Friday, April 17, 2009

100 Days

Raphael Saadiq--"100 Yard Dash" (mp3)

"Tea Parties" protest taxation without representation!

Pirates on the high seas!

Scandals over a bare-armed First Lady!

Is this the 21st century or the 18th century? Or just another day at the office for still-new President Barack Obama?

Any day now, the evaluations of Obama's first 100 days in office will start appearing all over the place, and they will, no doubt, be all over the map. Many will be critical, as Obama has been blamed for pretty much everything, including the last 20 years of the U.S. economy and the disappearance of Matchbox 20 from the modern musical landscape.

Put me in the camp of giving him high marks. Here's why.

First and foremost, I give him extremely high marks for that most intangible of intangibles: I like knowing that he is my president. I like knowing that he is in the house, that his family appears to be a normal one addressing normal American family issues. I like knowing that regardless of how many crises go on at once, no matter how many irons he has in the fire, he seems to be having fun being president. That must be what pisses off the right wing the most. Here is a guy who may have his own cool factor, but what he really thinks is cool is being president. He isn't dwelling on burdens of the job or tough decisions, though they are obviously there since these are tough times; instead, he handles the job like it is a job--that he's going to give it all he has in any given day, but that he knows he isn't going to get it all done, and tomorrow, he's going to get up and keep working at it.

Even the most right wing of right wingers would not try to argue at this point that John McCain could have handled this complex economic, social, international, political landscape.

My second praise of Obama comes in response to the many criticisms against him. If you bundled them all up and took a look at them, here's what you would discover: Obama is being criticized for being the Democrat that he is. His approaches to economic troubles, to health care, to stem cell research, to Cuba, you name it, his approaches are Democratic approaches. Now, I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat, because this is not a case of right or wrong. Instead, it's a case of "if I had been elected, that's not how I would have done it." Agreed. We get that. Now acknowledge that he is the one who did get elected and he's doing it the way he said he was going to do it.

My God, he's gotten a lot done in less than 100 days:

He's gotten major legislation through.
He's conducted a successful European trip.
He's begun to address global warming.
He's reversed Bush on stem cells.
He's reversed about 10 (wrong) presidents on Cuba.
He's handled a tough decision as Commander-in-Chief with flying colors.
He's picked the NCAA national champion.
He's made the tough call that St. Louis might actually have better deep dish pizza than Chicago.
He's fulfilled his campaign promise to his family about the dog.
He's called out Rush Limbaugh.
He's begun the national health care discussion.
He's taken on Wall Street and Detroit auto.
He's begun to get us thinking about how we need to change our lifestyles.

As my friend said across the table in a bar tonight, "I like the fact that he's willing to try things. And, hey, if they don't work, then he'll try something else."

Yep, it's probably no real surprise that I'm a big fan. In a world where so many of us have to multi-task all the time, where we're talking to one person and texting another, where we're juggling work and family and concern for the environment and the love of a good meal, we've got a president who seems to understand and do all of that on a much larger scale, a scale that he handles with grace and aplomb. Is he willing to get a little down and dirty to accomplish what he wants? Yes. But guess what? I have to do the same thing every day. And I don't mind a class war, even if I'm on the losing side. I guess that makes me a liberal, too, eh?


The Kentuckian said...

It is refreshing to listen to President Obama answer questions without a defensive tone in his voice, which Bush had for most of both of his terms in office.

troutking said...

Are you out of your mind? Where do you get better pizza in St Louis than Pizzerias Uno and Due in Chicago??? But I agree on Barack. He rules.