Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One year of Obama

I supported John McCain in the last three elections (2000, 2004, and 2008.)  I was tremendously disappointed with Bush's handling of Katrina and the war in Iraq.  His handling of the financial crisis at the end of his term was perhaps criminal--though we will never know how much Bush participated in Paulson's robbery of the taxpayers.  I think that McCain lost the 2008 election primarily because he misjudged the financial crisis.

All that said, I don't want to see Obama fail.  I can't afford for Obama to continue to flail and fail.

Obama campaigned on "Change".  He promised to close Guantanamo and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He promised to deliver healthcare reform.  He promised to fix the economy without rewarding the incompetent boobs who broke it.  He promised that he would reach across the aisle and embrace real bipartisanship.  And he promised that his administration would be open and transparent in all of these things.

He has utterly failed to deliver on all of these promises.  No changes.  No one believes any more.

I suspect that Obama genuinely thought that he could do those things.  I think he underestimated the difficulties. I think that he appointed several of the wrong people--starting with Geithner.  It's easy to shout from the sidelines that things should be done differently, but actually doing things differently is much more difficult.

Obama needs to regain control of his administration.  He needs to make a speech in which he admits that governing was more difficult than he thought, and apologize for picking some poor advisors and giving them too much leeway.  The speech is important because he is good at speaking and the American public will let him change course as long as he tells us he is changing course.

Then he needs to replace most of his advisors.  He needs to implement the policies on transparency and bipartisanship that he campaigned on.

He should start with putting Volker in charge of the economy--Volker is already a close advisor of Obama's, he is just being ignored.  The economy must come first, because everything is dependent on it.  With an economy in the toilet we can't afford to do anything else.

Then he needs to man up and do the hard thing on Guantanamo.  Give the order and close the base.

After that he needs to prioritize his other administrative agenda items.  He needs to slide in some items that he can negotiate with the other party, to change the atmosphere and try to build some bridges before he takes on the truly contentious issues (like Healthcare.)

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