Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is it 100 days already?

So Obama's first 100 days as President is up already. How well do you think he did? I should find stories that are both critical and complimentary of his job so far.

How about Daniel Gross from Slate?
The first 100 days of the Obama administration, tumultuous and full of drama, have been dominated by economic issues. In its first few months, the Obama team has attempted to tackle the massive macroeconomic problems we face (with a huge stimulus package and the broad outlines of a budget) and the many microeconomic issues clogging the world's economic engine (salvaging the car industry and the financial services industry).

Amid the storm, Obama has functioned as a sort of human Valium, a calming influence. Here's a chart of the VIX index, a measure of how much traders are freaking out. It peaked at 56.65 on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. While the VIX is still elevated, the trend line shows it has slowly calmed down. The broader stock market, too, has stabilized and stands about where it was when Obama came into office. (I guess the "Obama bear market" that was getting so much play on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page and CNBC is over.) There's been a sharp turnaround in the "right direction" numbers: According to the Associated Press, 48 percent of Americans now think the country is headed in the right direction, compared with a pathetic 17 percent last October. Consumer confidence, as measured by the Conference Board, seems to have bottomed and is rebounding.

Of course, the positive data points are mostly mood indicators. And government money—cheap credit, Federal guarantees, and stimulus—is functioning as a mood elevator. But what about the underlying situation in the private sector, where a turnaround is so vitally needed? So far, the data don't seem to support the improvement in confidence. In the first quarter of 2009, we learned today, the economy shrank at a 6.1 percent annual rate, nearly as bad as the economy's fourth-quarter performance. The nation is still hemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate. Other metrics, from the volume of global trade to interest-rate spreads (the way the market prices risk) in auto sales to housing prices, are still not providing evidence of green shoots in the shrinking portion of the economy not dependent on the government. And those companies that are reporting rising earnings are doing so largely because they've been successful at cutting costs rather than boosting revenues.
And now Gerald Seib at the Wall Street Journal:
Just as the times of Barack Obama defy the easy descriptions and old labels, so too does the man himself.

Indeed, if the first 100 days of President Obama's term have proved anything, it is that he is a hard man to classify. He has confounded, at one time or another, people at just about every spot across the political spectrum. He likes big and activist government, but he isn't a classic liberal. He is more of a social engineer than a guardian of the old welfare state.

He's phenomenally popular among Democrats, but has found the most support for some of his foreign-policy moves among Republicans. He's pulling combat troops out of Iraq, but more slowly than he once promised -- and at the same time has laid plans to add more troops in Afghanistan than the Bush administration envisioned.

Asked whether there is yet a discernible Obama doctrine in foreign affairs, a longtime national security operative pauses and responds: "If there is a doctrine, it would have to be engagement." Which is more a tactic than a doctrine.

He sometimes sounds like a protectionist, but so far has acted mostly like a free-trader. He talks a lot about fiscal discipline, yet is overseeing the nation's first trillion-dollar deficits. He's made history as America's first African-American president, yet probably talks less about race than did the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

Moreover, one gets the feeling that if President Obama does defy easy definition, that's just fine with him. Ronald Reagan truly wanted to be known as a genuine conservative, and Mr. Clinton as a "new Democrat," and George W. Bush as a "compassionate conservative." There is no such label for Mr. Obama, at least not yet, and neither he nor his administration seem eager to create one.
I thought this was negative it wasn't. I got to find a negative one, but this second article I found was perfect. I'm not on board with what he's been doing, but it's really hard to classify him. He may be liberal, but he may not be playing with an old playbook. He might be creating a brand new one!

I'll keep looking for articles opposed to Obama!

Via RealClearPolitics!

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