President Obama Should Learn to Admit His Mistakes

Obama overpromised and underdelivered

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Is there any trait more unattractive than the inability to admit error? When raising kids, one of the most important sentiments a parent can teach is, "I'm sorry; I was wrong."  As we try on different Republican presidential candidates and compare them with The One, it is important to keep in mind exactly how low the bar has been set in this regard.

[ Check out 2011: The Year in Cartoons.]

At the risk of generating some preholiday stomach upset, remember this quote from Barack Obama in June 2008:

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and ell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

[ Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Lofty words from a man who brought us the loss of more than three million jobs, the longest post-depression job creation coma, and extraordinarily unpopular, controversial, and expensive healthcare legislation. Granted, these are rather large strikes against President Obama, but we all get some things wrong. The important point, as our parents taught us, is to recognize and admit our errors and then move with alacrity to fix them.  Yet, during a recent interview on CBS, the leader of the free world went the other direction, saying:

"I didn't over-promise. And I didn't underestimate how tough this was going to be."

Maybe the irony of these statements is only apparent to veterans from the 2008 race forced to listen to every quote uttered by then-candidate Obama, but the statement above is eerily evocative of a Democratic presidential debate during which he made an obvious error. This error was staggering in its substance yet, rather than admit the mistake (or even claim "in-artful" phrasing), he made it the cornerstone of his foreign policy. For those political junkies who haven't guessed the trivia question yet, this reference is to then-candidate Obama's willingness to discount the office of the presidency of the United States by engaging in chats with tyrants intent on our nation's destruction.

[ Read Mary Kate Cary: President Obama's Arrogance and Hyperbole Are Breathtaking.

How does this connect to President Obama's promises in office?  Look no further than his signature healthcare law:

  1. "We’ll work with your employer to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year!" Barack Obama made this promise dozens of times all around the country in 2008, yet premiums continue to rise and are expected do so well into the horizon.
  2. "If you like your doctor or healthcare plan, you can keep it." Endless reports by independent modeling and forecasting firms have shown this to be completely untrue, potentially dropping tens of millions of Americans onto the state exchange rolls.
  3. Healthcare reform "would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades." Such an over-promise that it ranks up there with "I’ll respect you in the morning". No one with any serious budget knowledge believed this when it was said. Now 21 months after the bill is law, it is undeniably false.
  4. Thirty-two million new people will have healthcare. Guess what? It is now widely acknowledged that more people having a Medicaid card in their pocket is quite different from actually being able to see a doctor or receive quality care in a timely manner. Doctors, by the way, are pessimistic about the future under Obama's healthcare law. Fully 73 percent think emergency rooms will still be "overwhelmed" even after 2014 because doctors will not be able to handle the demands of increased insurance rolls.

[ See photos of healthcare reform protests.]

So where does this leave the debate? The majority of Americans (55 percent) still support a repeal of the law. That is a startling statistic given the fact that is a done deal and a fair amount of taxpayer dollars have gone into marketing it as a panacea to our nation's healthcare ills. Of course, we haven't even scratched the surface on the erosion of liberty involved in this massive government expansion. I suppose we’ll just have to wait until March 26, 2012 to see how the Supreme Court reacts. Because, as our parents also taught us, if you can’t admit that you are wrong, someone usually will do it for you. Are you listening, Mr. President?