510. While that number may not be as closely linked to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign as the slogans “Yes We Can” and “Hope and Change,” it may offer a glimpse as to why the 2012 Obama presidential campaign has failed to garner the widespread interest that his 2008 campaign did, especially among younger voters.
510 represents the number of promises now-President Obama made during his 2008 campaign, branding himself, either explicitly or implicitly, as a transformational-figure-to-be in history. In comparison, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton made less than 300 pre-office promises when they were campaigning to be leader of the free world in 1992 and 2000, respectively.
Four years after the historic 2008 campaign, there is a considerable case to be made for re-electing Obama to a second term – the vast majority of Americans are better off today than they were on this date in 2008, the U.S. auto industry is back from the precipice into profitability, and jobs are being consistently added to the U.S. economy as opposed to being lost at a clip of 800,000+ per month, as was the case in January 2009 when he took office.
However, there is a much different tenor to the Obama presidency than what the Obama candidacy would have led you to believe. Those 510 promises led to countless more expectations once Obama put his hand on the Bible and was sworn in as President. Not the least of which being that Obama would transcend cultures, nationalities, and political affiliations to lead the United States and the world into the 21st century. It may not be fair to heap that expectation on one person, but that’s what happens when you consistently reference Martin Luther King, Jr. and FDR in speeches around the nation and across the globe. After all, cooperating with a crotchety Republican Party pales in comparison to overcoming centuries of racism and oppression or defeating Adolf Hitler.
This presents a paradox as Mitt Romney pulls closer to the President in the most recent polls – the very same expectations President Obama set in his 2008 campaign that got him elected could be what costs him the election in 2012. This is especially true for younger voters that participated in the political process for the first time in 2008, inspired by the (510) promise(s) of Barack Obama.