As we mark the first 100 days of the Obama presidency, it is still necessary to ask, “Is this real? Is the eight-year Bush nightmare really over?”
The response, of course, is, “It’s real, but the incredible damage wrought by that awful eight-year nightmare will take a lot more than 100 days to fix.”
President Obama has hit the ground running. Here’s a breath-taking inventory so far: a pledge to shutter Guantanamo; ending torture at secret military prisons; passage of a strong economic recovery bill; a progressive budget; a push for a new direction for the economy that breaks with the discredited ultra-right “trickle-down” theory; reversal of anti-labor policies; pro-labor executive orders; revitalization of OSHA and other regulatory bodies; release of memos exposing high crimes of top Bush officials; restoration of science as a guide to policy; steps on climate change and clean energy; backing, rather than denigrating, the UN; improving relations with Cuba; initiatives for Israeli-Palestinian peace; call for worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons; resetting our relationships with Russia; reexamining the insanity of “missile defense” and reigning in NATO expansionists; diplomatic overtures to Iran; and committing to withdrawal from Iraq.
Few presidents have tackled so many problems in so short a period of time. These first 100 days are an impressive beginning.
There are major concerns, though.
Military escalation in Afghanistan is a bad and dangerous move. It has the potential to exacerbate the problems there, further destabilize Pakistan, open rifts with many countries we could be cooperating with, and hurt our economic recovery.
On the banks, democratic public control makes more sense than continued bailouts for the people who caused the problems.
The president has shown the ability and the willingness to shift positions when he sees a better way and when he sees support for that better way.
Whether we, as a people, continue to move forward will depend on the ability of the labor-led people’s movement that won a victory last November to continue to engage and grow in all areas of the struggle. We pledge our continued support for that movement and pledge to do everything in our power to help it grow.