Dec 102008
Authors: Caleb Thornton

We all know that politicians will be politicians.

So it should come as no surprise to us, the general public, when a politician does not come through on what he promised. I mean, let’s face it, getting a politician to follow through on his promises is like keeping Al Gore away from a carbon-neutral donut shop — it’s impossible, if not potentially fatal, to do.

With this knowledge in mind, I was a little surprised to read this week that some on the left are already grumbling about President-elect President Barack Obama, afraid that he is already pandering to the center and right and not following through with some of his campaign promises.

Don’t get me wrong here, I enjoy the left-fighting among itself more than I enjoy sleeping til noon, getting class cancelled or having a bottle of my favorite drink, Irn-bru (if you don’t know what that is, then find out — that stuff is addictive).

I guess I’m just having trouble understanding the logic of some on the far left in regard to this issue. I mean, did they really think that the president-elect was actually going to deliver on all the promises he made? Perhaps they forgot that the president’s duty is to do what is best for the country as a whole, which I can only assume is the logic behind some of his recent decisions.

First, the president-elect decided to keep a Bush cabinet member, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in office while nominating former rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to be secretary of state.

Sure, both may be qualified for the position, but both also supported the Iraq war in the beginning, either in word or deed, and will have a prominent role in that conflict’s future.

Speaking of which, the president-elect has also scaled back his rhetoric when it comes to Iraq, now saying that he will “design a plan for a responsible drawdown,” a far cry from what his anti-war supporters might want to hear.

Looking at the economic side of things, Obama has also done a 180 regarding the windfall profits tax on oil companies that he flaunted so often during the campaign.

He’s also backtracked when it comes to the dreaded Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, now floating the idea that he may simply let the tax cuts expire in 2010 instead of working to repeal them immediately.

Add it all up, and I’m beginning to understand why the president-elect’s liberal supporters might be a little upset — he’s not following through on some of his key promises. But again I ask what did you expect?

Look, I didn’t think Barack Obama’s policies were ever going to be good for the U.S. — that’s why I didn’t vote for the man — but there was not one minute during the campaign that I questioned the man’s intelligence or dedication to this country. I truly believe he wants to do what is right for this nation, I just happen to disagree on what that might be.

So, instead of a betrayal to his liberal constituents, perhaps what we are seeing here is some of that intelligence and dedication to the country beginning to shine through.

A windfall profits tax on oil companies, combined with a massive repeal on tax cuts was always going to be a bad idea, especially in our already debilitated economy. Picking up and running in Iraq would have been just as dangerous, leaving the Iraqi government high, dry and doomed to failure.

I have no doubt that in the future, the president-elect will make some decisions that will be detrimental to this nation, and when he does I will be right there to criticize him, but right now he’s not looking too bad.

The way things look right now, these next four years might not be so bad after all.

Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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