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Mailbag: 'You really need to get a grip'
Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan February 10, 2009

The e-mail is still coming in about the first Obameter ruling of Promise Broken on No. 234, " Allow five days of public comment before signing bills ." We found Obama signed his first bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act , two days after it was passed, and without public comment. We got criticism in our last mailbag (see our previous article, " Are you freaking serious ?"). Some people still think our Promise Broken ruling was dead wrong:

• "I think that your suggestion that Obama broke a promise is very hurtful to America right now. You just want headlines. You need to consider the reality of the situation, not some sophomoric effort to inflate your own self worth."

• "You are so far out of line that I will never peruse your site again. Our president has done more work for this country in the first two weeks than our last incompetent moron did in eight years. You really need to get a grip. Plus, this is not a new law and it has been thoroughly debated and commented on over the last two years. You have just made a mockery of yourselves."

But we also got letters from people defending the ruling:

• "Wow, the reaction to the broken promise article is almost shocking. To think that Obama will make it through his first full term and not break any promise is incredibly naive. Are your readers going to complain if Obama fulfills say, 70 promises, to 8 broken promises against, and cry to you then? Or are they going to be sensible, rationale people and realize he's done very well on a very tall order?"

• "Boy oh boy, do people really want to ignore the issue! Let's get real, if the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay bill is such a 'no brainer' then why not use it as an illustration that he is a man of his word and wait five days? You can blame the O'Reilly and Hannity types all you wish, but for what? They did not make the promise … Obama did. Live with it."

• "I'm a big Obama supporter and more than a little infatuated with our new leader, but I agree that your first Promise Broken rating is completely valid. It troubles me that so many people need to insist that Obama will somehow be perfect enough to uphold every promise he made during the campaign. It's important to remember that even a great man is still human. Also, circumstances change. Some of the promises that seemed progressive and wise at one time may be re-evaluated as impractical, unnecessary, or even detrimental to the country when the time to implement them arrives. … After all, eight years of 'staying the course' and never rethinking decisions hasn't exactly built us a utopia here."

• "Please don't kowtow to the people who say you should give elected officials a break. They get too many to start with. Continue to report the truth about what all of our elected officials say and hold their feet to the fire and call them out when they break their word."

We also received a thoughtful letter that urged greater civility:

• "I have read many blogs on the Internet and some are down right nasty. One thing just keeps standing out, and that is how people don't seem to be able to disagree with each other in a polite manner or to look at both sides of an issue. Do you have to be insulting to make your point? This is a free country, and we can all disagree. How or why have people gotten to the point of putting people down if they have another view? I feel very strongly that we need checks and balances in our government, and we need media reporting on such with a middle-of-the-road approach. I feel you are teaching in your articles."

Finally, we have received feedback and a suggestion for a new ruling from readers who didn't like our Compromise ruling on Promise 240 – " Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials ". We updated this ruling recently with more details on former lobbyists receiving waivers to serve in the Obama administration, but we left the ruling at Compromise. Several readers told us that ruling is too generous:

• "Obama is doing some great things, but this is a cut and dry issue. The promise was 'no lobbyists,' and so far we have two in the administration today, and it looks like more on the way."

• "I know you have this listed as Compromise, but I feel this is a Broken Promise. With his promise of 'Ethics Reform' and a 'New Era of Responsibility' and then you have two Cabinet nominees that didn't pay their taxes, and the No. 2 official at the Pentagon is a lobbyist, and others that have those kinds of connections, it is clear to me that his well-emphasized promise and campaign issue is broken. This is NOT ethics reform."

• "I applaud you for at least calling 240 a Compromise but I believe this calls for a new category. I would probably call in 'Conned.' This Executive Order has the biggest loophole. Obama has the ability to appoint a lobbyist to a position that the candidate lobbied for as he pleases. This order didn't last more than a few days before they broke it. The defense lobby is a huge one, too — this isn't some million-dollar industry. We are talking the largest budget area in the U.S., and it will soon have a former lobbyist assigned to it."

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Mailbag: 'You really need to get a grip'