PROMISES KEPT…. Whether or not one approves of President Obama’s agenda, it’s hard not to notice that he’s doing pretty much exactly what he said he’d do during the presidential campaign. None of his steps thus far have come as a total surprise; Obama is doing what he said he’d do.

It was odd, then, to see Karl Rove’s latest WSJ column accusing the president of a “bait and switch,” offering an agenda that’s far different than the one he promised before the election.

For example, Mr. Obama didn’t run promising larger deficits — but now is offering record-setting ones. He’ll add $4.9 trillion before his term ends and $7.4 trillion if given a second, doubling the national debt in five years and tripling it in 10.

Putting aside how truly hysterical it is to hear Rove whine about increasing deficits — he does remember his old boss, doesn’t he? — Obama actually told voters that in the midst of an economic crisis, deficit reduction would have to wait. Obama, as a candidate, talked about his intention to address Bush’s debts, but he also said growth was a stronger priority right now. He’s acting on that now.

Nor did Mr. Obama run promising more earmarks. Instead, he said he’d reform the earmark culture and “scour the federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts.”

Of course, Obama isn’t delivering more earmarks, Congress is — and six of the 10 biggest “pork”-lovers in the Senate are Republicans.

Today’s White House health-care summit should also remind us of one of Mr. Obama’s most popular ads, which declared, “On health care reform — two extremes. On one end, government-run health care, higher taxes. On the other, insurance companies without rules, denying coverage. Barack Obama says both extremes are wrong.”

Mr. Obama’s plan will lead us to the extreme of government-run health care. And in an effort to reach that goal, Mr. Obama’s budget proposes, as a starting point, a $630 billion fund to expand government-run health care.

One need not be a policy expert to see that Obama’s healthcare plan does not call for a “government-run” system. But Rove insists that it does. As proof, Rove points to … nothing in particular. The Republican just asserts it, as if it were fact. It’s not.

Promises have to be met. And a president who promised to be one thing cannot be another. At some point, the gap between good feelings and results, between perception and reality, closes.

It’s just so odd. If a right-wing hack doesn’t like the White House agenda, that makes sense. If a clown like Rove wants to critique policy proposals he thinks will fail, he can go right ahead.

But the agenda President Obama is presenting is the same one he ran on when he won the highest vote percentage of any candidate of either party in 20 years, and the highest for a non-incumbent in 56 years.*

So why whine incessantly about broken promises?

* corrected

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.