S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Obama Report Cards --

Georgetown University's main campus taken from...Image via Wikipedia

Elected in November of 2008, President Obama on April 29 will go into the next 100 days of his new administration. I have no idea what is magic with the number 100, outside of President Franklin Roosevelt's record-making administration during the Great Depression. Everyone with an opinion seems bent on grading the President's first hundred days. Democrats, of course, will be giving him high marks. And many Republicans will fume.

During these times of extreme stress and anxiety producing recession, the President has been about cutting wasteful or ineffective programs while dramatically increasing spending on economic rescue of the financial sector and a different set of priorities from Republicans'. The House and Senate will meet for a 2010 budget conference to compromise on their legislative differences on April 27: CQ Politics reports that "Democratic leaders would like to have the final budget adopted next week as Obama marks his first 100 days in office."

President Obama has been known to compromise, sometimes surprising people. The New York Times (4/18/09) put it this way: "Despite Major Plans, Obama Taking Softer Stands." In summary, "After pledges to change Washington, the president’s early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators and allies wondering: where’s the fight?"

Well, here is the fight -- The release of the top secret Bush Office of Legal Counsel torture memos, came after a difficult and protracted fight within the Obama administration. Nudged by events, an ACLU FOIA lawsuit, and the leaking of an International Committee of the Red Cross report on torture to the New York Times, President Obama took the very courageous decision to release the mostly unredacted classified OLC memos. The Justice Department is charged with enforcing the rule of law.

President Obama has ushered in a new era of foreign relations. The moment he took office the U.S. standing in the world improved. People of color all around the earth found new hope for a chance at success. During the first 100 days the President exercised effective leadership in his meetings in various countries in Europe and Latin America.

From Time Magazine -- Joe Klein wrote a very good article on "Sizing Up Obama's First 100 days" for the (4/23/09) Time Magazine. At the beginning Klein was discussing the President's "prose" speech at Georgetown University on April 14. To quote:

. . . Obama was making his case in the midst of a national crisis, at a moment when it seemed possible that he might enact much of what he was seeking. And he was talking about far more than a new set of policies: he was implying a new set of national values. "There's also an impatience that characterizes [Washington]," he said, "that insists on instant gratification in the form of immediate results or higher poll numbers. When a crisis hits, there is all too often a lurch from shock to trance, with everyone responding to the tempest of the moment until the furor has died down ... instead of confronting major challenges that will shape our future in a sustained and focused way." (See who's in Obama's White House.)

The combination of candor and vision and the patient explanation of complex issues was Obama at his best — and more than any other moment of his first 100 days in office, it summed up the purpose of his presidency: a radical change of course not just from his predecessor, not just from the 30-year Reagan era but also from the quick-fix, sugar-rush, attention-deficit society of the postmodern age.

From Politico -- Jim VandeHei and John Harris of Politico wrote, "100 days: What Obama wants you to read," a user's guide to 100 days stories (4/23/09). Politico published a special glossy 100 Days magazine on Friday. The authors' generallt positive story lists seven things the White House wants reporters to write: "Obama is a promise keeper. . . Obama is a game-changer. . . Obama is the decider. . . Obama's not in the bubble. . . Obama is not FDR. . . Obama is FDR. . . Obama is one cool cucumber."

From The Democratic Strategist --"Obama's 'Third Way' " is the manner that an article in The Democratic Strategist defines the Obama presidency. To quote: ". . . the president represents a sort of hybrid liberalism that reflects the market-friendly attitude of Bill Clinton's New Democrats tempered by a more traditional commitment to equality."

[Post date - 4/26/09]

See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.

Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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