It has become a tradition to evaluate a new president on his first 100 days in office. From his personal comportment, his administrative decisions, his statements, his accomplishments and his pitfalls, his public and private life, including the selection of a family dog, everything he does or says are placed under public scrutiny, and highlighted by the media.
This week falls the 100th day of Barack Obama’s presidency. So far, more than two-third of the U.S. population approved of the job he’s doing and, since his visits abroad, the world’s appreciation of the United States has sensibly improved. However, some opponents try to present the president’s actions and decisions through tricky deformed lenses that reflect their own twisted disappointment.
An impartial radio commentator mentioned the fact that Obama was involved in important decision making even during his campaign when he kept contact with congressmen in both Houses, while his last opponent decided to temporarily discontinue his campaign in order to join his Republican colleagues in Congress in an attempt to convince them. Candidate Obama remarked then, “a responsible chief of state must be able to handle divers situations at once”.
Since his investiture, President Obama has done so much that the lists of his accomplishments differ from one journalist to another. Savannah Guthrie reports that “Among the most significant steps in the first hundred days : passage of a $787 billion recovery plan; the release of the second tranche of TARP funding — an additional $350 billion — for troubled banks; a public-private partnership to rid banks of toxic assets on their balance sheets; so-called “stress tests” on major financial institutions; a $275 billion housing program estimated to rescue as many as 9 million homeowners from foreclosure; a proposal for major overhaul of the financial regulatory system”.
For the Los Angeles Times, President Obama has used his broad popularity to carry out these accomplishments: “ordered closure of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison and a troop withdrawal from Iraq; made it easier for women to sue for job discrimination; signed the biggest spending bill in U.S. history; reverse a ban on stem cell research; extended health care to millions of children, ousted the head of General Motors; reached out to the Muslim world; moved to ease tension with Cuba; traveled to Europe and Latin America; set aside huge tracts of wilderness for federal protection; signed legislation that triples the size of the national service program; and seized on the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and set out to reshape major aspects of everyday life; the price we pay to see a doctor, the size of our children’s classrooms, the fuel we put in our cars”.
Those in favor of Obama as well as those who are opposed to him and his initiatives, tend to compare him to past presidents. Some, considering the large deficit he inherited and the financial crisis that incurred, often compare him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and question his ability to succeed like FDR.
These analysts overlook the fact that situations more than seventy-five years apart cannot have the kind of similarities they wish to establish between them. More importantly, they miss to recognize that today’s economists and other advisers Obama smartly surrounds himself with are well informed about the 1933 crucial events and are capable to assist him accomplish his goals successfully.
Some of these specialists have leaved lucrative positions in the private sector to accept limited executive pay and bring their knowledge and experience to the success of a national cause that President Obama has elaborated. Not too many U.S. presidents, if any, have accomplished as much in such a short time. Today, Obama’s government is complete and at work.