Washington President Barack Obama has not yet achieved the big campaign promises he’ll be judged on years from now, on health care, war, the economy and so much more. It’s early, it’s a colossal load and Rome wasn’t built in 100 days.
He has delivered, though, on the work ethic he outlined back when his Republican presidential rival challenged him to suspend campaign events and confront the financial crisis. “You know,” he said then, “presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time.”
So he has.
Obama has moved ahead on the towering problem of health coverage, succeeding on the first baby steps, and has taken on still big-ticket items that other leaders might have mothballed in perilous times like these.
On foreign policy, energy and the environment, Obama the president is trying to do what Obama the candidate promised. No bait and switch here.
But he’ll be judged on results, not effort.
He’s broken some promises:
• Obama’s pledge to change the way Washington works is turning out to be a mix of gimmick, genuine reform and sidelined ambition.
• He promised repeatedly not to raise taxes on anyone but the rich, then did, approving a tobacco tax increase that disproportionately hits the poor.
His broad directions, though, are rooted in the rhetoric of his change-is-coming campaign.
He’s winding down the Iraq war, though a little more slowly than promised. He’s reached out to adversaries as he said he would, in a stark departure from President George W. Bush’s uncompromising world view.