. In campaigning, as in facing down a bear in the wilderness, it has never been a good idea to broadcast weakness.

Please remember that Mark Udall’s tap dance happened in a state that Barack Obama actually won. Twice! The 2014 election is likely to give us many more moments of gut-wrenching agony and Democrats going all Apostle Peter on the president they universally supported when elected in 2008. Members of the White House political team will grit their teeth and ask low-level campaign staffers if, you know, it would be OK for the commander-in-chief to show up. They will be told to call back in a few days. Often, they will be told, “No thanks, but send money.”

12 July 2014 ·

Obama on Katrina

In After Hope and Change, we contrast the high hopes for Obama with the reality of governing. At a 2008 campaign event in New Orleans, Obama spoke about Katrina with words that would haunt him during the 2014 border crisis and VA scandal:

We can talk about what happened for a few days in 2005. And we should. We can talk about levees that couldn’t hold; about a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent, but paralyzed and powerless; about a President who only saw the people from the window of an airplane. We can talk about a trust that was broken - the promise that our government will be prepared, will protect us, and will respond in a catastrophe.

But we also know the broken promises did not start when a storm hit, and they did not end there.

When President Bush came down to Jackson Square two weeks after the storm, the setting was spectacular and his promises soaring: “We will do what it takes,” he said. “We will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives.” But over two years later, those words have been caught in a tangle of half-measures, half-hearted leadership, and red tape.

12 July 2014 ·

What can Obama expect from his last Congress

That is the election background. Once in office, what did these fourth congresses actually do? What was the legislative product? The first thing to say is that there is no instance of a president pressing and winning a domestic program after a second midterm. It is a zero. Hope and change are yesterday’s stories.

(Source: Washington Post)

10 July 2014 ·

About This Blog

This blog supplements our book: James W. Ceaser, Andrew E. Busch, and John J. Pitney, Jr., After Hope and Change: the 2012 Elections and American Politics (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).