-------- Original Message -------- Subject: follow up Date: Mon, 4 May 2009 15:05:55 -0700 From: Edwin Cooney <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> To: <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>I've just received word from one of you that the message that should have contained my column was blank. Wow! Here's another effort. I can't imagine how that happened since the copy I sent myself had the column.
Sorry for the inconvenience! Warm Regards, E.C. Hi All,Yes indeed! Assessments such as you see below are only forecasts and with less science than your irratic weatherman utilizes. Nevertheless, it's all part of president watching. After all, the president is human and all of us (except historians and scholars of course) are in the habit of humanizing everything including the office of President of the United States. I think it works although humanization of an institution can distort the total picture now and again. However, most of us will be following the person of Barack Hussein Obama for nearly the next four years. If his presidency is successful and he's re-elected, then he'll personally be seen as successful. If otherwise, he and not the institution of the presidency will be blamed. That's both the way it is and ought to be in America these days. So, I hope you'll read what's here and make of it what you will. Your comments are always welcome.
Thanks for being one of my readers! Warm Regards, E.C. MONDAY, MAY 4^TH , 2009 SO! WHAT DO WE KNOW? BY EDWIN COONEYWhat our recent preoccupation with the significance of President Barack Obama?s first one hundred days probably best demonstrates is that our thirst for presidential scrutiny is as much about personal identification as it is about genuine historical analysis.
Since FDR?s time, except during periods of economic uncertainty, little attention has been paid to the new boss?s first ninety-nine White House morrows. However, these are uncertain economic times, to say the least, and everyone is watching closely (especially the president?s foes both political and personal).
A quick peak at a few post FDR presidencies might provide us a bit of perspective.
The first one hundred days of George W. Bush?s administration were almost anticlimactic after eight turbulent years of William Jefferson Clinton. True, there was still much gnashing of teeth over the ?Supreme Court Presidency? of the shy and newly minted George Bush. Still, the economy, which had been in a tailspin during the last months of the Clinton presidency, was expected to be righted by the new administration?s tax cut engineered through a GOP Congress. This tax cut would use the Clinton ?surpluses? (which the GOP doubted really existed) until it came time for them to share the money with their political friends. This reality notwithstanding, Sunday, April 29, 2001 arrived, smiled at President Bush for twenty-four hours, and receded into history leaving Americans still hopeful about their new leader.
Bill Clinton?s first one hundred days were pretty much a disaster. It seemed that things were falling apart rather than coming together almost as soon as he lowered his right hand after taking the presidential oath. By April 29, 1993, two Attorney General candidates (Zoë Baird and Kimba Wood) had been forced to withdraw for employing illegal aliens as domestics. The third appointee (Janet Reno) was already embroiled in the April 19,1993 Branch Davidian holocaust. Additionally, terrorists had partially destroyed the World Trade Center on February 26^th raising questions of the president?s ability to keep us safe. Finally, as if all that wasn?t enough, Bill Clinton was unpopular by his hundredth day with both straight and gay citizens over his ?don?t ask, don?t tell? compromise for gays in the military. Obviously, there would be no second term for William Jefferson Clinton ? would there?
President Ronald Wilson Reagan was still riding high by his hundredth day in office, but his popularity had nearly cost him his life. He?d been elected, in part, to clean up Jimmy Carter?s economic mess which had been brought on by a combination of high interest rates, unemployment, and inflation, or ?stagflation? as they called it. Budget cutting, tax cutting and income tax indexing were some of President Reagan?s proposed antidotes for the ailing 1981 economy. The proposed solutions hadn?t even been fully thrashed out* *when young John Hinckley, Jr. severely wounded the president, his press secretary and two Secret Service men outside a Washington, D.C. hotel on Monday, March 30, 1981. Even by President Reagan?s one hundredth day in office, it was apparent that America was enthralled by his decisiveness, ideological principles and personal magnetism and would likely re-elect him if the Secret Service could only protect him.
By April 29, 1977, Jimmy Carter was rapidly spending what political capital he possessed when he proposed a domestic war on energy waste. The president?s outsider status was not conducive for playing ?inside the Beltway? politics. The steely and independent-minded Georgian was determined to reorganize the government, to see that those who lost their jobs due to the economic policies of Presidents Nixon and Ford were re-employed, and to realize sufficient monetary savings so as to end his first term with a balanced budget. The people wished him well and he wished himself well, too, but politicians (not all of them Republicans by any means) never would be so sure. President Carter?s political future was already cloudy by his hundredth day, even with all of the economic uncertainties, but there were all kinds of silver linings on the horizon.
Question: What do we know from this first 100 days about President Obama?s political future? Answer: Most of America likes him better than they did President Clinton, more than they did President Carter and perhaps, just perhaps, as much as they did President Reagan. Uncertain of our economic or physical security, America will likely understand if President Obama should decide to shift ideological course from time to time. However, it is likely that the President?s greatest asset is the good-natured, unflappable outlook and steadiness that the American people believe now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, EDWIN COONEY