So, how's the New Guy been doing?
Seriously? Not too bad.
I mean, for comparison, about this time in the Previous Administration, we had just emerged from the first testing of presidential mettle when the Chinese grabbed one of our spy planes over their territory. With great resolve, the administration proceeded to apologize, grovel nicely, and get the plane back. Victory!
In comparison to that, the New Guy's first big foreign policy crisis showed up in the form of Somalian Pirates, allowing him to show chops similar to Bruce Willis in "The Fifth Element" ("Anyone ELSE want to negotiate?"). OK, its a small thing (except to those held hostage), but it shows the grace under pressure that this administration seems to just ooze.
A lot of the first hundred days has consisted of cleaning up the mess from the frat party of the past eight years. Gitmo's closing (but not closed). Black sites are gone. Iraq is winding down (but not wound down yet). Torture is back to being un-American as opposed to necessary evil. Stem cells are back on track, some of the more onerous destruction of the environment, EPA, and OSHA have been stemmed. Job stimulus bill. SCHIP. Middle class tax cut.
Oh, and high speed rail. That's what happens when your Veep commutes in by train.
And the little things. Almost equaling the previous guy's total first-term press conferences. High visibility. The dog. The wife. The kids. The garden. Dan Rooney - ambassador to Ireland. Video weekly addresses. Understanding the net. A fearless competence. And then there's the even smaller stuff.
Oh, and we're no longer being jerks to the rest of the world. It is interesting to see some actual diplomacy in our diplomatic efforts.
I don't like everything that's happened. More accountability on torture, please. Drag some people up about bugging the citizenry. "Just following orders"? - not such a good defense. Let's make sure we're playing smart ball in Afghanistan, the war we launched and then forgot.
And while all this is happened, the distinguished opposition has been regrouping and... what has been going on in the right side of the aisle?
Oh. I see. Wow. Circular firing squad stuff. Mocking volcano monitoring a week before a volcano goes off in Alaska. Dropping pandemic preparation just before Aporkalypse (a "Ham-demic" as a co-worker put it) strikes us. Still griping about Palin? Daring McCain to bolt the party? Every time you think they've reached bottom, they punch through the floor and find another sub-basement.
So bad that even Arlen Specter couldn't stomach it and had to bail. And guys, while I like the idea of the true big tent party, getting a new conservative Democrat is like getting another tie for your birthday.
It's going to be a long haul. The economy is going to suck for a while. We're still hanging out in global neighborhoods where we've broken a lot of windows. We are going to hit stuff that we aren't even THINKING about right now.
But I'm pretty positive. There is a cool confidence and a solid sense of progress going on. We may just get out of this one yet.
And I guess I have to stop calling him the New Guy. Looks like he's a keeper.
Lapidary prose (twenty-five words a day) - So, while revising to my Eddison piece I came across a striking passage that I'd either overlooked before or, more likely, read when the book in question ...
2 days ago