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Fifty Days In, Obama Jury Still Out

By Ben Pershing
Today is the 50th day of Barack Obama's presidency -- halfway to the magic 100 -- and elite opinion is remarkably split on his tenure so far. Has he been transformational or conventional? Ambitious and broad, or scattered and unfocused? Is he an instinctive centrist forced by the economic crisis to propose historically huge programs, or is he really a "socialist" whose real goal is to engineer a permanent government expansion?

First, it's worth noting that public opinion remains strongly on Obama's side. Gallup pegs his job approval at 62 percent, within single digits of where he's been since Inauguration Day. (His disapproval has gone up more since Day 1, but remains relatively low at 25 percent.) And many of Obama's individual actions have been welcomed by voters, including his centerpiece $787 billion economic stimulus package, which inspired a mix of poll results but generally continues to be more popular than not. Obama's acting on the right side of the polls continued right up through yesterday, when his move to reverse President Bush's policy on stem cell research got the support of a (narrow) majority.

Outside the court of public opinion and inside the political class, the verdict is less clear. On the right, conservatives appear to have grown gradually more disappointed with Obama's actions, beginning with their united opposition to the stimulus package, moving through their scathing criticism of the president's budget and the omnibus spending bill, and continuing right up until yesterday's (completely predictable) move on stem cells. The unanswered question is whether Republicans really expected much different from a Democratic president, and whether they really anticipated more "bipartisanship" from Obama or are just seizing the tactical opportunity to turn his rhetoric against him.

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Posted at 8:25 AM ET on Mar 10, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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You're welcome.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 11, 2009 11:27 AM

Now if I could just convince you that, 50 days out, the GWB jury has come back yet either. As I said, that history will be written by people not yet born.

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 11:40 PM

Apology accepted.

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 11:36 PM

JakeD -

Let me revise that. Bush only used the veto pen 11 times in 8 years, fewer than anybody since Warren G. Harding - who only served 2 years and 5 months.

“Giving Congress control over spending without a check from the presidential veto pen is like giving teenagers car keys and a bottle of whiskey, then asking them to behave,” Fund says. “They’re not going to
do it.” - John Fund, WSJ

BTW - I found a link to a chart of all the presidential vetos:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_vetoes

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 10, 2009 9:04 PM

Bush did veto legislation. What are you talking about?

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 7:19 PM

Gator-Ron Said:

"To me they seem well intentioned but they will not be shaped properly until the Republicans contribute."

Absolutely. I don't trust one party rule and rational opposition will keep the Dems focused on the President's agenda instead of their own.

Bush never vetoed anything because he couldn't veto a bill passed by his own majority.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 10, 2009 4:26 PM

O'Bomba-Nation has surpassed even MY expectations of just HOW BAD for this Country he was going to be!

He needs IMMEDIATE REMOVAL!

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 10, 2009 4:24 PM

The real story on Obama is who do the people think is working and trying to change things in Washington and who do they think are operating in the business as usual mode. I think that the Republicans are purely business as usual, because Obama has no influence on them. The Democrats would be rated the same as the Republicans if Obama were not around. Since he has a slight influence on them, they are perceived as slightly better. Obama is hard working, relatively transparent and would be more transparent if we had a competent press. He is doing something to stop fraud and he has used professional distinction rather than political cronyism in making his appointments.

I agree with buffet's observation of Obam but think that Obama's economic objectives are more expansive than Buffett's. Until the Republicans decide to be the loyal opposition rather than the carping opponents of Obama I will not withhold judgement on Obama's ideas. To me they seem well intentioned but they will not be shaped properly until the Republicans contribute. If they decide to not participate at all I think that the people will have no choice but to surprise the country and vote Democratic because the only light shining in Washington is Obama.

I want Republicans but not the idiots that JakeD idolizes. People who think and are fiscally conservative like Jim Leach and Christopher Shays. Men like this are contributors and not a bunch of loafers.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 10, 2009 2:37 PM

According to JakeD the jury is out on GWB. That is wishful thinking. He is the Hoover of our time. The only thing that may save him is he has hired a lot of intellectual thugs who will misinform the way Amity Shales has in the past few years. The Republicans knew this was coming and they got their lies ready in advance.

Compared to Hoover GWB was worse because, not only is he associated with economic failure but he frittered away our international power with his large trade deficits. I am afraid that looking back it will become apparent that the zenith of our nation's international standing will have ended with Bush's father or with Bill Clinton.

GWB will be temporally associated with our decline and no amount of distortion will eliminate that for future generations. My suspicion is that Bush will be rated with James Buchanan as the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 10, 2009 2:16 PM

Asking questions is not allowed, scrivener50.

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 12:35 PM

A "Great Conciliator" Must Do More than Co-opt -- He Must Lead


POLICIES, 'BLACK OPS' JUSTIFIED UNDER BUSH DOJ 'TORTURE MEMOS' REMAIN ACTIVE...

DOING GREAT HARM TO INNOCENT AMERICANS AND TO THE RULE OF LAW.

YOU MUST ACT NOW, BEFORE THE 'END GAME' IS PLAYED OUT.


President Obama does not yet seem to be cognizant of a frightening reality -- that the Bush "torture memos" were used to justify "programs of personal destruction" that REMAIN IN PLACE ON HIS WATCH.

Obama must come to realize that federal agencies and commands have enabled the ONGOING covert microwave radiation weapons torture and physical degradation of U.S. citizens deemed "undesirables," "mental defectives" and "dissidents"...

...as well as the nationwide GPS-enabled "community gang stalking" of U.S. citizens, who are hunted down like prey by citizen vigilante goons as "target" vehicles and implanted GPS devices enter the "crown of evil" GPS screen grid of the gang-stalkers.

It appears that Obama and most liberal/progressives have yet to realize that the "war on terror" appears to have been a premeditated pretext for an American genocide/politicide -- a horrific silent holocaust that has destroyed, and continues to destroy, untold thousands, if not millions, of American families and no doubt has contributed to economic tumult.

One person who WAS aware, and deserves vindication, is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

What has been happened since the dawning of the Bush administration has turned a just society into the "US of KKK-A," as harsh and impolitic as that sounds.

And the 21st century version of the Klan -- an American Gestapo -- remains on the march -- hiding behind covert federal "programs of personal financial destruction" and federally-funded community policing and town watch programs co-sponsored by local law enforcement nationwide.

President Obama must act immediately to restore American civil and human rights -- because each day he delays, the forces running these programs, the forces who will resist whatever "change" his presidency offers, are one day closer to making it impossible him to fulfill the "hope" he still embodies.

For more on "Gestapo USA" and why team Obama must move immediately to dismantle the Bush-Cheney "extrajudicial punishment network"...

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

PS. -- Anyone reading this with access to decision-makers on Team Obama (notably, David Axelrod) and in Congress: Please send them this missive.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 10, 2009 12:15 PM

Ben Pershing is becoming the perfect definition of: "conservative media echo chamber".

Leave your office once in a while Ben.
Read something besides press releases and shut off the cable news nightmare.

Even though you report that the President enjoys a 62% approval rating - you give equal weight to the 25% who disapprove - instead of dismissing them for the fractional minority they are.

The real story is that Obama is still winning by a landslide. Obama is setting the national agenda in a time of crisis and 62% percent of us don't support the opposition.

Where's that liberal media I keep hearing about?

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 10, 2009 12:06 PM

Warren Buffet (who was a strong supporter of Obama) said on CNBC that he is also concerned about the lack of an economic focus. Did anyone watch the Today Show?

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 10:33 AM

The jury is still out on GWB too -- personally, I've made up my mind -- history, ultimately, will be written by people not even born yet.

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 10:18 AM

If only Congress and the media would have the patience shown by the American people on Obama and his agenda...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 10, 2009 8:46 AM

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