Barack Obama has already set numerous records during his young presidency. Not the least of them is the number of promises he’s broken. It’s a development that was entirely foreseeable given candidate Obama’s soaring rhetoric, which ranged from the implausible to the absurd.
Consider earmarking. In the first presidential debate, Obama said, “…we need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” He sure sounded earnest, but conservatives remained skeptical. And for good reason. President Obama recently signed a spending bill with 9,000 earmarks, prompting criticism from just about everyone, even the New York Times, which reported that Obama signed the bill “despite campaign promises to put an end to the practice.”
Then there were candidate Obama’s constant pledges to end the culture war. But in his first few weeks in office, Obama has ensured that all Americans will be forced to pay for abortions at home and abroad. He has also taken steps to weaken laws affirming the right of health care professionals not to take part in abortions. The culture war has been rekindled.
But those promises were made before the economic crisis. And because Obama fears the economic situation could “quickly turn into a catastrophe,” any broken campaign promises are justified and in some cases mandatory.
President Obama has been handing out billion-dollar bailouts like party favors but finally found a group he felt was undeserving of assistance — those who have sacrificed more than anyone, our wounded warriors.
This week, Obama floated a proposal that would have forced military veterans to use private insurance for the cost of a service-related injury before they would be eligible for coverage through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Obama’s proposal came despite a campaign’s worth of noble rhetoric about fulfilling our obligations to our military veterans.
We’ve since learned that the administration’s proposal has died a quick death. Call it a broken promise, narrowly averted. But that this idea was considered at all reveals a disturbing ignorance about the value of our military personnel.
Ironically, in hoping to save a few bucks ($540 million) by stiffing our military heroes, Obama got closer than at any point in his young presidency to keeping his promise of post-partisanship. His ridiculous idea brought together — in opposition! — Democrats and Republicans like few issues have.
Most Americans were appalled, and veterans groups were furious. After meeting with Obama this week, the commander of the American Legion called the plan “unreasonable.” A top official of the Disabled American Veterans said the proposal was a “betrayal.” Glen M. Gardner, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, called the idea “unconscionable” and added, “it breaks a sacred trust that veterans have with their government.”
Now that Obama has backtracked on forcing wounded soldiers to help foot the bill for the economic crisis, he might be looking for other areas to cut. Here are a few suggestions.
The administration could save nearly $1 billion by ditching its “terrorist bailout” in Hamas-controlled Gaza. It’s a slap in the face of our veterans that they be given secondary status to people who vote for and support terrorists who hate America and target civilians in Israel.
Or how about cutting the billions of pork barrel projects out of the “omnibus” spending bill he just signed. And he should definitely cancel funding for ACORN and the hundreds of millions Planned Parenthood receives every year. I’m all for saving money, but not on the backs of our veterans.
That all of this is happening now suggests just how tone deaf our president is. Today marks the sixth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, a country that has undergone a profound transformation. ABC News reported this week that “dramatic changes” have taken place in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. In opinion polls of Iraqis, three quarters now say they can go where they please safely. That’s triple the share of just a couple years ago.
So while the Obama administration hesitates little before handing out billions of dollars to failed businesses and industries, it wants to punish a military that has persevered for six years to create what even the liberal media now says has won. Talk about punishing success! What will it take for our commander-in-chief to get a clue about the value of the men and women he commands?
On her first official trip as first lady last week, Michelle Obama visited Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina. Mrs. Obama remarked on how little she had known about American military families, telling ABC News, “I think I was like most Americans, pretty oblivious to the life of military families. Sort of taking it for granted.”
But I don’t think most Americans are oblivious to the lives of military families. There are few Americans who are not somehow linked to at least one of the 600,000 veterans who have served more than one combat tour. And polls consistently show that the military is the most highly respected U.S. institution.
The strong and unified response against Obama’s proposal to cut veterans’ benefits reaffirmed that most Americans do not take for granted the profound sacrifices of our men and women in combat and their families.
I’m glad Mrs. Obama has begun to appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers. The next time she visits them, she ought to take her husband.