Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What 100 days?

Commenters to my last post picked up on my closing thought, that if Obama has not fixed things soon, people will be very disappointed ("throw the bum out"). I expressed that thought because expectations for Obama seem abnormally high. Were they this high for Clinton in January of '93? Is that why the Democratic Congress seemed to quickly refuse to support him (this is my vague recollection)?

I skimmed through the comments in the New York Times by speechwriters to Presidents. The speechwriters themselves were from more Republican administrations than Democrat (starting with William Safire), and they all complained that the inaugural address had no overarching theme. I suspect if Obama had hammered a single theme, they would have accused him of ignoring the complexity of America's problems. Still, all of them said it was a good speech (talk about damning with faint praise). I guess that fact that God himself did not send a sign of blessing was a let down for Obama's supporters (and something his detractors could pick up on).

1 comment:

Lady Elaine said...

Clinton in his first 100 days was disorganized and unfocused and he first priority was gays in the military, which left many in his party dissatisfied with his agenda.

And the Democrats who ran Congress had been there for close to 30 years and in comes this new guy from Arkansas telling them what to do--they were pretty arrogant, and they didn't see they would lose the majority any time soon.

So the Dems didn't work as a team and it helped Clinton's agenda to fall a part almost immediately.

As far as Obama's agenda, I don't think many Americans are expecting a miracle. I think people are just hopeful for change. And that is why his speech took on a somber tone. Would it have been appropriate to be all pie in the sky?


He challenged Americans to dig deep, be patient, understand the previous administration got the country into a real mess and for all of us to wait for our marching orders because every single one of us is needed.

Or we can just throw him out.