April 27, 2009


President Obama is just getting started: It’ll take more than 100 days to fix this mess
Monday, April 27th 2009, 4:00 AM


President Obama chats before playing a round of golf Sunday at Andrews Air Force Base, his first round since taking office.

As Barack Obama moves up on the completely arbitrary observance of his first 100 days in office, if you’re part of the 69% of people who, according to a new Washington Post poll, approve of the way he’s running the country, you’re wrong!

This is what you are told by commentators on what used to be state-run television, on right-wing radio and by what is laughingly called the Republican leadership in Congress: Obama doesn’t know what’s good for the country and neither do you.

You are told constantly that the minority on the other side is way more important than the majority that put Obama in office, a majority that thinks he should be given a fair chance, over these 100 days and the next 100 and the 100 after that, to show that he is more than some kind of smooth-talking front man for Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank.

You are also told that any faith in Obama is blind faith.

Except it’s not, no matter how good that theory is for ratings.

The people who support this President don’t think he’s flawless and don’t ignore his mistakes, starting with nominations for guys like Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson. They support him even if the jury is still out on Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, classic insiders, guys who helped shape the same failed economic system they’re now expected to fix.

No kidding, every time I see Summers on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, I put a death grip on my own wallet you’d need the Jaws of Life to pry loose.

The people who support Barack Obama in his first term aren’t any less conflicted about torture than anybody else in this country, even after eight years when Bush-Cheney seemed to be using the television show “24” as some kind of training film on prisoner interrogation.

Still, they are told by the hucksters from the right that their support for this President is misguided, or naive, or plain stupid. They are not allowed to think this President has a plan, or even has a clue.

But what is the plan from the other side? It is to hate HIS plan, whether it is about Hugo Chavez or TARP money or taxes or Afghanistan or picking out the new family dog. Their plan is to tell you what Obama SHOULD have done when it’s all over.

You know what’s really over? The old way of doing things. It got routed in the congressional elections of 2006, and then, with John McCain as its front man, him and Bristol Palin’s mom, it got the boot for good last November.

Somehow, though, if you listen to the loyal opposition, it’s only taken 100 days for the Bush-Cheney years to become the good old days.

We are now supposed to give the previous administration all the credit for keeping the country safe after Sept. 11, its cheerleaders celebrating everything they did from Iraq to hijacking the rules of the Geneva Convention in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. It’s as if our buildings got blown up on somebody else’s watch.

All this time later nobody can remember much about their first 100 days in office, just what happened around Day 200, in August of 2001, when the now-famous memo with this title – “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” – didn’t seem to get anybody’s blood racing down there on the ranch in Crawford, Tex.

“There was nothing that said, you know, ‘There’s an imminent attack,'” George W. Bush said when he was running for reelection in 2004.

You know? Well, he didn’t know. Neither did Cheney, his war-loving, waterboarding vice president, the one who won’t shut up now, who makes you nostalgic for the days when he was always in some undisclosed location hiding under his desk. Say this about Dick Cheney: He got a lot more interested in national security after he let others go off and fight the Red Menace of North Vietnam.

Barack Obama isn’t just trying to make fundamental, and necessary, changes in the way this country does business. He is dealing, here and around the world, with the mess that the geniuses who had the White House before him made of things. Even though you’re now expected to believe that somehow this is all his fault – him and his soft, liberal, America-hating friends.

The geniuses before him took eight years to make the mess. It’s going to take more than 100 days for the cleanup.

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