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Rich: Enough With The First 100 days

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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:45 PM
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Rich: Enough With The First 100 days
Well see how Obamas vast plans play out. Well see what unexpected nightmares, bigger than the swine flu, materialize on his watch. The 100 Days celebrations could not fade soon enough, because neither he nor the country should be lulled into resting easy. There are at least two toxic fiefdoms to keep the president and us awake at night: Pakistan and Wall Street. Both could wreak further untold catastrophe. Obama has control over neither, and in the case of the financial sector, he is fielding a team dominated by Robert Rubin protgs whose wisdom remains, to put it generously, unproven.

But if those are the obvious hotspots for this presidency, there is also the domestic political culture to worry about. The Republican Party has collapsed, and that is not a good thing for the country or for Obama. We need more than one functioning party, not just to ensure checks and balances and pitch in ideas at a time of crisis, but to temper this presidents sporadic bursts of overconfidence and triumphalist stagecraft. No one is perfect. We must remember that there is also an Obama who gave us Youre likable enough, Hillary, a faux presidential seal and a convention speech delivered before what Sarah Palin rightly mocked as Styrofoam Greek columns hauled out of a studio lot.

That Obama needs a serious counterweight in the political arena. But the former party of Lincoln and liberty has now melted down to a fundamentalist core of aging, rural Dixiecrats and intrusive scolds as small as 20 percent of the populace in the latest polls. Its position on the American spectrum of ideas is somewhere between a doomsday cult and Scientology.


In the current climate Obama mustnt drink his own Kool-Aid. As the 100 Days rollout reminded us, he remains a master at promoting and controlling his and his familys image for maximum effect, down to each picture of Bo. The Obama White House has been more adept and broad-based than any of its predecessors at working the media, whether Access Hollywood or ESPN, Leno or YouTube, Us Weekly or what remains of newspapers. As Angela Burt-Murray, the editor of Essence, a magazine aimed at black women, recently told The Los Angeles Times after negotiating access to the Obamas for a photo spread, Theres definitely a science to the way theyre approaching this.

Thats why it was alarming to learn that a White House official had authorized that idiotic public-relations photo shoot for Air Force One at the Statue of Liberty. Weve just lived through a hubristic presidency that delighted in staging propagandistic stunts to remake reality Friday was the sixth anniversary of Mission Accomplished and we dont need another. The real Obama, unlike his predecessor, is more than strong enough as he is, without the steroids of excessive stage management. It will be incumbent on him now to remain grounded when there is so little opposition, in the political arena or most anyplace else, to challenge his high-flying course.
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snowdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:45 AM
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1. He takes a good wack at the press.........

...........That the same crowd is over the top now in its praise says more about the news business than Obama. The journalism industry is fighting for its life. Obama is the one reliable product that moves the market for newspapers, magazines and television. No wonder so many special sections, special issues and special cable marathons have alighted on the 100 Days.

All those great report cards! Trying to stand out in this over-caffeinated throng of hagiographers, a Time pundit sprinkled his evaluations with A-pluses. One of them was for Michelle Obama, whose approval rating is even higher than her husbands. Hard to believe that just a year ago some of the same commentators were questioning her pride in America, and that Christopher Hitchens, writing in Slate, was seriously arguing that her 1985 Princeton thesis linked her by association to the views of Stokely Carmichael and Louis Farrakhan.

Of course the high marks, mine included, are all ludicrously provisional. Its too early to judge the results of any Obama policy. What we do know is that his leadership is restoring the countrys faith in itself and the future; the spike in the number of Americans who say were on the right track is eye-popping. And, for all the politicians and pundits who complain that Obama is attempting too much at once, many of us like the breadth of his ambition. Doing too much at the same time, even at the risk of failure, is a core American trait that built the nation. Its as American as Benjamin Franklin, Moby-Dick, the New Deal and a double cheeseburger with all the toppings. .................
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