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Thursday, Apr 9, 2009, 3:06 pm

Change We Can Track: Meet the Obameter

By Jeremy Gantz

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The St. Petersburg Times has a great little project at dedicated to tracking each one of Barack Obama's 514 campaign promises, and what became of them. The answer is: thus far, not too much. But it's early yet.

Nearly three months after moving into the White House, Obama hasn't moved on 416 of his promises, according the Obameter. But he's only broken four promises.

According to Times reporters, Obama's latest broken promise is his failure to recognize the Armenian genocide for what it was: a genocide. While in Turkey earlier this week, Obama did not use the word genocide when a Chicago Tribune reporter wondered if he had asked Turkey's president to recognize events between 1916 and 1923 as genocide. Obama began his reply by saying:

Well, my views are on the record and I have not changed views. What I have been very encouraged by is news that under President Gul's leadership, you are seeing a series of negotiations, a process, in place between Armenia and Turkey to resolve a whole host of longstanding issues, including this one.

The Obameters' stewards believe his failure to explicitly recognize the genocide in Turkey constitutes a broken promise:

There are some who might argue that Obama is using wise diplomacy here, that as a guest in Turkey he was right not to antagonize his host, and that he could keep his promise when he's back in the United States. But we think Obama is trying to have it both ways. He says his views haven't changed, but he clearly avoids stating those views. And he does not use the term "genocide," which was the heart of what his campaign promise was all about. When he made the promise, Obama specifically referred to a diplomat who had been fired for using the word genocide; Obama during the campaign said the diplomat had used the word "properly." The argument that it is undiplomatic to antagonize Turkey is the same argument Bush administration officials used when they successfully opposed the 2007 resolution in the House of Representatives.

What do you think?

Jeremy Gantz is a contributing editor at the magazine. He is the editor of The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People (2017, Verso), and was the Web/Associate Editor of In These Times from 2008 to 2012.

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