Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009

    We're coming up on Barack Obama's first one hundred days as president. There will, of course, be massed battalions of columns on how he's doing.  You probably don't need to read them.
     I don't think a hundred days is long enough to be a good measurement.  Sure, Franklin Roosevelt got the bank holiday through Congress quickly and, sure, they declared war on Japan and Germany the day after Pearl Harbor.  But that was then.  The country was simpler;  the emergencies were more urgent than today's recession, painful though it's been.
     And Congress has changed for the worse.  You have to go back to the 1960s--civil rights, the Vietnam War--to find Congress debating big issues--Democrats and Republicans on both sides.  More recently Congress seems to have specialized in petty partisan politics with not much substance involved.
     So a president who wants to change the country in big ways, as this president surely does, faces two challenges.  First, he has to see what the problems are and know what he would do to make things better. Mr. Obama, I think, gets good marks there.  He clearly sees areas, like health care, that need change and he has some ideas about what those changes should be.
     Second, he has to get the Congress to change its ways, concentrate on the issues and get stuff done. It's too early to know how successful he'll be at that.  Two years from now--the 2010 election season--might be a good time to think about that.
     That way, if we decide it's Congress's fault, those of you who have Congressmen (not me;  I live in Washington, D.C.) can vote them out.    

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

No comments: