What Happened to “Hope and Change”?

Ever noticed how Barack Obama’s tone seems radically different these days?  When he ran for president, he was a bundle of optimism, offering “Hope and Change.”

Now – all of a sudden – the world is coming to an end?

I mean, let’s face it: “Change” isn’t staffing the Executive Branch with a bunch of Clinton-era retreads, or even keeping some of the Bush people around.  So, that was the first thing to go out the window.  But I never expected the whole “Hope” thing to be tossed over the side of the boat so quickly.  Want some examples?

From the Associated Press, Jan. 30th, 2009:

WASHINGTON – President Obama says the economic slump is a “continuing disaster” for America’s families and says the country’s leaders can’t ‘drag our feet’ on finding solutions for the ailing economy.

From Bloomberg, Jan. 29th, 2009:

Distributing bonuses now “is the height of irresponsibility” Obama said at the White House, where he held a closed-door meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Vice President Joe Biden. Firms need to “show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility.”

How about the full published comments from the White House website?

We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime – a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks. Nearly two million jobs have now been lost, and on Friday we are likely to learn that we lost more jobs last year than at any time since World War II. Just in the past year, another 2.8 million Americans who want and need full-time work have had to settle for part-time jobs. Manufacturing has hit a twenty-eight year low. Many businesses cannot borrow or make payroll. Many families cannot pay their bills or their mortgage. Many workers are watching their life savings disappear. And many, many Americans are both anxious and uncertain of what the future will hold.

I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.

Wow!  What a real bummer!  After reading that, I feel half-motivated to move to Honduras, or take shelter in a Fifties-era fallout shelter!

Pretty grim frickin’ stuff.

What happened to “Yes we can!”?  I guess “Hope” took a holiday to recover from the election.

One more thing about sudden disappearance of “Change”.  From the same White House website I used above:

This crisis did not happen solely by some accident of history or normal turn of the business cycle, and we won’t get out of it by simply waiting for a better day to come, or relying on the worn-out dogmas of the past. We arrived at this point due to an era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington, DC. For years, too many Wall Street executives made imprudent and dangerous decisions, seeking profits with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny, and too little accountability. Banks made loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn’t afford. Politicians spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline, and too often focused on scoring political points instead of the problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets, and our government.

The Clinton Administration had a much shorter way of describing it: the “Decade of Greed.”  Hell, even the propaganda is being recycled from the Clintons!

Or recently, his attacks on Republicans because they decided they don’t actually want to spend money on a bunch of liberal pork projects:

“I welcome this debate, but we are not going to get relief by turning back to the same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin,” said President Obama – sounding more like Candidate Obama than at any time since he took the oath of office less than a month ago.

Obama, speaking to about 200 House Democrats at their annual retreat at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, dismissed Republican attacks against the massive spending in the stimulus.

“What do you think a stimulus is?” Obama asked incredulously. “It’s spending — that’s the whole point! Seriously.”

Stabbing hard at Republicans who once aligned themselves with his predecessor, Obama made it clear that the problems he seeks to address with his recovery plan weren’t ones of his making.

“When you start hearing arguments, on the cable chatter, just understand a couple of things,” he said. “No. 1, when they say, ‘Well, why are we spending $800 billion [when] we’ve got this huge deficit?’ – first of all, I found this deficit when I showed up, No. 1.

“I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.”

After his remarks, Obama, clearly caught up in the moment, made the party get-together feel even more like a campaign rally with his signature call-and-response chant.

“Fired up?” he asked the Democratic lawmakers. “Ready to go!” a group of them shouted back.

In his speech, Obama went on to contrast the kind words of House and Senate Republican leaders with their increasingly strident opposition to the stimulus package.

“We were complimented by Republicans saying, ‘This is a balanced package . . . we’re pleasantly surprised,’” he said. “Suddenly, what was a ‘balanced package’ is suddenly out of balance.”

Gee, I thought that Obama was going to bring a whole new kind of politics to Washington?  Blaming Republicans because they suddenly turned into fiscal conservatives (having your ranks thinned of the moderates helps in this regard) sounds like the same thing that was tried in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005…well, you get the point.  I believe, if memory serves me correct, Bill Clinton also tried the very same tactics.

Of course, what Obama promised with changing how things were done in Washington DC was eerily similar to the “New Tone” espoused by his predecessor.  Unlike his predecessor, Obama has no problem conveniently ignoring his campaign promises when it best suits his purposes.  Bush, on the other hand, scarcely EVER directly attacked his opposition in the press.

So, if you’re like me, and wondering what happened to “Hope and Change”, maybe we should all get together and hire a private investigator to track down these missing pieces.


I think the first place we should look is Ford Marcy Park.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: