In September 2008 – back when we were all in the middle of presidential election frenzy – Foreign Policy magazine printed a list of what it considered to be then-Senator Obama’s 10 worst ideas.
As we near the anniversary of the election – and of the start of our financial collapse – we look to see if any of these campaign proposals have made it to presidential policy. Did Obama actually enact his worst ideas?
Presidential campaigns are of course a strange hybrid of national and uber-local; and as we revisit the soundbites yelled to frenzied masses standing in corn fields in Nebraska, it all feels a bit, “It seemed so important at the time.”
For the most part, however, people deceive themselves about campaign rhetoric, party platforms and what is said at the debates. These things are very poor guides to the way a politician will actually govern. As you’ll see, if you voted against Obama because of his 10 worst ideas, you wasted your time. Most of these ideas probably never stood a chance of becoming policy. Judging politicians by their ideas is like a fish judging a lure: you’ll get hooked and probably surprised by how it ends.
So how should you judge a politician? Well, that’s another hook for another line some other time. For now, let’s see how Obama’s worst ideas fared.
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