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The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises
January 21, 2009 11:04 PM   Subscribe

The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises. PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on their Obameter.
posted by Ljubljana (66 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
If the trend continues, he should be pretty much done in less than two months.
posted by inconsequentialist at 11:09 PM on January 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Erm. Is this discussion allowed here?

Ah . . . the squeals from the concern trolls and righties are as sweet as honey on my tongue. Keep squealing, piggies™.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:11 PM on January 21, 2009


Poor guy. No president has ever been under this much scrutiny...
posted by seagull.apollo at 11:13 PM on January 21, 2009


I just like the word "Obameter". It's fun to say.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:29 PM on January 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Does this mean that the US presidency has achievements now?
posted by incompressible at 11:33 PM on January 21, 2009 [19 favorites]


Six promises kept and 14 in the works? And among those six are to direct military leaders to end the war in Iraq (which he promised to do, and did, on the first day) and three are specifically designed to short-circuit influence peddling on the part of lobbyists? And he's been president since noon Monday?

Shit, bring on the scrutiny. The guy can handle it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:51 PM on January 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wait a second. Noon TUESDAY.

He's done more in one day than I have done my entire life.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 PM on January 21, 2009 [34 favorites]


Does this mean that the US presidency has achievements now?

If he fulfills all of his campaign promises, he gets to re-do his entire term of office in a cow suit.
posted by brundlefly at 11:59 PM on January 21, 2009 [30 favorites]


Just for the record, I've never seen anyone look cool clapping before.

Obama looks cool clapping.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:09 AM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Their truth-o-meter for Bush. Granted they only consider one statement, but the graph seems pretty accurate.
posted by inconsequentialist at 12:17 AM on January 22, 2009


brundlefly: If he fulfills all of his campaign promises, all of his male former(-ish) colleagues in the Senate have to come to work in drag for the rest of his term. The women have to shave their heads.

Okay, but it'd be awesome.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:28 AM on January 22, 2009


Gimme a break. Already he's doing much better than Nancy "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi. And since when have we held politicians accountable to this degree? I can't help but feel Obama is under special pressure already. Give the guy some breathing room.
posted by wastelands at 12:44 AM on January 22, 2009


Seems to be a bit of defensiveness here. Isn't this site a good thing? Rather than seeing it in a "Pfffft, he hasn't done anything" way, don't you track it in a "Woah, look at him go" way? Or is PolitiFact a right wing troll site or something? You go to the front page and they say:

"Obama wasted no time checking items off his To Do list, keeping promises on ethics and the Iraq war, and taking a major step toward closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

It all seems pretty positive to me.
posted by markr at 1:03 AM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can't wait to see what he does by next Tuesday.
posted by flatluigi at 1:08 AM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Screw all those other promises...
Where's the puppy?!
posted by markkraft at 1:08 AM on January 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also, I love any news site that has a Twitter feed. Great stuff.
posted by flatluigi at 1:11 AM on January 22, 2009


omfg obama has the cheat codes
posted by Pronoiac at 1:17 AM on January 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


omfg obama has the cheat codes

How many times do I have to press 'far left' again?
posted by zippy at 1:22 AM on January 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Where's the puppy?!

Campaign Promise #502. Currently "in the works." :)
posted by Ljubljana at 1:29 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and by the way... President Barack Hussein Obama has an 83% approval rating, with only 12% disapproval.

That essentially means that support amongst Republicans is something like 64%, with maybe 25% not approving of their new President, Barack Hussein Obama. Compare this to G.W. Bush, who ended his term with 17% approval nationwide... and presumably about 34% approval amongst Republicans.

Sure is nice to see that Republicans have a new president, Barack Hussein Obama, who they can be overwhelmingly proud of again, isn't it?! Only an unpatriotic, extremist blowhard would wish our new president ill as our country faces down some of the biggest problems faced in its long history.

Today, Americans proudly stand as one.

In the words of prominent neoconservative Grover Norquist, spoken just one day after the last presidential election...

"Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans. Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they've been fixed, then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful. They don't go around peeing on the furniture and such."

*Snip, snip!*

Attaboy, Grover. All better now!
posted by markkraft at 1:43 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


President Barack Hussein Obama

If you don't think that looks completely awesome, you can eat a bag of dicks.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:21 AM on January 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


If he needs "breathing room" from something as minor as this, then he isn't the right man for this clusterf*ck of a mess that the Bush administration has left him with.

Besides, their headline seems pretty positive, so I don't think this is intended as a gotcha.
posted by moonbiter at 2:31 AM on January 22, 2009


When the House Appropriations Committee released its plans for the stimulus bill a few days later on Jan. 16, the measure was not included. So we rate this promise Stalled. (If nothing changes before passage of the final bill, we expect we'll be moving this to Promise Broken.)

That's bullshit. Obama tried to pass the bill; he did all he could. That's not a broken promise, that's the Constitutional limits on power. Failed To Pass Congress would be more accurate.

You can only hold him responsible for actions he has the power to dictate.
posted by Malor at 2:32 AM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


"President Barack Hussein Obama . . .
If you don't think that looks completely awesome, you can eat a bag of dicks."


Exactly. The idea of well over 60% of Republicans approving of President Barack Hussein Obama... well...
posted by markkraft at 2:46 AM on January 22, 2009


Dude retook the oath with no Bible!
posted by gman at 4:05 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This site is useless without going back and doing at least 3 other Presidents for perspective.

Also, I like1 how, as a black liberal, Obama will have to be 10x better than anyone else just to win grudging respect for being "OK". Fortunately, I think he might just BE 10x better than anyone in recent memory at least.

1Not really.
posted by DU at 4:42 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


gman - I saved that photo. I might print it out and frame it, alongside my ticket to Grant Park. It's the best Oath of Office EVER.
posted by tzikeh at 4:43 AM on January 22, 2009


Did he ever keep his promise to stop smoking?

(Also, yeah, I think this is both incredibly useful and incredibly promising.)
posted by backseatpilot at 5:04 AM on January 22, 2009


Obama: 1, Nontroversy: 0
posted by odinsdream at 5:22 AM on January 22, 2009


porntipsguzzardo

Now congress has a hundred trillion dollars and EVERYONE gets health care!
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:29 AM on January 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Not be Bush: Promise Kept.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:44 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's not be silly here: Even if Bush kept all his campaign promises, it's not like you would have liked that.
posted by smackfu at 5:53 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a Brit (with, in the site's defence, all the typical levels of cynicism as regards both government and the press that that entails), it really does feel kind of skeevy and admonishing. The site may be intended to be celebratory 'dude check this guy out' stuff, but distilling everything into hard barcharts and percentages is going to make it that much easier for detractors to make and hide behind statements of the calibre "Well, the guy's only fulfilled 80% of his amazingly wide-ranging promises, the scope of which are X times greater than previous administrations Y, Z, and Omega! What about the other 20%, huh!?" It gets easier to believe it's in good tone when you read the front page news, but you'd never guess from a direct link to the meter. They should maybe add a proportional representation:

4 years = 1460 days for 510 promises = 1 complete promise every 2.86 days.
Obama is running at (6/2.86)*100 = 209% of expected capacity.

Now that's a metric.
posted by stelas at 5:57 AM on January 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sorry, cannot maths good.

6 promises in one day = 1 promise every .16 recurring days
(2.86/.16)*100 = 1,716% Obamapacity.
posted by stelas at 6:00 AM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is awesome! Great find.
posted by lunit at 6:39 AM on January 22, 2009


Even if Bush kept all his campaign promises, it's not like you would have liked that.

But at least I might have respected him.
posted by nax at 6:58 AM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have a very hard time seeing this kind of thing as positive or negative at all. Assuming we agree with their definition of "promise" and their judgment about whether or not a given result is a compromise (and that is a big assumption), everything I have read or heard from Obama himself makes me think he would be all for this kind of accountability. In fact, I'd love to see (and would not be entirely surprised by) an official White House version of this Obameter (I agree, great word), although maybe with more focus on actual Executive branch actions and less about passing laws and overturning rulings, neither of which are entirely within his control.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:05 AM on January 22, 2009


Call a friend and share the good news with them!

Just remember that the NSA is listening.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:26 AM on January 22, 2009


Bush kept his campaign promises. Unfortunately, he didn't tell America what they were. They were promises made to cronies, billionaires, and fringe partisans, whispered in back rooms, and he kept every one.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:32 AM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, but , "I asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq" is very far from "[on] my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war".

A drawdown is not a withdrawal. Merriam-Webster defines it as "the process of depleting" or "reduction". He promised to end the war, not to reduce it. Notice, however, that even "drawdown" is qualified: he merely "asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown". I find this a bafflingly small gesture, particularly since occupying armies always have withdrawal plans in their drawer, in case something horrific or pressing happens at home (or, in the case of America elsewhere in the world.)

Notice what it doesn't say. It doesn't say full withdrawal. It doesn't specify the scale of the drawdown. It doesn't say how or when the plans would ever be enacted.

Obama has shown himself to be a very skillful tactician. He is a man who appreciates the power of words and has harnessed it to his favor. If there is ambiguity in his phrasing, he meant for it to be there. It's not an accident. "Drawdown" is not a word you blurt out. It's am ambiguous word you deploy to lend drama to what is a more-or-less business as usual gesture.

I am trying to be as optimistic as the rest of you about the Obama presidency, but let's try and remember that Obama's ticket, which he rode from political obscurity to the Whitehouse, was -- until very recently -- ending the war and providing universal healthcare. We should accept no substitutes. Democracy doesn't begin and end in the voting booth. We have to apply pressure on the Obama administration to get what we want. It won't happen automatically, even with Obama.
posted by limon at 7:47 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, I doubt he's going to remove *all* our troops in Iraq, for numerous reasons. But the fact that we have troops in the area doesn't mean we are still at war. We still have troops along the border of North Korea, and troops in Japan, and troops in Turkey, etc, etc, etc, and other than North Korea, we aren't at war with any of them (and North Korea only technically). I'd say 'the war' in Iraq is already pretty over for us, and what's left to do is figure out how many troops we're leaving there (and what types), then get started drawing down to that number.

There never really was a 'war' anyway. It takes Congress to declare war and they haven't. We haven't been at war with anyone in a long time. They just misuse the word, and have ever since the 'war on drugs', which is also not a war. In a sense, Obama *can't* 'end the war'...because there is none to end.
posted by jamstigator at 8:09 AM on January 22, 2009


Dude retook the oath with no Bible!

Yeah, I was amused at how that was important enough to put in the story.
posted by rokusan at 8:11 AM on January 22, 2009


I like this thing, too, though it could use less goofiness (sliding Obama heads). It would also be nice if they included Bush and Clinton, at least, as baselines. It should not be hard to go back and forensically.
posted by rokusan at 8:12 AM on January 22, 2009


They're going to have to work faster to keep up. Guantanamo's been ordered shut, and the site's out-of-date.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:37 AM on January 22, 2009


>Dude retook the oath with no Bible!

"taking the oath with no Bible" is the new "yellow-fringed flag". REMOVE THE IMPOSTOR PRESIDENT
posted by xbonesgt at 8:50 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG No action on 489 of these! MAGIC PRESIDENT FAIL!
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like this thing, even if it can framed negatively. I like it because a lack of history or memory in politics has been a big problem since about forever. Now that recording and storing and replay are so widely available, everything a politician says or promises can be made public. See the awesome way The Daily Show catches people outright lying and contradicting themselves from only a few days apart. People running for public office should be held under higher scrutiny and made to account for things they said and promised to the people.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 AM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am trying to be as optimistic as the rest of you about the Obama presidency

Not trying very hard!
posted by smackfu at 8:58 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, at this rate we'lll be beings of pure light and energy by, oh, June at the latest.
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guantanamo's been ordered shut

Oh my God. With that one act, he has done more to restore the rule of law and our standing in the international community than anybody in the Bush administration managed in eight years,
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:13 AM on January 22, 2009


"Also, I like1 how, as a black liberal, Obama will have to be 10x better than anyone else just to win grudging respect for being "OK". Fortunately, I think he might just BE 10x better than anyone in recent memory at least."

Luckily, he comes after one of the worst presidents ever (seriously, having him in office rehabilitated Nixon's image!). It's kind of like getting an abused dog from the pound—all you have to do is not kick it, and it will be fiercely loyal.

But yeah, if he keeps going at this rate, the obameter will roll over before his second term.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on January 22, 2009


Micropromises could be the next big thing in ethics. Jaiku goes open source... hmm.
posted by Free word order! at 9:44 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone make this an igoogle gadget/app/thing yet?
posted by Lizc at 9:52 AM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


jamstigator writes "There never really was a 'war' anyway. It takes Congress to declare war and they haven't. We haven't been at war with anyone in a long time."

Well, technically, maybe, although the USSC would disagree. Still, Congress basically gave their power to Bush for a while, to use at his discretion. It's tricky, but it's not as if he went around Congress to get what he wanted. He did do that to the UN, however.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2009


limon writes "I am trying to be as optimistic as the rest of you about the Obama presidency, but let's try and remember that Obama's ticket, which he rode from political obscurity to the Whitehouse, was -- until very recently -- ending the war and providing universal healthcare. We should accept no substitutes."

I think we have to keep pressure on him, but the economy is a much larger issue right now than it was a year ago. That really has to be prioritized in a way that he probably wasn't planning on. The war he's already working on. I imagine nobody will budge on healthcare until we can get some sort of new stimulus going and get a handle on the movement of the economy, but this is an opportune time to introduce major programs. I want him to keep his promises, too, but I don't expect him to accomplish them all in the first week.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:33 AM on January 22, 2009


Geez, the guy spends a few minutes with Rick Warren, all the sudden he turns into a Promise Keeper.
posted by designbot at 11:17 AM on January 22, 2009


Did he ever keep his promise to stop smoking?

I'm pretty sure I saw him chewing gum in his car on Inauguration Day, so I guess he's still trying.
posted by topynate at 11:34 AM on January 22, 2009


If he fulfills all of his campaign promises, he gets to re-do his entire term of office in a cow suit.

There is no cow level.
posted by ersatz at 1:20 PM on January 22, 2009


Well, at least I bet he can use tags correctly. le sigh.
posted by ersatz at 1:21 PM on January 22, 2009


Holy shit I just figured out who voted for Lizard People
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:33 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Krinklyfig: Universal health care is a stimulus. A big one. Employers will be stimulated by being relieved of the cost of health care, and all those people suddenly insured will be supporting the employ of more healthcare workers. (gee, they better get more young people to go into nursing and such).

Malor: I get your idea, but making promises then blaming it on Congress misses the point. The President is supposed to lead things to go as promised, or he shouldn't promise things dependant on Congress. And we have to do our part to keep after the congresskritters.
posted by Goofyy at 1:48 PM on January 22, 2009


Goofyy, exactly. If Congress blocks him from passing his promised legislation, that's our fault more than his.
posted by Malor at 2:18 PM on January 22, 2009


It's kind of like getting an abused dog from the pound—all you have to do is not kick it, and it will be fiercely loyal.

I had a dog like this once. Her name was Princess, unfortunately. Anyway, she was the only dog I've ever had that could be trusted to sit in the yard all day long with no supervision, and not run away or try to kill anything or shit in her water bowl or whatever. Not really sure what I'm trying to say here, but there you go.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:07 PM on January 22, 2009


Malor writes "That's bullshit. Obama tried to pass the bill; he did all he could. That's not a broken promise, that's the Constitutional limits on power. Failed To Pass Congress would be more accurate.

"You can only hold him responsible for actions he has the power to dictate."


As an accountability measure though it still makes sense to hold him to this promise. Promising stuff you can't deliver is in some ways worse than failing to deliver on promises you can deliver. At least as far as honesty in campaigning goes.
posted by Mitheral at 6:34 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's not be silly here: Even if Bush kept all his campaign promises, it's not like you would have liked that.
Like promising not to send the military on "nation-building" exercises, and usher in a new era of cordial bipartisanship? Yeah, we would have hated him if he did that.
posted by verb at 12:23 AM on January 23, 2009


First Promise Broken:

"Allow five days of public comment before signing bills".

[T]he first bill Obama signed into law as president -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- got no such vetting.

In fact, the Congressional Record shows that the law was passed in the Senate on Jan. 22, 2009, passed in the House on Jan. 27, and signed by the president on Jan. 29. So only two days passed between the bill's final passage and the signing.


Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:29 PM on January 30, 2009


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