Three years after pledging a new era of post-partisan cooperation, President Barack Obama on Wednesday declared war with congressional Republicans by unilaterally installing his nominee to head a new consumer protection bureau. … It was the latest milestone in Obama’s journey from bipartisan conciliator to partisan agitator, perhaps the starkest break to date from his campaign promises to change the tone in Washington.
But the move carries some risks, too. It’s another reminder of Obama’s central campaign pledge to change the culture of Washington, a town that is arguably more gridlocked and partisan than the day he took office.
President Barack Obama’s campaign team is casting him as a man of his word, countering Republican efforts to portray his White House record as nothing but a series of failed promises. But the approach carries risks that Republicans hope to capitalize on. …
But the approach exposes the president to scrutiny of his own record on the economy, which has shown signs of improvement in recent months but still remains hamstrung by high unemployment and low consumer confidence. It also generates questions about unfulfilled promises such as closing the military prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and changing the culture of Washington. Republicans intend to place a magnifying glass on Obama’s first term, pointing to what they consider a litany of failed promises to fix the economy, reduce unemployment and slash the federal deficit. The Republican National Committee has compiled a lengthy dossier of Obama’s statements, interviews and policy positions, preparing for the upcoming campaign. “We’re going to use those words against him,” said RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is circulating a video of promises the then-candidate made during an Iowa caucus victory speech in January 2008, claiming he kept the promises he made that night. Not quite.
But the health care law isn’t expected to make insurance “affordable and available to every single American,” as Obama promised.
Most glaringly, he has failed at “bringing Democrats and Republicans together” as he so optimistically promised four years ago.
During his victory speech in 2008, Obama said: “I’ll be a president who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American, the same way I expanded health care in Illinois, by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.” To be sure, the president did sign the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, but it wasn’t enacted by “bringing Democrats and Republicans together.” The bill passed the Senate on Dec. 24, 2009, by a vote of 60-39, without any Republicans voting for it. And when the House passed its version of the bill almost three months later, by a vote of 219-212, it too garnered no support from Republicans. We won’t offer any opinion about whether one side is more to blame than the other for that, but it’s simply a fact that the president failed at “bringing Democrats and Republicans together.”
Furthermore, the law falls short of making health care “affordable and available to every single American,” as promised. The law provides subsidies to help some Americans buy insurance, expands Medicaid and doesn’t allow insurance companies to exclude persons with preexisting conditions. But still, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected 23 million persons will remain uninsured — some because they can’t afford coverage. About one-third of those 23 million will be unauthorized immigrants, and not “Americans” in the sense that Obama meant. And another one-quarter will have health care “available” in the form of Medicaid, but will fail to sign up, CBO projects. But that still leaves several million Americans who won’t be covered because they are “ineligible for subsidies, are exempt from the individual mandate, choose not to comply with the mandate, or have some combination of those characteristics,” CBO said.
As the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation noted, at least a portion of the uninsured would include “people who are exempt from the mandate, in most cases because they do not have access to affordable coverage.” For instance, some individuals may earn too much to receive subsidies but not enough to afford insurance plans available to them.
At the moment, the new law is making health care slightly less affordable. Independent health care experts say the law has caused some insurance premiums to rise. As we wrote in October, the new law has caused about a 1 percent to 3 percent increase in health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family plans because of requirements for increased benefits. Last year’s premium increases cast even more doubt on another promise the president has made — that the health care law would “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”
Elections Election 2012