Obama’s First 100 Days, what do you think?
It doesn’t seem like very long ago when we watched with joy and anticipation as the transfer of power was underway. Some were in D.C. in the freezing throng who witnessed history as it went down. Others watched on T.V. screens, even standing during the oath of office as a show of respect the man the Land of Lincoln.
But the feeling of euphoria didn’t last long, as President Barack Obama himself went to work on day one. He’s pushed his agenda at a dizzying pace while addressing issues that have popped up (swine flu, nominees and taxes, $300 Air Force One photo op) over these first 100 days.
Check these pics from the White House Photo Office of President Obama’s first days in office.
There’s nothing special about a President’s first 100 days in office, but it is often used as a benchmark for media and pundits. In a New York Times/CBS poll of 1,000 adults, President Obama has a 68% approval rating. His rating among African-Americans polled was 96%.
I was asked by Gordon Jackson of the Dallas Weekly how I would grade President Obama’s first 100 days. Grading and predicting isn’t really my thing, but I told Mr. Jackson I would give the President a solid ‘B.’ I believe he handled the budget that was mostly given to him by his predecessor very well and the stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) is creating jobs and addressing long neglected/ignored infrastructure areas like high speed rail.
Check out President Obama’s Flickr stream.
His primetime news conferences (there’s one tonight by the way) have be reassuring to Americans. Obama has been mostly rebuffed in his attempts at bipartisanship by folks like Eric Cantor. Speaking of Cantor, check out this quick note on Cantor and his love/hate relationship with high speed rail.
While the stimulus was being debated in January, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor called a group of reporters into his office to outline the GOP’s objections. As we filed in, we walked past a giant poster ridiculing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for allegedly pushing for high-speed rail connecting Disneyland and Las Vegas.
Asked about high-speed rail at a recent local event in Virginia, Cantor was all thumbs up. “If there is one thing that I think all of us here on both sides of the political aisle from all parts of the region agree with, it’s that we need to do all we can to promote jobs here in the Richmond area,” Cantor said of the high-speed rail.
Anyway, Obama has had to deal with lots of personalities who want to derail his presidency and they thought that had a chance early on. They figured they could tie the struggling economy around is neck and pass the budget and stimulus off as useless spending. But none of that resonated outside of an ardent base and delusional, secessionists governor. The individual giving the Obama the most trouble so far seems to be Bo, the family dog.
I told Mr. Jackson that my reason for giving Obama a ‘B’ was that I haven’t heard from him on issues that uniquely affect African-Americans, like Sen. Jim Webb’s Criminal Justice Legislation that would study American incarceration rates that are out of whack. But there’s time for that.
Over the next 100 days and the rest of his term, the President will face many more challenges. Right now, the most pressing is the H1N1 flu virus (aka swine flu). A 23 month old who had traveled from Brownsville to Mexico is the first confirmed U.S. death from the outbreak. GM and Chrysler are still struggling, and Americans continue to face job losses and lulls in productivity. Iraqi violence has spiked and the Taliban is asserting itself in Pakistan.
But President Obama, and Americans, can only take it one day at a time. His measured approach to leadership and willingness to accept responsibility have allowed him to overcome some less than stellar moments (comment on Jay Leno immediately comes to mind) to gain the trust and confidence of the American people. These are exciting times, but there’s a lot of work for all of us to do in the days ahead.