My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Obama's 100 Days 

Yeah, so it's two days late. What of it?

I normally don't put a lot of stock in "benchmark" moments like 100 days. But the President himself is making a big deal out of it by stealing another $20 million from his entertainment/propoganda operation in Hollywood (that, according to estimates from Glenn Beck). And, frankly, it's hard to avoid the story, since it has given the "professional journalists" ample opportunity to renew their vows to The One.

But, at any rate, it seems to me that there ARE a few things that the President can be evaluated on. Certainly, management of the West Wing is one of those areas; I would also say it's fair at this point to evaluate if there have actually been legislative accomplishments, or major initiatives started that look like they'll be easy to get through; and, on top of that, I think, especially for this President who was elected in HUGE part because of his style, it's fair to evaluate his style and how well his promises are holding up.

Management has been a joke. At best. At worst, it's been a fiasco of unprecedented scale. How many nominees for Treasury 2? How many withdrawals? How many of them can't figure out their taxes? And this is just the hugely important task of vetting and then carrying to confirmation a nominee. If the West Wing is this bad at this, its first task, how bad is it at the other tasks that come along? But you can't really stop at the nominating process--how about that personal diplomacy thing? Pretty good process they go through, given his selection of a useless DVD player for one head of state and an iPod for another. Hey, notice we haven't seen any stories about the gifts Obama gave to Chavez or the Castro Brothers? Just an aside .. . But you repeatedly got the feeling through the first 100 days that this operation lacked experience. Very amateur.

Obama's legislative achievements are the single most disappointing element for me. Not that I expected Reagan-esque spending restraint, but he talked a pretty good game during the election. And then promptly jumped in and tripled the debt. So, so far he's gotten a stimulus bill, and not too much else. He did, however get his budget, and that is a potentially devestating victory for him, because that's going to triple the debt the country faces for years to come. But it does help us put an actual grade on this aspect of his performance: D . . . .for debt.

And on style, sadly for the President, he's been somewhat exposed. This is a man who got elected, at least in part, because of his reputation for speaking. But he's given a series of mediocre speeches, and it's increasingly obvious that he can't talk without a teleprompter. In fact, he's even getting sensitive to that fact, as evidenced by him ditching the teleprompter for the second evening press conference. Unfortunately, he ended up staring into his single monitor with the most profound "deer-in-the-headlights look" I've ever seen. And then you factor in the complete halt he screeched to the other day when his 'prompter went off the reservation. It does make you wonder very seriously about how he handles diplomatic meet-and-greets. Again, amateur. But that's not the only style point that's tripping him up: his Stimulus got exactly zero Republican votes; the Budget got exactly zero Republican votes. So, pretty much, that bipartisan thing isn't working out so well. Bad style.

Not a great 100 days. There are a great many intangibles that the Left will point to--increasing sense of support around the world (though not matched by actual action), refocusing on Afghanistan, willingness to speak to Chavez and Castro (and be made a tool.) But from the standpoint of laying the groundwork for building the future, I am forced to conclude that the President has had a remarkably rough first 100 days; certainly it holds none of the accomplishments of an FDR.

Which, in the long run, is good.

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