Elected on the vacuous slogans of “hope” and “change,” the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency has proven to be one of broken promises, failed leadership and blame shifting. While he works to satisfy the most strident elements of his political base, the rest of America is reminded that it takes more than tele-prompted rhetoric to serve in the highest office of the land.

The first American president to bow before foreign royalty, his administration has refused to acknowledge the facts about the climate change scandal. He promised an open and transparent debate on health care reform, even as he and his staff slammed shut the doors on the American people.

This president has unceremoniously placed the blame for every problem, real or imagined, at the feet of his predecessors. He is our Victim-in-Chief.

He presided over a trillion-dollar “stimulus” scheme that has not only (predictably) failed to deliver any economic stimulus, but unconstitutionally put the government in ownership of auto manufacturers. The administration’s pledge of transparency in stimulus was turned into a joke, as a White House web site made references to spending (and alleged job gains) in non-existent congressional districts.

As the Wall Street Journal notes today, the United States’ economy – after one year of Obama – is no longer the freest in North America. That distinction now rests with Canada.

Apparently only government grows under the Obama vision of economic growth.

He is proposing massive taxes on the American population in the name of socializing medicine, even as his own experts agree the same number of Americans won’t have access to health insurance! And to protect his political base, his administration has embraced bizarre schemes to shield unions from the taxes the rest of us will bear.

Despite pledges to get Americans working, President Obama has managed to support only job-killing initiatives like the “cap-and-trade” tax program. Thanks to his promotion of big government solutions over sound thinking, unemployment has risen, not lowered, during his year in office.

This president has taken political correctness to new lows. Without knowing the facts, he all but accused an honorable police officer of racism within a day of a local arrest. Meanwhile, it took the president days to finally acknowledge what intelligence agencies knew and the world saw: the Christmas Day attempted-bomber was also an Islamist terrorist.

And when a cowardly extremist killed unarmed men and women at Fort Hood, the president urged Americans not to jump to conclusions about the terrorist’s motives.

His promises to control the federal debt are comical, as he piles more and more on Americans in a desperate bid to buy votes or appease constituencies that live off government largesse. Even as the nation snickered at the antics of ACORN’s clearly corrupt corporate culture, his administration ignored the problems and pushed plans to keep his former employer relevant.

At every policy turn this year, the president has sought to impose federal rules where the Constitution left authority to the states.

In this, Texans have found the reassurance of conservative leaders willing to say no, and to govern to the right. Gov. Rick Perry and legislature leadership refused the most obnoxiously federalizing stimulus dollars, those that would have fundamentally altered the unemployment insurance situation in Texas. The governor just recently refused dollars that would cede control of Texas’ education system to a federal bureaucracy and undefined standards.

While every other big state wallows in debt, job losses and economic malaise, Texas alone has seen private sector job creation, population growth and positive economic news. Around the country, business leaders are plotting moves to the Lone Star State.

President Obama made his election personal, presuming the frustration Americans had with a president who governed to the middle-left (Bush’s prescription drug benefit, No Child Left Behind, massive federal spending hikes, etc.) was a tacit endorsement of his desire to socialize medicine, fully federalize education, and post even higher debts.

Barack Obama became president because he wasn’t his predecessor. He can blame whomever he likes, but the buck stops at the White House. His brand of hope has proven to be fiscally hopeless, and Americans learned this year that ill-defined change for change’s sake is extremely costly.

It’s not too late for this Democratic president to have a successful presidency. The last Democrat to serve in the White House began by governing for the left, only to find the nation prefers the center-right. He shifted his focus, worked with conservatives, and the nation prospered.

Bill Clinton listened to his critics and carried the day politically as a result. In pursuit of an extremist ideological agenda, President Obama has thus far roundly ignored – even shut out – what could be useful criticisms and recommendations from the people. His popularity has plummeted.

It’s not too late for President Obama to improve. If he does, he and the nation will benefit.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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