Obama got the unexpected campaign gift a year ago Saturday, September 12, 2008, that powered him to the presidency when the US economy collapsed under the weight of fraud, greed and lack of government regulation. In spite of the fact Wall Street King Goldman Sachs was one of his strongest supporters, this economic debacle was the defining moment when it became obvious Obama would win the presidency.
Suddenly his promises for real change in federal policy, transparency in government, regulatory reform to get those crooks on Wall Street and campaign reform to stop the lobbyists who seem to control congress with their campaign contributions caught the attention of a public worn out by government.
Obama was an unknown and in the end in spite of all the political carnage left by the Bush years which should have given Obama a 15-18% victory margin Obama was only able to win by 6%, but he did win. Then came an endless series of appearances by the new president reiterating his campaign pledges to the people.
One year later Obama has bailed out the crooks on Wall Street, banks, insurance companies, investment houses, auto makers, even labor unions whose contracts brought down the auto industry. His first year as president has brought us the largest deficit in history, about $1.58 trillion, while he has driven the national debt to over $12 trillion, yet another record.
What about those high and lofty campaign promises? Since the economic collapse a year ago we have spent $2 trillion trying to dig out from under the hole left to us by Wall Street and Detroit yet there has not been a single regulatory reform passed by congress to control or stop any of the illegal, unethical and immoral practices that got us here in the first place.
The administration has agreed to look into the CIA to see if they can prosecute them for using torture tactics on terrorists but the investment houses and bankers whose greed nearly destroyed the world's economy and most certainly destroyed millions of American's 401 and other retirement accounts not only remain in business as usual but have even gotten billions of dollars in bonuses.
Obama also promised transparency yet his own White House personnel vetting system has no transparency, nor does his Treasury efforts with TARP, Federal Reserve efforts with many bailouts, his allocation of stimulus money, even millions of dollars in his campaign contributions.
The new Administration is even more secretive when it comes to reporting on personnel and spending than the Bush administration. More lobbyists than ever now prowl the halls of Congress looking for the next elected official to buy off and they are spending tens of millions of dollars buying up congress. Even Obama has hired a handful of lobbyists on his staff though he trashed the lobbyists when a candidate for president.
As for special interest money, the money Obama blames for most everything that goes wrong in America, nothing has been done to stop the flood of money to elected officials. Campaign reform has been all but forgotten and Obama cannot afford to address it when he may need all the money possible to save the Democrats in next year's elections.
So he has failed to fix anything that contributed to the mess we are in and maybe that is what we should expect from our elected officials. His many lofty campaign promises were just more of the same political rhetoric, intended to get votes so he could control the special interests. Yet some special interests, the chosen ones smart enough to contribute to Obama along the way, not only avoid punishment but thrive under his watch.
How about no new programs until he gives us what he promised? Real change. Transparency. Regulatory Reform. Prosecution of crooks. Restrictions on lobbyists. Stop special interest money from owning politicians. Progress to date - none.