1.“Washington is broken. My whole campaign has been premised from the start on the idea that we have to fundamentally change how Washington works.”
Obama’s exaggerated belief in his own capacity to transform Washington — not to mention his own wavering self-discipline in resisting nakedly partisan politics — looks like his most naïve miscalculation about his own power.
Obama himself has embraced this conclusion — albeit slowly.
2.• “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
3. “Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.”
4. • “I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular.”
Not really. A little, at best.
5. • “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
6. • “It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
7. • “I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President.”
It’s possible Obama at least suspected this promise was B.S. when he made it speaking to the National Council of La Raza in San Diego in July 2008. There was hardly a feint of effort in his first year of pushing the issue to passage.
8. • “What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further. We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”
Obama was talking about the growing expense of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, and in his Jan. 15, 2009, interview, five days before taking office, he vowed he was ready to make the tough calls.
9. • “Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not.”
10. • “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
Obama biographers and even friends have noted his tendency from a young age to sometimes to let self-confidence curdle into excessive self-regard.
But the main problem with Obama’s quote was not that it was immodest but that it was inaccurate.
Obama has not presided over an especially skilled political operation. Relations with key members of Congress and with key political figures in states have been frayed, driven by complaints that Obama does not do enough outreach and political fence-tending.
As for his speechifying talents, while obviously formidable on some occasions, they have not added up to effective presidential communication.