Skip to comments.Introducing the Obameter to track campaign promises
Posted on 01/15/2009 9:02:53 AM PST by Nachum
Barack Obama has often said Americans need to keep a close eye on their leaders.
"I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable," he said in a campaign blog last summer. "I'm not exempt from that. I'm certainly not perfect and expect to be held accountable too."
He made the same point in a September campaign speech on education.
"I want you to hold our government accountable," Obama said. "I want you to hold me accountable."
Okay, we will.
PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times' fact-checking Web site, launches an unprecedented journalistic effort today to track Obama's campaign promises and measure the progress of his presidency. Using our new Obameter, we will track each promise we've identified 510 of them and rate whether it was kept, broken or compromised. Those ratings will be tallied on our Web site, creating an up-to-the-minute report card on the Obama White House.
We're also sending our Truth-O-Meter to Washington as we shift the focus of our fact-checking from campaigns to government. We'll be fact-checking statements by Obama, members of Congress, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up on the issues of the day.
We'll use the same approach we used during the presidential campaign. We'll research the statements and rate them from True to False. The most ridiculous claims will get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire.
For the Obameter, our ambitious new campaign promise initiative, PolitiFact writers Angie Drobnic Holan and Robert Farley have spent the past six weeks digging through Obama's campaign Web site, position papers, speeches, interviews and debate transcripts. The 510 promises they unearthed is a stunning number, more than Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made combined. (I recognize there are limitations to such comparisons because of differences between our methodology and what other news organizations used in 1992 and 2000. But we believe it's still accurate to say that Obama has promised considerably more.)
Obama's promises cover everything from tax cuts to weather forecasting, from ending the Iraq war to educating hunters. Some are quite sweeping (Promise No. 265: "Restore the Great Lakes") while others are very specific (No. 272: "Encourage the use of methane digesters.")
Building on the success of our Truth-O-Meter, we created the Obameter, which will track the progress of each promise and then declare whether it has been fulfilled. (You can read more about our Obameter rating system on PolitiFact.com.)
An important point: When we say a promise is broken, that is not necessarily a negative thing or a failure by Obama. The failure to enact a promise might simply reflect that priorities of the Congress or the American people have changed since he made the promise. Or it could indicate that Obama decided there were higher priorities.
I hope you'll check the site often to see our latest ratings and an up-to-date report card on how Obama is doing. The number of promises may change slightly as we learn about new ones or conclude, upon reconsideration, that a particular statement doesn't quite qualify as a promise. As always, we want your feedback.
With the Obameter and the improvements to our site, PolitiFact will continue to pioneer new forms of accountability in political journalism. Although we rely on the new technology of the Web to publish our work, our mission remains a simple and traditional one: to empower democracy.
This would be a fun visual to deal with.
No picture at link.
There isn’t any yet. They are going to start to keep it at that site.- for future reference.
Please ping me when they actually put something on line.
Great News!! I was going to try to do this manually but I’m glad someone is taking the initiative over the net - just need to make sure who backs the site!
After Republicans gained the majority in the House in 1995, the chamber adopted rules to limit the terms of all committee chairs to three terms in order to reward new ideas, innovation, and merit rather than the strict longevity that determined chairmanships in the past a reform that was reversed last week by the new Democratic rules package. The new rules imposed upon Congress by the Democrats consolidate the power of Committee chairs by ending those term limits.
They further shut down free and open debate on the House floor by refusing to allow all members the opportunity to offer substantive alternatives to important legislation opportunities that Republicans guaranteed to Democrats as motions to recommit during their 12 years in the Minority. This proposed change prevents conservative Members from exposing and offering proposals to eliminate tax increases and earmarks hidden by the Democratic Majority in larger pieces of legislation.
Another one of the rule changes pushed through by liberals acts as a gag order. It effectively eliminates the minority members rights to give opening statements during Congressional Hearings. On top of that Democrats have basically given themselves the ability to subpoena anyone at anytime - no matter the cause.
Democrats have also set up an unfair advantage by breaking with tradition and stacking the most influential committees with extra members from their party.
Unfair ratios can be found on other major committees as well, including Ways and Means, Appropriations and Education and Labor. It all adds up to millions of Americans being left without proportional or adequate representation in committees responsible for writing critical legislation that will affect the lives of every citizen.
These new rules are turning President Obamas pledge of openness and transparency into another empty political promise.
The new president wants Congress to work together to pass legislation to help our ailing economy, but Nancy Pelosi and the other Democratic leaders have crafted rules to shut Republicans out of the process.
And for those of you that still dont think rules and processes are important, remember the rules and processes are what separate the United States from military dictatorships. The rules and processes are what ensure our government is of, for and by the people. from my Congresscritter.
From me: Thanks to all you “I’m voting for º” or “I’m not voting, just to show the Republicans” people who have allowed the worse thing in history to happen. I hope you can sleep at night. Actually, I hope you can’t sleep. I doubt you’ll be able to sleep once this socialist regime really gets going.
Weasel words. The failure to enact a promise is a failure to enact a promise. End of story.
I think it was greater than 510 but the rest are reserved for his third and fourth terms.