Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama at 137 Days!

All those attempts to evaluate Obama's presidency at 100 days were kind of lame, mainly because FDR started the first 100 days thing, and since we haven't exactly elected many people of his caliber in the last 80 years, it doesn't usually lead to flattering comparisons. And besides, 100 days is a pretty arbitrary time to evaluate someone anyway, since Obama has mostly been laying the groundwork for stuff that will happen later on the legislative calender.

But today's earlier post got me thinking: You know what's not an arbitrary time to evaluate the President? 137 Days!

What would you call his high point and low point over the first 137 days of what will (hopefully) be 8 years as president?

As I said in the earlier post, my high point would have to be his strong stand against Israel's attempts to expand settlements, and his reaction to the political backlash that followed. A rule I've learned following US politics is that you should always expect politicians to cave to AIPAC at all times, no matter the issue, no matter the reason, and no matter how awesome that politician may be in other areas. So when politicians actually do take a stand against that lobby, it should be seen as a major act of political courage. While putting up real opposition to Israel on the creation of new settlements may not seem like a huge deal, it's the first time in at least in my lifetime that a US leader has actually said "no" to Israel on a legitimate issue, and then not backed down to the political pressure that followed. Definitely the high in my book, and a great sign for the potential resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

As you might have guessed from reading this blog, my low point would have to be the handling of the banking crisis. Considering that Obama has followed a center-right path on economic issues throughout is career and campaign, I was fully prepared for center right economists to populate his cabinet. Unfortunately we got something much worse with two people who have direct responsibility for the financial crisis in both their actions and their devotion to the failed ideology that caused it. This has led to a series of awful decisions, topped by "Geithner's toxic asset plan" which amounts to a trillion dollar transfer of wealth from the US Treasury to the pockets of hedge fund managers. I'd say that qualifies as a low.

What are your thoughts at this all important juncture of day 137?

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