Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our After Eleven World

This is a new thing. Usually a new president is judged after the first 100 days, an arbitrary time, comparing back to his predecessors and to FDR and other modern presidencies. But another comparison now exists, another milepost has set up in the road - How a new president has done up to the 11th of September.

It is an important date, a date that changed everything. I know it hurts, but throw your brains back to September 10th, 2001. The media had pretty much settled into the idea that the Bush presidency would be a sleeper - its leader the likable but slow son of a modestly-successful previous president. The whole election huggamugga had been buried, those still complaining written off as being unseemly. The presidency itself wanted to be an A4 Presidency, which referred to the page in the paper they would prefer to see the news about them. A quiet operation. There would probably be a small war or two, just to keep their hands in. The political cartoonist had gotten the Prez's Alfred-E-Neumann grin in place and Comedy Central had a show running called "That's My Bush", in which the president was hayseed good-old-boy who would do things like launching WWIII while trying to get free cable for the White House.

Then the planes hit, and everything changed. A4 was no longer the place, and we were thrown into the deep end. At this point, to compare following presidencies made no sense - the entire paradigm changed. To make a date-by-date comparison made no further sense.

So I was thinking about achievements of the current administration to this point, during this final, level playing field, and what has been accomplished. Fortunately, author Paul Kemp has done a good summary (on the domestic side at least) of the story so far. And its wonky and granular and reflects the efforts of more than just the efforts of one man. But to be honest, since my main requirement the new administration was that we a) recognize we are in a hole, and b) stop digging, they're pretty impressive. Go take a look.

More later,