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Our Armchair Revolutionaries

Remembering Obama’s Inaugural Promises

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”


President Barack Obama spoke these words four years ago to a captive nation -- a nation that believed hope could lead to change they could believe in. Change did indeed come to America, but not the change many people envisioned.

While we may have a lot of new laws (and debt) on the books, those radical overhauls did not happen because President Obama and congressional Democrats put an end to their false promises; in fact, they doubled down on the false promises.

In 2009, in a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, President Obama told the American Medical Association, “The cost of our health care is a threat to our economy. It's an escalating burden on our families and businesses. It's a ticking time bomb for the federal budget. And it is unsustainable for the United States of America.”

Obamacare, he promised, was the solution.

A year later, he reiterated the new “law will cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families” and “bring down our government’s long-term structural deficit.”

Now we know Obamacare was nothing more than a false promise.

In the midst of lecturing lawmakers and their constituents on the need to “quickly” increase our nation’s debt ceiling, the President said we must make sure “we are reducing our health care spending, which is the main driver of our deficits.”


The Wall Street Journal explained why, despite the President’s promises, he remains so concerned about health care spending. His administration’s “actuaries estimate that all health costs will jump 7.8% in 2014 and 6.2% on average annually for the decade thereafter. The federal share of health spending will rise 30% in 2014 alone.”

Failed policy promises are only part of the story, though.

Many Americans, of all political stripes, dared to dream of an end to the “recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” As we’ve seen in recent weeks, however, recriminations and worn-out dogmas still remain.

Responding to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, the President said, “Well look, Chuck...What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people -- the threat that ‘unless we get our way, unless you gut Medicare or Medicaid, or otherwise slash things that the American people don’t believe should be slashed, that we’re going to threaten to wreck the entire economy.’”

Gun to the head of the American people? Gut Medicare? Wreck the entire economy?

There was no “unity of purpose” in those words, nor has there been in his actions over the past four years. His call to “set aside childish things” rings hollow when he claims Republicans “are suspicious about government’s commitments, for example, to make sure that seniors have decent health care as they get older.” Remember, it is Obamacare that will lead to less choice, reduced access, and higher taxes on seniors.


Four years ago, President Obama concluded his inaugural speech with an eye toward the future and his legacy:

“Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

But as his solutions give rise to ever greater government, our freedoms slowly fall. Worse yet, the fate of future generations is in peril as our nation accumulates $47,000 in debt every single second. Only thanks to the resilience of the its people is America’s journey not yet over.

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