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Obama First Month: Fail

OK. I have been reading a lot of Obama apologia in the last couple of weeks. And, I understand. I really do. We all want the long national nightmare to really be over, and if that means squinting our eyes until the current administration looks good then so be it, right?

I’ve also been reading a lot of Obama bashing – from people who would rather swallow hot charcoal with a chaser of mint-chocolate cyanide than say anything nice about a non-Republican. People who may have, in fact, undergone surgery that prevents the very formulation of positive thoughts about a Social Democrat. I pay these folks no more mind than I ever have. And, my dear friends, I promise you that I am not approaching the point where I would think about “going over” to their side.

But there comes a time when you have to ask for more than “not George Bush”. And, contrary to some, we’ve seen enough to get a strong first impression.

So, the crowning achievement so far is spending $800 billion on a stimulus package that nevertheless is far too “small” by the estimation of the best economists. As I’ve hinted before, I don’t think that we get to pretend that we didn’t fiddle while Rome burned and burned, and then suddenly demand to borrow steal from our grandchildren to fix the problems we’ve made for ourselves. But the politicians, I suppose, don’t have the option of letting us lie in our own beds. So, at least do something that will actually ameliorate the problem. Is that so much to ask?

And, in purely political terms, it would have been nice to avoid having the bipartisan rug pulled deftly from underneath… And that goes double when the other side needs and gets after-the-fact credit.

Finally with the stimulus, whatever happened to five days of sunlight, anyway?

Next up in the hit parade is Tim Geithner’s non-plan to save the banking system.

And, of course, there is under-vetted Cabinet appointment after under-vetted Cabinet appointment (I’ll spare you the links).

Obama the Constitutional Scholar has been seen leaving the building, and appears not to be coming back.

Put all the bad on one side, and put the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the closure of Camp X-Ray, and the executive order banning future torture on the other side… and it’s still a far cry short of what we should expect from our elected leaders.

Color me disappointed.

7 comments to Obama First Month: Fail

  • jadarm

    With the 100 million that TN is recieving from the stimulus bill for “new energies” we could re-allocate that money and …

    1. Have the Braves sign A-Rod to right at 3 years were he available.

    2. Help the Yankees to sign a bat boy.

    3. Refund the money Ted Turner gave to the UN so he can buy more land.

    4. Buy a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe.

    5. Fire Donald Trump.

    6. Buy a Van Gogh…(maybe)

    7. Buy enough tickets to make Mike Myers “The Love Guru” a Blockbuster.

    8. Buy Rivals.com from Yahoo and give it to Buck to run.

    9. Invest it with Bernard Madoff and sit back and wait on our 100 Billion.

    10. Invest it in US Bonds.

  • One month down, 95 months to go.

    I hear what you are saying but keep in mind that even Ronald Reagan did not inherit the shitstorm that Obama has inherited so this is going to take some time.

    I would not give him an “A” but I would not give him an “F” either.
    B- works for me.

    I always just remind myself that it could have been McCain / Palin and that helps bring things into perspective. But I will admit that is grading on one hell of a curve.

  • An “F”? Methinks you’re being a bit hyperbolic (or disingenuous) here. An “F” is reserved for presidencies that, through a combination of extremism and incompetence, are failures. And declaring the first month of a presidency to be a failure simply because it hasn’t lived up to your standards of excellence demonstrates a bit of hubris on your part.

    Essentially, if you believed that the first month of Obama’s presidency would be a transformation of the office then you weren’t paying attention to him or his message. Unlike many of his Democratic supporters, and to the contrary of conservative rhetoric, Obama is, at his core, a progressive centrist. This means we should expect the following traits of an Obama presidency:

    - incremental change (as opposed revolutionary change)
    - elitist appeal (as opposed to populist appeal)
    - compromise/appeasement (as opposed to demonstrative/ideological)
    - inherently optimistic (as opposed to inherently cynical)

    This was his basic message (I encourage you to listen to his democratic acceptance speech and watch his pre-election 30 minute commercial), and those who supported him either understood this or *should* have understood this. I’m a radical progressive, so I accepted the limitations of his candidacy when offering my support. I saw no significant difference from a policy perspective between him and Clinton (and Kucinich had no realistic chance), and I saw in him someone who could actually be the agent of change he claimed to be. If we’re going to elect a centrist compromising mildly-progressive policy, at least get an agent of that policy who can be inspirational.

    As to his accomplishments in the first month (?), let’s wait until the first year before handing out grades. The $800 billion bailout? You seriously think Obama should have gotten more? With ZERO Republican support in the House and only 3 Republican Senators? The cabinet appointment missteps? Compared to the Clinton transition (Guinier, Wood, Baird, for starters), Obama’s been almost smooth sailing. Bush Sr. had issues with appointments (John Tower comes to mind), and so did Reagan. And Obama’s had do deal with an economic and foreign policy mess that hasn’t been seen since Abraham Lincoln.

    An “F”? Give me a break. I would give him a “B”. The first month has not exceeded my expectations, but it has met them.

  • Tyler – “Fail” as in the internet meme, not as in a number or letter grade. It’s an ironic reference to the fact that I am very displeased.

    I’m not displeased over the number or type of his “accomplishments” in his first month. I am displeased because during this month he has given us several indications of how he would govern. I listed them in my post. And, overall, the people deserve better from their leadership. I don’t care about how centrist or progressive. I care about how true to Constitutional values – how true to campaign promises – how open and transparent – I care how effective in the matters that are taken on. On all those scores, Obama has disappointed.

  • I would like to apologize for my last post. I wrote it hastily, and was a bit more prickly (and accusatory) than I should have been.

    I too have been a little disappointed by the Obama transition, but I had anticipated a great deal of disappointment, so I kind of built that into my grade.

  • [...] Obama First Month: Fail [...]

  • JD

    I didn’t like Bush and I think Obama is going to be worse. Both have damaged our country and our rights under our Constitution. Obama was supposed to be change, he is doing the same thing Bush did – Throwing Bail Out money at it.

    This won’t fix it and is de-valuing the dollar so we will not be able to afford half of what we scrape by on now in six months. They also brought in their own crooks for the government and rammed through the bail out without giving anyone time to read it.

    Where is the hope and change – I see more of the same, just a different party in charge. Spend our money, sell our kids out.

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