This post was originally posted at FRS FreeStates on Blogger
It's been just 100 days of the Barack Obama Administration (note the title of this blog), but already there seems to be a pattern to how President Obama will govern. The first few weeks seemed shaky, with some executive appointments that had to be pulled back, such as former Senate Leader Tom Daschle to be Secretary of HHS. Daschle didn't report a car service that he used while in the Senate on his taxes, which was required. The President appointed New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner to be Secretary of Treasury, but he failed to report some of his income to the IRS when he worked at the World Bank. If you, I, Joe and Jane Jones, etc. don't pay their taxes, we go to jail or pay a steep fine or both, but Tim Geithner, because of who he is, gets away with it. Sounds like a double standard to me. I don't think the White House has a strong enough vetting process.
I do think that once Barack Obama and Joe Biden were sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States, they got to work right away and showed us they understood the issues they faced, whether it was Afghanistan and Iraq by appointing General David Petraeus to be Central Commander and acknowledging that they didn't have enough troops there, or veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke to be an envoy to Central Asia.
They understood the economy and got to work quickly with Congress to write a badly needed Recovery Act for the sluggish economy. However, I disagree with much of what was in the Recovery Act, since I think it spends too much on things that have as little to do with stimulating the economy as classical music has to do with heavy metal; for example, health IT as well as additional money for the NEA didn't do enough to stimulate the economy. Actions that would actually stimulate the economy are infrastructure projects, small business tax relief, and capital gains tax relief so people could start rebuilding their retirement accounts. What was in the Recovery Act was either wasteful, like the NEA spending, or not enough, like the Make Work Pay Tax Credit, $500 for an individual that should've been twice as much.
Then Senator Obama, when he was running for President in 2008, ran on the theme "change that we can believe in." Part of that idea was changing how the Federal Government operated. We were going to stop borrowing and spending and mortgaging our children's future, to get lobbyists out of government, and to end congressional earmarks as we knew them. Even though Barack Obama has been President for only 100 days, he's managed to break all three of those promises. The gigantic Omnibus Spending Bill of some $400 billion back in February had over 1,000 earmarks in it, and the Wall Street, Detroit, and homeowners' bailouts borrowed over $1 trillion. In President Obama's first 100 days, he signed an executive order banning lobbyists from serving in the Federal Government. Within a couple of days of signing that order, he had already made a couple of exceptions.
As I said, President Obama has a strong grasp of the issues and knows what his administration is facing and has the potential to be a great president. But for "change that we can believe in" to be anything more then a cute campaign slogan, he's going to have to start making positive changes or that campaign slogan will be nothing more than that. Right now I would give President Obama a B-, with a lot of potential to improve.