President Obama- the Hundred Days

President Obama - 100 days in.....

  • whirlwind of change.....enough already

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • so......when does the change start Boss ?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • pass the victory fries - plus ca change

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Steady as she goes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • what change? mad as hell - getting madder by the minute

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The beltway bandits got him......dang.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Article from the 'World in 2009'


America's new hope

Nov 19th 2008

But in 2009 Barack Obama will have to learn how to say no both at home and abroad, argues John Micklethwait.

So, Mr President, what exactly are you going to do? As Barack Obama stares down at the cheering crowds at his inauguration on January 20th 2009, America’s first black president may well remember the great buzzword of his campaign—and smile ruefully. His mantra of “Change” propelled him all the way to the White House in some style. Mr Obama did not just win the electoral college handsomely; he has the full backing of a Democratic Congress and the overwhelming support, if national polls are to be believed, of most of the rest of the world. George Bush never had such a broad political mandate.

Yet change will constrain what President Obama can actually do in 2009. Most obviously there is the cathartic change over the past year in the economy: whereas Mr Bush inherited a healthy budget surplus in 2001, in 2009 America’s budget deficit is projected to be as high as $1 trillion. But there is also foreign affairs. Back in 2000 the United States, the undisputed hegemon, was mainly at peace with the world. In 2009 Mr Obama will have troops under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, and power is shifting away from America towards the faster-growing economies of the emerging world.

How Mr Obama deals with these very different changes will determine the success of his presidency. A man who has often been accused of being all things to all people will have to start making choices. Many of these choices may disappoint his own party as well as some of his most fervent supporters around the globe.

The immediate focus in 2009 will understandably be on the economy. Mr Obama promised a lot of things to a lot of people. Even if there were more money available, he would have had to concentrate on just a few core things, such as his middle-class tax cut and his health-care plan; with fewer funds, that will be essential. He may even be able to turn the need to economise to his advantage. On health care, some of the mooted reforms in Congress look more efficient than his own one (and still deliver the universal coverage America ought to have). Meanwhile, the empty government coffers provide a perfect excuse to escape from his more pork-laden commitments.

Nevertheless, frustrations will mount, especially in his own party. With an economy in recession there will be protectionist growling from Congress which needs to be firmly resisted. There will also be reams of regulation. Many of the main Democratic constituencies have waited a long time to get their man in the White House: the unions will demand new labour rules; lawyers will want liability laws; greens will wage new environmental campaigns. All of these could slow down any economic recovery.

Young ambitious presidencies can get derailed by small causes early on: think of what the “gays in the military” fuss did to Bill Clinton in 1993. A particular worry about Mr Obama is that in his brief political career he has never obviously crossed his party on any significant issue. He will need to start saying no to Democrats soon in 2009 if he is not to betray the many independent voters who believed his campaign talk about representing the whole country.

If expectations are too high for Mr Obama in domestic policy, they are off the scale when it comes to the world abroad. Once again, the Democratic base will be a problem: it expects him to extract America from Iraq rapidly and smoothly. That was what Mr Obama once promised; but he now seems to realise that a rapid retreat from Iraq would be disastrous both for that country and for America’s reputation in the region. Meanwhile, he will also need to re-sell the Afghanistan campaign to a weary electorate: the West’s chances of prevailing depend on having more troops there, not fewer.

That brings in the issue of America’s allies. Around the world the young new president has become a symbol of what people think America should be. Merely because he is not the loathed Mr Bush, he may be able to deliver some things. The rapid closure of Guantánamo Bay would be a good start. But other things the world hopes for, such as a global-warming pact, will take a long time. Peace in the Middle East will not break out just because the new president’s middle name is Hussein: hard compromises need to be made. Mr Obama needs to spell out what he will do; and he also needs to demand more from America’s allies. That so few of them help in Afghanistan, for instance, is a disgrace, and he should say it loudly.

Just as much as at home, the new president will be tested by events abroad. There are plenty of troublemakers like Iran who will want to test the new president’s mettle. Yet, as he scrambles to deal with these immediate challenges, Mr Obama should also look to the long term—and to one thing in particular.

Salesman to the world

When historians look back on his presidency, they may well judge him most on whether he managed to bring the emerging powers into the world order and unite them behind Western values. By the time Mr Obama leaves office, which, assuming he serves two terms, will be 2017, powers like China, India and Brazil will surely have taken larger roles in the world economy. At the moment, none of them is in the G8 club, and only China has a spot on the UN Security Council. If America cannot find a way to bring China and India into the existing global power structure, they will start drifting away to form their own clubs.

It is not just institutional. China especially is nervous about Western values. The financial crisis coupled with the shredding of America’s reputation over the past eight years has given weight to those people in the regime who argue that Western capitalism and democracy are flawed, old models. The new president will have to re-sell what America stands for. That will be a long process; but, even allowing for all his other priorities, President Obama needs to start work on it in 2009.

Apologies to those who may have read this item long ago.

Inauguration looms......what can Joe and Jane Sixpack expect in the first 100 days....and what can he deliver?

Watching from afar with interest.


( is there still a sandwich stand in the middle of the 5 sided puzzle palace?)
Whether or not he can get his stimulus package through and restart the moribund US economy will depend much on Republicans. They are already hemming and hawing about it - odd, since they didn't mind giving out huge tax breaks to the wealthy.

As Paul Krugman has said, "The biggest problem facing the Obama plan, however, is likely to be the demand of many politicians for proof that the benefits of the proposed public spending justify its costs — a burden of proof never imposed on proposals for tax cuts. "


I was in DC at the last Inauguration by coincidence.....doesn't seem that long ago (and a lifetime in other ways)

[ funny the weird things that you notice - a freight train in the middle of town for instance. It was also considerably warmer]

No disrespect Kevin but I'm more interested to hear what the expectations are from Main Street, Peoria rather than MSM policy wonks - whichever fish wrapper they write for.....what does the Cleveland Plain Dealer have to say?

( grain price is in the toilet....suicides in Glom County peak.... Carrel County Picture Show due.......Hogs on the rampage...pix p7,8 &10)

The chatterati give me gas :D

Barely_Black said:
I was in DC at the last Inauguration by coincidence.....doesn't seem that long ago (and a lifetime in other ways)

[ funny the weird things that you notice - a freight train in the middle of town for instance. It was also considerably warmer]

No disrespect Kevin but I'm more interested to hear what the expectations are from Main Street, Peoria rather than MSM policy wonks - whichever fish wrapper they write for.....what does the Cleveland Plain Dealer have to say?

( grain price is in the toilet....suicides in Glom County peak.... Carrel County Picture Show due.......Hogs on the rampage...pix p7,8 &10)

The chatterati give me gas :D


Well, I work as a consultant, so travel quite a bit and talk with all kinds of people. Seems like those who are currently employed at what they perceive as a stable job aren't that worried, whereas those of us who are either free agents or unemployed are hopeful Obama's stimulus package will jump start US economy.

Problem is, what Mr. Krugman says is not policy wonk talk, but a political reality. The republicans could try to block this package - ironic that - as they don't mind pouring money into the black hole of bank aid, an unnecessary war and tax cuts for the wealthy. :roll:


Hmmm.....Great Expectations.....

SOURCE Daily Mail , Saturday 17 Jan 2009
Bush's legacy . . . and a tall order

Last updated at 3:08 AM on 17th January 2009

In three days, the curtain will finally fall on George W. Bush.

Who would have guessed as he sat in that primary school in Florida listening to children reading on September 11, 2001, that he was about to be catapulted into one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.

What followed . . . the unsuccessful invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden . . . the 'shock and awe' blitzing of Iraq based on a lie . . . the subsequent disastrous conflict . . . all ensure Bush will go down as one of the most disastrous U.S. Presidents of all time.

Under him, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, including those of more than 4,200 U.S. troops, in a war built on the falsehood that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and prosecuted with more than a hint that the Americans were cashing in by awarding billions of pounds to U.S. firms for the risible 'reconstruction' of the country they had just destroyed.

The inhuman treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib and other prisons that followed were an affront to humanity, as was the Guantanamo Bay 'terror' camp, which President-elect Obama promises to disband.

And then, of course, there are the scandals or rendition flights and waterboarding torture carried out in America's name.

Let us not forget that 178 British troops have died in Iraq too, thanks to Tony Blair's poodle-like devotion to Bush's warmongering.

Countless Muslims have been radicalised by the Iraq invasion, and the threat from Islamic terrorism to Britain has increased substantially - as we learned to our terrible cost with the Tube bombings of July 7.

And then, of course, there's the economy, stupid.

As chief executive of the biggest economy on earth, President Bush must carry ultimate responsibility for the financial mess in which we all now find ourselves.

He inherited a budget surplus of $128billion. By the end of this year the nation will have a $482billion deficit, thanks largely to the sub-prime mortgage scandal which allowed greedy banks to abandon any pretence of fiscal responsibility, thus plunging the world into fiscal meltdown.

But how will history judge George W.? Have we, perhaps, to quote his own mangled malapropisms, ' misunderestimated' him? On the plus side, after 9/11 he achieved what became his number one priority: to prevent his country from suffering further attack on its own soil. Al Qaeda has been hugely weakened.

The Bush administration was also quick to act once the scale of the financial crisis became apparent. Without Bush's initial $800billion bail out of the banks, the fallout from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and others could have been much, much worse.

But, ultimately, the President will retire to his Texan ranch leaving the world to face the biggest crisis since the Great Depression, the Middle East in flames, and with U.S. global standing at an all-time low.

This, then, is the country the 43rd President of the United States will hand on to Barack Obama at his inauguration on Tuesday. The challenges he faces could not be greater, the hopes that have been pinned on him could not be higher.

But if the task he inherits seems overwhelming, he could perhaps take note of another American faced with the seemingly impossible this week

Who would have given a cat in hell's chance to the pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III when the engines of his airliner - with 155 people on board - blew up over New York?

Yet, against seemingly insurmountable odds, he managed to bring his plane down on the Hudson River with not a single life lost.

President Obama must hope he can perform the same heroics for America. A tall order indeed

Cultural footnote for non-UK readers: The Daily Mail is a Fleet Street title with a circulation of 2.2M in period July - Dec 2008 [Source] - compared to The Times (619,000) and The Guardian (345,000) in the same period. All these are outsold by Rupert Murdoch's red top The Sun (3m daily)

Much derided by the chatterati as a 'right wing hate rag'.......but The Mail could fairly be said to represent a significant proportion of British sentiment.

( the cliche concerning The Sun, OTOH, is that it's readers don't care who rules long as she has a 38 DD chest, on view Page 3.....)



Book Reviewer
from that scurrilous pinko fag Economist,in November last:
Barack Obama's BlackBerry

Subject: Guantánamo
Nov 20th 2008

( The next president has been told that, for security reasons, he will have to give up his beloved mobile device. We’ve intercepted his last e-mails: here’s the first)*

“YOUR promise to close Guantánamo is popular. Including a clear announcement on this in your inaugural will make for great headlines. But if you have to give a firm date for closure, kick the can at least a year down the road. Remember: W. wanted to close the place too, but disposing of the 260-odd (in every sense) inmates still incarcerated there won’t be easy.

A few dozen are small fish—not to mention innocents—who we could easily send home. But there are some whose governments don’t want them, and others (eg, those Chinese Uighurs) whom their governments might torture or execute. International law says you can’t repatriate them. We’ll ask friendly countries to take a few, but you will end up having to let most go free in the United States. Some might well return to the battlefield after all we’ve done to them. But as General Barry McCaffrey has said (we’ll keep the quote handy), it’s going to be cheaper and cleaner to kill them in combat than sit on them for 15 years.

Then there are those 80 or so really hard men. President Bush wanted to try them, and could never get the law right. So now you have to deal with them. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad has “confessed” he was the brains behind 9/11. God knows what the Pakistanis or the Agency did to him in prison. But we can’t just let him go, and we can’t just let him rot, so you have to give him and his accomplices their day in court. The first big question for you is: what kind of court? You don’t like Bush’s military commissions. But if you set up special security courts with special, meaning laxer, standards of procedure and evidence, they will be called kangaroo courts too. And if you opt for regular criminal trials or courts-martial you run the risk that they will throw out evidence extracted by waterboard. Dare you let a 9/11 mastermind walk free?

Worse yet, there’s a group the Agency is sure are dedicated terrorists but on whom we have nothing that can stand up in any sort of court. The human-rights purists say you must bite the bullet and set these unconvictables free in America. But if you follow their advice it won’t just be Republicans who will say you are putting the republic in danger. You’d theoretically have a let-out if you could let these guys go and keep them under surveillance. But the Feds claim they can’t guarantee fail-safe, indefinite 24-hour monitoring of a group this size. Can we afford to take that risk?

Safer would be to move them to the mainland, where they would be held under some kind of preventive detention devised by your legal team. We can call this “temporary”, but our base will bleat that you have closed Guantánamo only by creating a new prison where America continues to detain people convicted of no crime. And they’ll have a point. Over to you.”

testing times.........anyone can steer the ship - in calm seas.......

* No, Fort Meade - they're kidding....just a literary conceit....


Well people, that's the honeymoon period over and done with.......I note the results of the poll.

This would seem to indicate that, whilst 'Ready for A Change' was the campaign theme, it's ..........kinda.......taking time ?

Be interesting to hear a staunch Dems voice telling me what has ACTUALLY been achieved thus far.....Brit media coverage is rather limited to

A) Which MP's snout is buried furthest in the trough
B) Which reality show hopeful has just been checked into a 'rest home' for shattered expectations.
C) variations on 'We're all doomed ah tell ye - DOOMED ! '






Time to get tough
Barack Obama’s first year has been good, but not great—and things are going to get a lot harder

Jan 14th 2010

| From The Economist print edition

HOW far away it seems, that bitingly cold, crystal-clear morning when almost 2m people filled the Mall from Capitol Hill to the Washington Monument to hear the new president talk of the victory of hope over fear, of unity of purpose over conflict and discord. Recalling the dark days of the war of independence, he pledged, like George Washington, that in the face of common danger Americans under his leadership would come forth to meet it. One year on, how well has he done?

Not too badly, by our reckoning (see article). In his first 12 months in office Mr Obama has overseen the stabilising of the economy, is on the point of bringing affordable health care to virtually every American citizen, has ended the era of torture, is robustly prosecuting the war in Afghanistan while gradually disengaging from Iraq; and perhaps more precious than any of these, he has cleared away much of the cloud of hatred and fear through which so much of the world saw the United States during George Bush’s presidency.

More generally, Mr Obama has run a competent, disciplined yet heterodox administration, with few of the snafus that characterised Bill Clinton’s first year. Just as important have been the roads not taken. Mr Obama has resisted the temptation to give in to the populists in his own party and saddle Wall Street with regulations that would choke it. He has eschewed punitive taxation on the entrepreneurs who animate the economy; and he has even, with the notable exception of a boneheaded tariff on cheap Chinese tyres, turned a deaf ear to the siren-song of the protectionists. In short, what’s not to like?

Only one thing, really; but it is a big one, and it is the reason why most of the achievements listed above must be qualified. Mr Obama has too often remained above the fray, too anxious to be liked, and too ready to do the popular thing now and leave the awkward stuff till later. Far from living up to the bracing rhetoric of his inaugural, he has not been tough enough. In this second year of his presidency, to quote his formerly favourite preacher, his chickens will come home to roost.

It could have been so much better
At home Mr Obama’s dangerous diffidence explains why the health bill that now seems likely to pass, while on balance a good thing rather than a bad one, is still a big disappointment. Yes, it makes provision for tens of millions of Americans who lack insurance, and many more who fear being cast into that boat should they lose their jobs. But it is expensive, and it takes only hesitant steps in the crucial direction of cost control. Constantly rising health-care charges threaten the entire federal government with bankruptcy. So it is tragic that the most comprehensive health reform in generations does so little to tackle this problem. Yet that, alas, is exactly what you would expect to happen if a president leaves the details to be written by Democrats in Congress, barely reaches out to the admittedly obstructive Republicans on issues such as tort reform, and remains magisterially aloof from much of the process.

Mr Obama’s failure to take on the spend-alls in his own party will cost him politically. His ratings are falling, and in November’s mid-term elections he looks likely, at the very least, to lose his supermajority in the Senate. Some critics argue that instead of focusing on health, he should have concentrated on jobs (the unemployment rate is two points higher than the 8% peak he predicted). That seems unfair: health care was the core part of his campaign and something America had to tackle. What has spooked the voters is the sheer cost of the scheme—and the idea that Mr Obama is unable to tackle the deficit.

They are right to be worried. The national debt is set to reach a market-rattling $12 trillion by 2015, more than double what it was when Mr Obama took over. It made sense for the government to pump money into the economy in 2009; but this year Mr Obama must show how he intends to deal with the debt. So far, he has not offered even an outline of how he intends to do so. Because he failed to be harsh with congressional Democrats (whose popularity ratings, incidentally, were a fraction of his), he will now have to do more with Republicans.

Not by carrots alone
This same reluctance to get tough, or even mildly sweaty, is felt in America’s dealings with other nations. His long-drawn-out decision on Afghanistan mirrored that on health care. Yes, by sending more troops, he did more-or-less the right thing eventually. But it seemed as if the number of troops was determined by opinion polls, rather than the mission in hand. And the protracted dithering was damaging to morale.

Mr Obama has been on a goodwill tour of the world, proffering the open hand rather than the fist. Yet he has nothing much to show for it, other than a series of slaps in the face. Israel dismissed his settlement freeze. Going to China with human rights far down the agenda and the Dalai Lama royally snubbed seems to have done Mr Obama no good at all, judging by the fiasco that was the climate-change summit in Copenhagen. Co-operation between the “G2” was supposed to help fulfil Mr Obama’s grandiose promise that his presidency would be “the moment when…our planet began to heal”. Hitting the reset button on relations with Russia has produced nothing more than a click. Offering engagement with the Iranians was worth a go, but has produced nothing yet. This generosity to America’s enemies also sits ill with a more brusque approach to staunch allies, such as Japan (see article), Britain and several east European countries.

Some worry that Mr Obama will always be a community organiser, never a commander-in-chief. In fact he did not get to the White House by merely being nice, but by being bold and often confronting awkward subjects head-on. It is not too late for him to toughen up. Firm talk about the budget in his state-of-the-union message would help. Now that the administration’s priority has shifted from engaging Iran to imposing sanctions, Mr Obama may be able to apply the stick and not the carrot. He is due to see the Dalai Lama. He might even, if he can relearn the virtues of bipartisan dealmaking, bully a climate-change bill through Congress. But this will all be a lot more difficult than anything he did in his first year.

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