Monday, April 27, 2009

Obama's First 100 Days

Environment - ***** - From the 23b in stimulus money to the cutting of 'clean coal' subsidies to the telling car companies that if they wanted federal money they had to stop spending cash fighting the govt on emission standards and pollution controls to naming CO2 as a pollutant etc - he's really pretty well nailed this one (he should've given that kid who screwed up the treasury auction in Utah a pardon - but he still can). There's a real sense that the scientists are back in charge - and that's really really good.

Economy - ** - Well, it's not a complete disaster - and it's not like the guy had a lot of good choices here (though he's compounded the problem with some bad ones - Geithner for example). He's played way too nice with the banks, the stimulus package was too small and pointed at some very bad models, and he isnt showing the leadership on the issue we need if we're really going to get ourselves out of this mess. But he didnt just do nothing either - he's pushing the banks a little and he did blow a ton of cash to flood the system with seed money. Was it wasted? Sure - lots of it was... but some of it will help.

Healthcare - ** - First he tried to put the known lobbyist Daschle into Health - then they buckled on stimulus money to combat a 'possible flu pandemic' to a republican senator even though they control both houses... otherwise nothing at all has been done here to advance nationalized healthcare. Perhaps when all those flu infected truckdrivers coming up I-35 start spreading it around gas stations, and all the poor and unemployed who have no healthcare dont go to the doctor until they've spread it around a while - then we'll see someone say 'you know, maybe the cost of free 10 minute clinic visits is cheaper to the economy than closing schools, shutting down businesses, and generally letting everything grind to a halt'... The only reason this isnt 1 star is he's told everyone that he's not taking healthcare off his agenda.

Torture - ** - He released the memos and he has announced we're closing Gitmo. Otherwise, the prisoners there say torture is as bad or worse than it was (even though he's theoretically said it should stop), he's said we're not going to prosecute anyone for any of it, and he's been very flip-floppy on the idea of anyone looking into the matter.

Middle East - *** - He announced a timetable for troop pullout of Iraq and he's got Gates executing on it. Iran is making positive noises re not building nuclear facilities (having the russians do it - which was part of the original suggestion to help solve the potential crisis) and they're even making 'Israel has the right to exist' noises. He's told Israel that the 2 state solution is coming and they'd best get on board. But we boycotted a UN conference on racism specifically because the language pointed out what's been going on in Israel qualifies, and i get the real sense that a lot of the reality of us actually pulling troops and us actually getting israel to listen to us is far from the early bluster. This one is more of an (I)ncomplete than anything - because none of it counts until something really changes.

Personal Freedoms - * - Stacking Justice with RIAA lawyers, making the new copyright treaty a state secret, fighting against the EFF on the subject of warrentless wiretaps on exactly the same grounds as the Bush administration, having the FBI pushing around government spyware/trojans that keylog and sniff your computer etc... 1 star is too many. He deserves an ass kicking for this one.

Cleaning Up Foreign Relations - **** - from opening up a dialog with cuba to talking with Iran having Chavez making happy noises, he's doing an ok job actually talking to people who dont care for the US very much. Even Russia - in rather serious trouble with the price of oil back down in the basement - has been making fairly nice noises. Europeans turned out in droves to cheer him on his recent overseas visit - and he's making the right noises to reassert america's standing (that story of brokering the deal between china and france at the G-20 meeting was a great anecdote)

Style - **** - When he tried to be bipartisan and got 0 votes for his stimulus package I thought he had totally lost the thread. But now he's using that to explain to the republicans that going forward he's just doing it his way - because why bother soliciting their feedback. They're upset - understandably - but screw them. I probably would have gone ahead and put other stuff into the stimulus package, but I think maybe he was right, it was the first salvo in a long fight, and giving the pubs the opportunity to slit their own throats could be critical if he intends to stick them with everything else he wants to do. He's managed to keep most of his rabid supporters loving him too - even though his policies pretty much suck eggs to this point. The only time he looks off balance is when he's really really pushed by the left on issues involving what's 'right' vs what's 'politically expedient'... we always knew he was an operator - but it's the one place he struggles in the limelight. Plus - authorizing the Seals to deal with the pirates was ballsy - and exactly the sort of 'in your face' strong president macho crap that you can shove down everyone's throat. (Two fair gaffes so far, the shaking Chavez's hand (which wasnt bad at all, but it could've been handled better) and the giving Gordon Brown some DVDs in a gift exchange when Brown gave him an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet - esp when the DVDs were Region 1 Encoded lol... that's just pathetic)

In total - I'd give him 2 1/2 stars. He's better than average on style, worse on substance. He's a Sigue Sigue Sputnik president. God help us.


robyncz said...

Nice run-down. Far more even handed that your recent rants might have suggested. And I think all your points are right on the mark.

But your math is a little sketchy. Average all your ratings together and you've given him closer to a 3.

GreatGoblin said...

First you're assuming they're weighted evenly... second you're assuming my '1 star is too generous' didnt factor into the equation.

At 2 1/2 he's coming in 'sub par' (par would be 3) - and considering how high everyone's hopes were i think the expectations game has played a part in how bad this will all fall out in time.

Really what he deserves is 3 stars and a sledgehammer blow to his nutsack - but I think he'd prefer it this way.

robyncz said...


That's the Sean I was expecting.

I'm still hopeful.

Shit--even if 2.875 is as good as it gets, it's better than the negative 38 stars his predecessor earned.