If, as George Orwell once observed, the greatest enemy of any left-wing government is its previous propaganda, then Barack Obama’s most fearsome enemy is a small volume his campaign published in 2008: Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise. I bought it after Obama won the presidency that November, and it makes for very entertaining–and somewhat sad–reading nearly four years later.
Among the many promises Obama makes are the following: “Send Rebate Checks of $1,000 to American Families,” “Staff the Government Based on Talent, Not Political Loyalties,” and “Eliminate North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Programs.” Some of the pledges combine hubris with bad policy: “Create Five Million New Green Jobs,” “Create Automatic Workplace Pensions.” Others are just silly: “Create a ‘Craigslist’ for Service.”
No matter who you are, there’s a broken promise in this book for you. Seniors? Obama promised to “Preserve Social Security” and “Put Medicare on Solid Footing.” Greens? Obama said he would “Rally the World to Stop Global Warming.” Chicago residents? Obama pledged to “End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence.” The scale of Obama’s cult of personality can be measured by the wide scope of his disappointments today.