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What Obama Has Shown, So Far, About His Style of Governing

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:16 PM
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What Obama Has Shown, So Far, About His Style of Governing
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 05:52 PM by babylonsister
What Obama Has Shown, So Far, About His Style of Governing
By Adriel Bettelheim, CQ Staff

President Barack Obama speaks about higher education in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in front of a portrait of George Washington. (Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

Blame it on Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ever since the 32nd president persuaded Congress to act on a long list of his ideas for confronting the Great Depression during his first hundred days in office, pundits, scholars and journalists have paused to measure each new president by the same chronological yardstick.

Nearly every one of them has bristled at the arbitrary metric. John F. Kennedy so reviled the standard that when presented with the draft of a speech conceding that hed not be able to fulfill all his promises in a hundred days, he is said to have angrily scratched out the 100 and replaced it with a 1,000.

And the assessments of new administrations after just a hundred days typically say less about the president than about the nations expectations for him. New occupants of the Oval Office usually spend most of the period making hundreds of top-tier appointments, getting to know some foreign leaders and trying to press their favorite proposals on Congress. None of them want their legacies to be evaluated by such relative baby steps. And sometimes the public is content to wait a while longer.

But in the case of Barack Obama , who will mark his 100-day milestone on Wednesday, the benchmark is being treated with unusual significance. As the first new president in eight years, the first African-American president ever, and a president called upon from the start to manage both a deep recession and two wars, his every move has been guaranteed an intense level of attention and comparisons to FDR are more direct than most new presidents face.

Obama has in some ways invited even more of those comparisons with his multifaceted bursts of legislative, regulatory, diplomatic and rhetorical activity unrivaled since the New Deal dawned in the spring of 1933.

Hes persuaded Congress to spend more than a quarter-trillion dollars trying to jump-start the economy. On his own authority hes altered federal rules in areas ranging from stem cell research to the treatment of suspected terrorists. Hes launched efforts to help strapped homeowners refinance their mortgages, sweep toxic assets off bank balance sheets and shore up consumer credit markets. Hes set a timetable for ending the occupation of Iraq and set about recasting the American image in the world. And whenever theres been a lull, hes given a speech or news conference designed to drive his agenda ahead.

One of the questions left lingering from the campaign was how bold will he be? There was tension between his language of conciliation and the substance of his agenda, said William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was an adviser to President Bill Clinton. Now we know, if he has to choose between audacity and conciliation, hell choose audacity. And hell accept a greater measure of division as a result.

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firedupdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 06:01 PM
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1. rec'd and kicked! n/t
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 06:14 PM
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2. What I like best is his tough-but-fair approach...
By which I mean approach the other side with an friendly open palm; if they fuck you over, smack them with it. Best example: approach to stimulus --> approach to healthcare.
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