Barack Obama's first hundred days are off to a very strong start. While I have some serious concerns, which I will get to in a minute, as a progressive I am very pleased with Obama overall, and think he deserves big credit both for being bold on many important issues and in establishing confidence in himself as a strong leader. Those qualities should not be underestimated in terms of his long-term ability to be a successful President.
America is a bruised and battered country, facing a massive economic crisis, two wars, multiple scary foreign policy worries and a host of other very big problems that will be tough to solve. In spite of all this, Obama is giving our country confidence again that we can solve our problems, or at least make major progress on them. His willingness to take on a big, bold agenda on health care, energy, and education even while squarely facing our economic and foreign policy crises is making us believe again.
Even more importantly, for the most part his proposals are boldly progressive ideas that go to the heart of our problems. His budget, and the stimulus package before it, invested money in all the right places: improving health care and education, rebuilding our roads and bridges, creating green jobs, getting universal broadband, and generally helping the low-income and working class folks most affected by our economy crisis.
There are definitely some things I wouldn't rate Obama as highly on. I am worried that his plan on Afghanistan gets us in deeper without clear goals or exit plans. I am concerned that, after a strong start early in his term on civil liberties, that he has been backsliding some on that issue. Most centrally for me, I worry that his banking plan does way too little to actually restructure the big banks and break them into smaller companies which are not too big to fail -- that issue alone could really hurt Obama down the road.
But overall, I give the President big credit for a very strong start. He has already signed outstanding executive orders, he has already signed into law multiple great pieces of legislation, his stimulus bill has already been the biggest investment in the future of country that we have had in many decades, and his budget and top legislative priorities are all outstanding.
I would give him a B. If it wasn't for the banking issue, it would be a strong A.
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