The news media and punditry are aflutter recording and dissecting the much-touted First 100 Days of the Obama Administration. Analyses range from supplicating adoration to vitriolic condemnation. I regard the 100 Day watermark as an artificial and largely meaningless political unit of measure, however I can’t pass up the opportunity it provides to slow down and take the administration’s pulse. The metaphor is apt.

President Obama has been almost manic in his pace of governing. With energy I’m sure he hopes appears energetic and fresh but may in fact be haphazard and frenzied, he has tackled numerous issues and demonstrated a significant shift from the policies of the Bush administration, some good, and some bad. But the political rock star may find himself burning out if he keeps spending political capital at his current pace, something that is being tacitly acknowledged by his administration’s recently expanding "back burner" list of issues the president does not consider a priority (among them gun-control and international trade reform).

His biggest domestic accomplishments to date have been the passage of the much-debated stimulus plan and the massive budget that immediately followed. The president was firm in his support for these mammoth spending measures and as a result he betrayed his campaign promises of "fiscal responsibility" and frightened already skittish moderate Democrats in Congress. Token demonstrations, such as the laughable Fiscal Responsibility Summit and his demand for the members of his Cabinet to cut $100 million in spending (which would cut the projected 2009 deficit by a paltry .006%) have done little to reverse his new spendthrift image.

In foreign policy, he has begun his promised global outreach, opening dialogue with hostile leaders in both hemispheres. His infamous handshake with Chavez and silence during tag-team haranguing of US policy by a collection of South American thugs during a summit has not sat well with many. Nor was he helped when Fidel Castro flatly stamped out the hopes of many of both the American right and left of an opening of Cuba when he stated that the communist nation would not reciprocate Obama’s goodwill gestures by releasing political prisoners. North Korea has grown more aggressive and less cooperative, launching a missile, ejecting nuclear inspectors and withdrawing from multilateral talks.

The president has released memos detailing enhanced interrogation techniques that has generated fierce debate. Whether you agree with the release of these memos or not, it was politically an ill-advised battle to pick. Already the hypocrisy of his own party is being exposed as leading Democrats who both knew of and approved the techniques in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks are now demanding prosecutions for Bush administration officials who implemented them (see here). Additionally, he has made himself and his party vulnerable to a significant backlash should another attack occur on American soil.

Republicans, for whom innumerable obituaries were written following Obama’s election, are now finding limited traction with which to regain strength. Where once the stated policy of the GOP was to refrain from attacking Obama due to his popularity and instead focus on assailing Congressional Democrats, Republican leaders are now becoming more aggressive toward the president as he becomes more and more entangled in the brambles he himself has sown.

Furthermore, George Will has rightly pointed out that Obama may not be doing himself any favors with his insistence on remaining in the faces of the American public 24/7 (see here). Once considered a brilliant and fresh tactic of creating transparency and accessibility, his regular internet addresses and public appearances may instead be tiring Americans with already short attention spans out. The Obama mystique, consequently, is unraveling more rapidly than most pundits had predicted. This, combined with his insistence on spreading himself thin politically as well, may set the tone for the rest of his first term.

Still on the docket: health care reform, entitlement reform (including social security), education reform, renewed nuclear disarmament talks with Russia, and much much more. While Obama’s approval ratings remain above 60%, he cannot continue at his current pace and expect to get much done with the remainder of his first term.


Superb Jon said...

Obama marks the end of the Burke Maritan Buckley model of conservatism based on collectivist labor unions, police suppression of the Bill of Rights, middle class subsidies for homes and schools under the watchful eye of Knights of Columbus, Opus Dei and the East Side Conservative Club. They had no qualms hijacking American policy in Vietnam or Balkans to papal ends, but when American interests opposed tose of the papacy in Iraq, they showed their true fangs (Frum, Unpatriotic Conservatives). They broke their own coalition with their foreign adventures and with their unwillingness to extend home and school subsidies to other races, as evidenced by their missing their own Obama moment when they could have elected a Kenyan pope. Every American boom has been caused by an Evangelical Revival and every major Depression by the domination of new Catholic immigrants. See for example George Marlin's history of the conservative party in New York or Paul Johnson's Modern Times, extolling the rise of Carolignianism of Adenauer, de Gaulle, and Gaspieri, forgetting that Hitler, too, was Carolignian and a Catholic altar boy. Carolignian Brzezinski spawned Zia al Haq, Khomeini, and bin Laden - breaks up superpowers via Aztlan and Kosovo as per Joel Garreau's Nine Nations. Brzezinski, Buckley and Buchanan winked anti-Semitic votes for Obama, delivered USA to Pope's feudal basket of Bamana Republics. Michael Pfleger and Joe Biden prove Obama is the Pope's boy. Obama is half a Kearney from County Offaly in Ireland. Talal got Pontifical medal as Fatima mandates Catholic-Muslim union against Jews (Francis Johnson, Great Sign, 1979, p. 126), Catholic Roger Taney wrote Dred Scott decision. John Wilkes Booth, Tammany Hall and Joe McCarthy were Catholics. Now Catholic majority Supreme Court. Catholics Palmisano, Grasso, Damato, Langone, Dioguardi, Palmieri destroyed American industry. Subprime construction mobsters had hookers deliver mortgages to banks. McCain's Keeting started it all. They find American cars too advanced to use or their mechanics to fix. Their slovenly, anti-intellectual work ethic produces vacuous, casuistrous blather and a tangle of contradictory regulations. NYC top drop outs: Hispanic 32%, Black 25%, Italian 20%. NYC top illegals: Ecuadorean, Italian, Polish. Ate glis-glis but blamed plague on others, now lettuce coli. Their bigotry most encouraged terror yet they reap most security funds. Rabbi circumcises lower, Pope upper brain. Tort explosion by glib casuistry. Hollywood Joe Kennedy had Bing Crosby proselytise.Bazelya 1992 case proves PLO-IRA-KLA links. Our enemy is the Peking-Mecca-Vatican Axis and the only answer is alliance with Israel and India.

Hariolor said...

I am not entirely clear what on earth Superb Jon is saying...but in the interest of protecting the internet as a bastion of free speech, let's applaud his insanity.

Thanks for taking your mindless blithering diatribe into the public forum where it can be ridiculed appropriately!

Also, WTF dude?

Tony Cannizzaro said...

As galactic overlord of the Pan Omniscient Polarizing Ecclesiastics (code name POPE), I hereby endorse Superb Jon's eloquent observations. You may also consider this implicit support from Carolignianimous, our immortal trans-dimensional four-headed spider queen.

Also, she says hi.