For all he has managed to accomplish in the presidency, these are perhaps the five biggest disappointments thus far. Stephen Webster of Raw Story examines Obama’s campaign promises that never came true:
1. Health care for all
Ultimately, the [health care] debate in Washington became so heated and rife with disinformation that the administration agreed to forgo the public option, using it as a bargaining chip to ensure other proposals were passed. They also gave in to Republican demands and extended the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, promising to take on the issue again in 2012. In spite of the modest legislative victory of actually getting health reform passed, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even after all the elements take effect in 2014, over 22 million Americans will still lack access to basic health services.
2. Close Guantanamo
As a symbol of everything that liberals thought to be wrong with the Bush-era, closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison should have been an easy target for the new and popular president and his Democratic super-majority in Congress — and, in fact, then-candidate Obama promised to do just that. But as he soon found out, strategic and political calculations have made it almost impossible to shuck.
3. Defend labor rights
“Understand this,” Obama said during a campaign rally in 2007. “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America.” Despite efforts by state-level Republicans in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, Florida and Indiana to curtail collective bargaining rights, the President has yet to appear at a single protest or picket line.
4. Reform the Patriot Act
Contrary to popular belief, Obama has never actually argued for a repeal of the Bush administration’s sweeping, post-9/11 security initiatives, which were passed with a mandatory “sunset” clause to overrule the concerns of civil libertarians at the time. But every time the emergency laws have been due to expire, President Obama has pushed to extend them without any reforms. Most recently, the administration sought an extension of the Patriot Act that was even longer than the one Republicans wanted.
5. End the wars
Even though the president promised his Afghan occupation would conclude in July 2011, military officials have admitted that sometime in 2014 is more likely. Elsewhere, American forces are dropping more bombs on more countries today than at any point during the Bush administration, with continued occupation forces in two massive countries even as they stage aerial bombardments of Pakistan, Libya and Yemen.