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By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

Rob Noel: Marred by the wrong kind of change, Obama’s first year has disappointed students

President Obama’s campaign was a symphony of feel-good rhetoric and images that appealed to our most basic human nature. It showed us the man who would be our president, a gifted speaker and a master of the trends; it also revealed an American people vulnerable to their passions and easily swept up in frenzy. A year after his election, we can peel back the charming words of “campaign Obama” and observe the disappointing results of President Obama – results for which our generation must pay.

Much of the criticism surrounding his first year centers on broken campaign promises. But the biggest thing he promised us was just “change.” Has he kept this promise? In a word: yes. It just wasn’t exactly the kind of change America expected. Instead of bipartisanship we have reports of congressional Democrats being locked out of meetings for even discussing a bill with Republicans. Instead of transparency and “all bills being online for five days prior to voting” we have 1,500 page bills being voted on at 1 a.m. without even Congress having read them. Instead of earmark reform we have billions of dollars in pork and 9,000 earmarks in one bill. Instead of a lobbyist-free government we have a czar-packed, lobbyist-filled administration. Instead of a strong foreign policy we have a bowing, apologizing president, a dramatic increase in terror-related incidents on U.S. soil and, of course, a “peace” prize. And, despite the President’s predictions regarding his stimulus package, the debt will have nearly doubled and all we have to show for it is a substantial rise in unemployment.

As pundit Bill Bennett put it, Obama is “in a war with reality.” This reality has hit America like a cold shower. Approval ratings of Congress, Obama and the Democratic Party have fallen by double digits according to leading pollsters. Obama has a lower approval rating at this point in his presidency than any other president in the 71-year history of approval polling.

An autopsy of Obama’s first year reveals more than just a few impossible promises. It reveals a fundamentally flawed liberal mindset: that the American people and their economy are powerless to affect change and growth without the help of government. Liberals wield the big government message to seem compassionate and to make conservatives look heartless. Yet Obama, who promises to have the interests of the poor and needy in mind, has taxed the job-makers and proposed cutting tax deductions on the charity of wealthy individuals. This from a man who has given an average of only 3 percent of his annual income to charity since 2004. (Sen. John McCain donated 18 percent to charity in 2006 and a whopping 26 percent in 2007.)

Obama’s out-of-control spending of other people’s money has not only killed jobs and failed to stimulate the economy, but it has increased our debt tremendously. Ironically, it is the college students who had such a heavy hand in electing Obama who will have to pay for his fiscal irresponsibility. It is also the college students who will not be able to find jobs due to the crippling burden that has been placed on businesses.

So let’s set the record straight. Republicans do not believe in abolishing all financial regulations, just those that choke growth and limit options. We believe that the less small businesses have to pay in taxes, the better chance they have to grow… and to hire. Republicans believe very strongly in charity, just not government-mandated charity. We believe in an American people who are free to earn, free to keep, free to give, free to spend, free to try, and yes… free to fail.

Has Obama stolen our freedom and ruined America? Nah. I believe history will prove Obama’s first year to be something like a bad haircut: it’s too much change, there’s little you can do about it, and it will take a long time to fix itself.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is the GW College Republicans communications director.

Readers can visit the Forum to comment on this op-ed.

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