Journalism in the Public Interest

Tracking Obama’s Promises

While some candidates on the presidential campaign trail treat paint promises in glittering generalities, President Obama was often quite specific about what policies he’d implement as president, with exhaustive lists of promised policy plans on his much-ballyhooed website.

As part of our ongoing “Promises Clock” feature, we’ve chosen five of these promises to keep an eye on.

We’re building our list off of the exhaustive work done by Politifact’s Obameter. (500-plus promises, and counting!) The five we’ve chosen to highlight are all doable by presidential order, meaning the new administration can’t hide behind the workings of Congress. We're starting each clock on January 20, 2009 at 12 noon, the date and time of Obama's inauguration.

Our top five:

End no-bid contracts above $25,000

End the “Stop-Loss” program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments

End the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy

Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

President Obama has issued an executive order to close Gitmo within a year. We will stop the clock once that move is completed.

Create a public “Contracts and Influence” database

What other Obama promises would you like us to start the clock on? Drop us a line. Please include a link detailing the promise. The ones we’re looking for a specific, substantive, and achievable. (Specific tax cut pledges would qualify. “Achieving world peace” wouldn’t.)

Obama promises Change - Congress must reform itself
With the advent of a new administration that has promised change, it is incumbent on the Congress to change itself as well.
What is needed are new rules that govern the relationship between members of Congress and campaign money.
One needs only to read a comment on the needed reform of regulatory bodies, combining the SEC and CFTC:
“ would call for deft politics, since they are overseen by separate congressional committees, for whose members the disbandment would mean an end to juicy campaign contributions from financial firms.”

Since that is how Congressional decisions are made, drastic reform is very necessary. Many other examples of congressional action in response to special interest pressure groups who provided financial inducements (aka campaign contributions) have been made. Many had unintended disastrous consequences.

One solution is to define as bribery any vote that favors or benefits an entity which has given campaign contributions, directly or indirectly, to a member.
Bribery is a felony that will result in loss of job in congress and indictment.

Close Gitmo by 15 April, 2009 at noon, EDT.
Close all other US detention sites by 15 June, 2009 at noon, EDT.
Grant all detainees held at Gitmo & other US sponsored detention centers entry to the USA by 15 June, 2009 at noon, EDT.  All detainees are to be freed, provided with health care for life at US expense, aided in adjusting to life as free persons in the USA or a location selected by each detainee, paid the sum of $90,000.00 pre month from the date each 1 became a US detainee [in a de facto sense] for life with increases to keep pace with the cost of living.  Yes, we can do it.  The USA has knowingly & willfully ruined the life of each detainee.  The detainees are due compensation from the USA.

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