A Question from Someone Whose Earliest Memory Is from 1989
Among my earliest life memories are the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and seeing footage of the Berlin Wall falling later that autumn. I was too young to remember George H. W. Bush's 1988 convention vow that he wouldn't raise taxes, but I do remember in 1992 when Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Bill Clinton, and others forced Bush to eat crow over his broken promise. Then Bush lost, and his defeat was attributed to his reneging on his tax pledge as though he were the first and only politician to ever fail to deliver on a campaign promise.
Those must have been simpler times or something because Barack Obama promised to close Guantanamo, not raise taxes on middle class families, cut the deficit in half, televise the health care debates, increase the transparency of his administration, allow consumers to keep their insurance plans if they liked them, reduce insurance premiums, not allow the unemployment rate to top 8 percent if his stimulus was passed, not hire lobbyists, create 2.5 million shovel ready jobs, not ship stimulus jobs overseas, and so on and so forth.
And yet the man still has a better than decent chance at winning in November. What gives? Do Americans simply have lower expectations of their presidents than they did two decades ago? Or is it only Republicans that are held to their campaign promises?
Forgive me as I hide behind my youth to ask what may well be an embarrassingly naïve question.