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David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi
5 Feb 2016
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Ornate Expectations


For decades, we've dealt with shattered expectations and broken promises. That stinker Herbert Hoover guaranteed "a car in every garage." Lyndon Johnson pledged to wipe out "poverty." Bush the Father said "no new taxes" with a passion that made his broken pledge doubly infuriating.

With this in mind, I was aghast to learn that Barack Obama was attempting to tamp down expectations for his presidency. Obama can't tamp down expectations; Obama is an expectation.

Listen, when Scarlett Johansson tells you "we can," you know it.

Americans, though, are sticklers for promises. Surely, they are looking forward to lower taxation. Obama pledged to cut taxes "for 95 percent of all working families." (Forget those irritatingly successful Americans, who apparently are not "working.") Obama also promised to eradicate "capital gains taxes for the small businesses" and startups that "create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow."

Now, I hate to be the skunk at the party, but I have more use for a low-tech job of yesterday — a mechanic, for instance — than, say, another gadget that allows me to Twitter while driving 85 mph. "Jobs of Tomorrow!" has a nice sci-fi ring to it, but is Washington the best venue to decide what these jobs will be? I guess it's about faith, not questions.

So I have faith that Obama will keep his word and investigate this bloated federal budget left by King George "line by line" — despite the absence of a line-item veto. After all, what's procedure to a man who can promise everything?

Obama asserts that he will pay for "every dime" of his trillions in new spending "by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow."

No more loopholes. No more deficit spending. No more cheats. With these new dollars, Obama will fund fantastic new programs and turn around this massive failure we call the United States.

" Finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education" and " Finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American."


Obama would like to mandate 50 hours of community service per year for middle- and high-school students and create some kind of creepy internal national army of do-gooders.

This would allow us to shed our status as slack-jawed yokels and rejoin the enlightened world. They love us. We love them. Well, apart from those greedy Chinese and Indians who are stealing our jobs … oh, and the Colombians.

Thankfully, Obama promised lower energy prices, and "in 10 years" we can " finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East."

Why hasn't anyone ever promised that before? Yes, the entire 8 percent of oil we obtain from the Middle East can be sold to China or India now, making absolutely no difference in price or level of production. Thank goodness for populism.

Anyway, Obama has promised 5 million new high-wage jobs in renewable energy and to stop global warming, so we won't need oil for long. Obama promises more nuclear power, as well — after some polling data assured him we like the sound of it. Obama also has promised that the "central" focus of his new nuclear policy will be "eliminating all nuclear weapons."

It's a little unclear whether he means our nuclear weapons or the arsenal of (soon enough) Iran, Pakistan and Russia. No worries. Obama has promised to have a face-to-face and give these folks a what-for should anyone misbehave.

So you see, we're all here for you, man. Americans and the world. We can't let you forget your promises. Waiting won't be easy. It's difficult to be patient when you sit on the cusp of Utopia.

Please don't mess with expectations. Just bring it on home.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of "Nanny State." Visit his Web site at To find out more about David Harsanyi and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... Your crew cannot at once accuse Mr. Obama of being radical, and then run him down for putting a brake on expectations of change... They all promise some change, and that is a problem, that realistically they cannot change all, and must save some change for a second term... And they must go slow, because any change that goes too far, and gets too out of control is likely to spoil a chance of a second term.... But, if you get my point; no one can count on a second term, and if we cannot really wait for fundamental change, then putting it off even for a minute may well prove to be a mistake... If Mr. Obama is your average leader he will not lead further than he is pushed, and no one can lead where the people will not go...He would not have gotten elected if he were realistic...Mr. Jimmy Carter showed what happens to realistic leaders... And Mr. Obama could hardly have expected to be elected by ONLY pointing out the obvious, that his election was a change from Mr. Bush, while Mr. Mccain was not... Part of our problem is that when we vote for people, which is the extent of the democracy we are allowed, then we get people, and people are what they are, lazy, cowardly, and corrupt... But, we are ready for change and What the people express is what the Muslims say, that if you would change the world first change yourself... Anyone who has tried to change their own behavior as practiced for years realizes how difficult change is... But when huge numbers, having no reason what so ever to give any black person the slightest acknowledgement as a human being votes for one, and elects him president, then they have demonstrated both the need for change and the abilityto change, and that means they are looking for change, and desparate for change to a vast degree...I think the people should hold Mr. Obama's feet to the fire... I think they ought to go, and hurry him along... I don't know why you would...You perhaps, want to paint him as a hypocrite, and actor... I would let that slide if I were you... Being me, I do not expect much... People are realistic... They do not go to bed because they are promised the sun and the moon for love, and do not wake up looking for a title... Other consideration are at work...And still, they cannot deny their own basic needs that have been deferred for generations.. And if the economy spirals out of control, it is liable to hurt this people as they have never known and never expected, and it will likely change the whole political and social landscape, and all human relationships forever... I am ready, I think.. I have been looking for revolution since a child... Perahps many people have... But great masses of people do not join with change except out of absolute and undeniable need for change... The question for you might then become, Why does Mr. Obama not stop change... You can see him dragging his feet on change, which means he is taking your side... Let him... Help him... Do not give him a hard time for standing with you... Welcome him, because it means he is not with us, and no revolutionary radical... Count your blessings, because if it was me, I might turn the population loose on the rich like a pack of dogs on a pound of rotten meat...Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Nov 8, 2008 2:14 PM
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