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Wag the Blog: What Should Obama's First Priority Be?

The White House is seen in the morning light, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. AP Photo by Ron Edmonds

Any objective look at Tuesday's election results reveals that Democrats scored gains across the board (although the gains were slightly less than expected in the Senate and the House).

Now that Democrats control the White House, the Senate and the House, however, there will be an expectation that a government currently regarded as badly out of touch and off track will turn around -- and turn around quickly.

Recent history suggests the perils of picking the wrong (read: unpassable by Congress or politically unsellable) first legislative step in a new presidency.

George W. Bush quickly lost the momentum he built during his 2004 reelection campaign by trying (and failing) to reform the Social Security system. Twelve years earlier, the debacle over universal health care badly hamstrung President Bill Clinton and congressional Democrats and led to the huge gains made by Republicans in 1994.

Today's Wag the Blog questions are 1) What is the first piece of legislation (drawing down troops in Iraq? healthcare? an economic stimulus package? something else) President Obama should offer when Congress reconvenes in January 2009? and 2) Is the legislation you think Obama will push different from the issue you want him to put at the front of the line? Why or why not?

As always, the most thoughtful/insightful comments will be featured in their own post late this week.

Go to it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 6, 2008; 7:02 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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I completely agree with the last commenter about energy being the starting point of the Obama administration.

30% of all venture capital in 2008 went to cleantech. It's where innovation is meeting capital in the US right now -- the signal of what's to come in this country. Whether Obama makes Gore the energy czar or not (I don't think Gore wants it), Obama knows the score. The next Google is to be found in this realm. You can check out sites like to catch up with what's going on.

There is mad green in greentech, and whether Obama admits it or not, we all believe in trickle down economics -- that's what capitalism is. Obama's not a socialist people -- look at the dudes standing behind him at his first speech last week. There's nothing socialist about Warren Buffett or Goldman Sachs.

There is money in cleantech, it's a great booster for the economy, and -- I agree -- it's politically safe.

Posted by: watersandwind | November 10, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse


We can all chearlead as much as we'd like for our own interests. But my gut tells me that energy is politically the safest starting point. (Many of us remember how in '92 the late great Patrick Monyham told Clinton not to start with healthcare...if he'd only had listened. Obama/Emanuel and Co. won't make the same strategic mistakes).

Yes a lot was promised in the campaign, but Obama needs to get momentum before he can take on the other major domestic issues (healthcare, education, social security).

Renewable Energy is the pathway to energy independence (addressing the trade deficit, gas prices, and terrorism) it can create green collar jobs (addressing the faltering economy and the US's leadership role in innovation) and it can signal to foreign leaders our green intentions for Copenhagen 2009 -- which will effectively be Kyoto version 2.0 (addressing the US's willingness to work with other nations and take a leadership position on climate change).

Greentech/Cleantech/ET/Renewable Energy --- whatever you want to call it --- is a fastball coming down the middle of the plate, and Obama is going to take a $150 billion swing at it.

Posted by: watersandwind | November 10, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

One thing the new President should NOT do is to try to put a halt to the ongoing Congressional ivestigations of the Bush administration, and, by no means, should he grant pardons should any be found to have broken laws, or commited acts of treachery (this includes the current POTUS and his henchmen). "With malice toward none, and charity for all" will not work this time. None of this "let's just put this in the past and look toward the future" schtick. We need to learn from the misdeeds of this administration to even have a future. We're going to have to make several cats walk backward. May God Bless our new President, and the USA!

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | November 9, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it number one, start cutting goverment in size and spending, funnel the money back to the private sector. Pensions, pay, and benefits for goverment workers is so much above the very people that support them the private sector. Till the people can get goverment back in line the problem will never get better,WE THE PEOPLE are in serious trouble unless we wake up, and understand are very way of life is at stake here. The very ones that are suppose to protect it are out of there minds, and all about making goverment bigger which again is the problem for this great Republic. GOD BLESS THE REPUBLIC

Posted by: stephenmor | November 7, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Energy Independence--President Obama's "Atlantis Program"

Since at least 1954 energy interests, mainly the fossil fuel freaks, have done everything they could to suppress the development of electricity from flowing water. Hydro kinetics they continue to believe, and it is a scientific fact, can replace all forms of energy. Nuclear power interests in France forced a 50% reduction in the La Rance water works which formerly (1954-1970) served over a million households and businesses. Today, nuclear waste disposal is the most critical security and safety issue facing the EC.

Substituting nuclear power for coal, natural gas and/or oil power is just a problem switching shell game. Not so with hydro kinetics:

No building dams,
no CO2 emissions to get energy from the ocean to your toaster.
No massive build up of clouds from water vapor being evaporated from hydrogen fuel cells. The sun heats the clouds and in turn exaccerbates global warming.
Because the sun and wind are not always in evidence, no CO emissions from backup systems.
The only real potential for environmental encroachment are: disturbance of aquatic habitats and migration patterns. and CO2 emissions in the manufacture of the turbines, and other materials to harness and transmit the energy. Which is also the case for all other alternatives.

Since water is 800 times more dense than wind it takes much less spacial area to generate the same amount of energy. An area of three square miles off the coast of Florida, using the Gulf Stream, could be developed to provide all of the electricity needed in North America.

A national system, experts believe, this system could be developed within five to seven years, and in the interim, reductions in fossil fuel dependency could save $300 to $400 billion annually. Already the S. Koreans have seized upon American inventions to reduce their reliance on nuclear, coal and imported natural gas and petroleum. They are using the Gorlov Helical Turbine to extract energy from the Uldolmok Straits off the coast of S. Korea.

Why can't we have a President who promulgates that the most efficient form of energy will have priority in funding and national regulatory support. By most efficient he could explain, as that technology which produces the least carbon dioxide per dollar of public support. These parameters are well established.

What we need is a President Obama who declares on January 20, 2009 that America will launch an "Atlantis Program" that will use our vast ocean currents and water ways to generate clean, renewable, affordable energy and truly have an immediate output by reducing global warming.

Posted by: robbrian_06 | November 7, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Maybe now Barack Obama, in keeping with his campaign promise to reach across party lines, will name Sarah Palin ambassador to Africa.

Carlos the Carpenter

Posted by: Carlossss | November 7, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Where to start -- there are multiple first priorities ...

One of the first things President Obama should do is purge all Bush appointees and their hires from government agencies and appoint new managers so they work for the public again instead of business.

Posted by: owens1 | November 6, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Well he can TRY to set priorities but, unfortunately, circumstances will set them for him. Clearly, the ECONOMY and WALL STREET REFORM will be staring him in the face on inauguration day, if not sooner. Something will have to be done to get people back to work, whether it will be public works (ala FDR) perhaps on infrastructure or other activities. Of course the course of the two wars we are fighting are going to dictate a great deal with what he is going to do. I suspect that health care and social security reform are going to be moved down the priority list.

Posted by: RedRat | November 6, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse




MR. OBAMA President of the U.S. needs our help still. We need to keep our eye on the in house enemy! Quote.."HANNITY'S AMERICA"

Mr. Sean Hannity feels the need to continue to (DIVIDE AMERICA) with his rant and raves about quote "associations"
our goal here should be to keep his rhetoric straight talk!



Note: type in links learn and if need be. Protest Hannity's hatred rhetoric! email sean hannity also foxnews...pass this message on please!

Posted by: opp88 | November 6, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

President-elect Obama and the enlarged Democratic majority in Congress face a number of monumental challenges:

•Economy: Turning the economy around, and overseeing the ongoing rescue of many financial services companies and millions of strapped homeowners;

•Spending: Balancing pressures to invest in short-term stimulus and social initiatives while restraining the long-term growth of government spending;

•Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan: Reshaping US policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, in the context of evolving international alliances; and

•Energy, healthcare, and taxes: Tackling ambitious reforms of our energy, healthcare and tax systems.

In this context, some might say that the I.T. policy agenda might be less urgent than the priorities of other industries that are in danger of collapsing.

On the other hand, we need to remind people that technology policy is not just about the technology industry.

In a world that runs on innovation and information, IT is a key part of the solution to almost every economic and social challenge. And we cannot afford to be complacent about the future of the IT industry.

All of us in the IT industry must help lawmakers understand that a healthy IT industry is essential to reviving our economy and enabling social progress in the United States and around the world.

Thus, BSA and its member companies and allies will press the case that one of the top priorities for 2009 should be strengthening incentives for innovation in every major area, from energy security to healthcare quality to universal broadband to helping people weather tough times.

Another early priority must be ensuring online confidence through strong network security programs and enforcement of anti-cyber-crime laws.

Also important, we need to ensure that the United States produces and retains the best and brightest workers through smarter education and immigration policies.

Robert Holleyman
President and CEO of the Business Software Alliance

Posted by: rjameson286 | November 6, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Several of you have now commented on internal government employment reform, civil service, and no-bid contracts.

According to this WaPo article, BHO will address this immediately.

The article notes that GWB departed from previous R Admins in aggressively outsourcing AND in bloating the top ranks of agencies with "appointees".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 6, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

There are two approach Obama can take: dealing with big issues (economy, health care) or making early victories and setting the tone.

The big issues are intractable. No one really knows how to deal with the economy decisively, and health care is sure to start a big fight. If Obama loses those fights, he'll look weak. Even if he doesn't lose, Obama will become a more divisive figure and lose his lustre as a unifying figure. The better approach to these big issues, both for political pragmatics as well as for enabling bi-partisanship and good policy, is to approach them with piecemeal changes. Ensure some small, bi-partisan wins (e.g. stimulus)) and assess their progress as more pieces are slowly rolled out.

Meanwhile, Obama should shoot for some bigger projects where he can make bipartisan and popular wins. Energy independence is one area, and can also be sold as helping climate change and the economy (by fostering new industries). Some ethical reforms should pass relatively easily.

Finally, Obama should focus on diplomacy to cash in on the high opinions he has amongst foreigners and hopefully negotiate approaches to Iran and possibly some other files.

This approach shows Obama accomplishing things, working in a bipartisan manner, and maintaining a unifying position. Most importantly, it could set the tone for a long time and give him approval ratings and stature that will enable him to win fights later on.

Posted by: mustafahirji | November 6, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Skipping some of the obvious things, like rescinding Bush's signing statements (if that is possible?), closing the gitmo prison and lifting the stem cell Presidential order, he needs to address the obvious: economic reform/stimulus.

The regulatory reforms will probably go the way I would want them. Unlike a Republican led regulatory reform, I am not as worried about regulatory gifts being handed out to intellectual property holders and network rules that favor ISP's under the guise of reforming Wall Street.

It is the stimulus package that will be the litmus test. I would like an infrastructure based stimulus package, roads, rail, bridges, and performing the delayed maintenance to public buildings. But my fear is that it will be loaded up with earmarked stimulus pork. By definition, stimulus is pork, but if Obama, Reid and Pelosi can keep the earmarked pork out, or at least a lot of it, then there is a lot to hope for from a Democrat controlled White House and Congress.

Posted by: caribis | November 6, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Priority number one: based on the photo of the White House attached to this article,I believe that President Obama should have the hedges trimmed on the property.Did anyone take a close look? They need a gardner...perhaps Chauncey Gardner.
Following this crisis,I would push through middle class tax cuts and an economic stimulus package in line with the thinking of the White House,Congress,and the Federal Reserve Board.Then,approach other key issues in the simultaneity that they require.
To sum up,Obama first needs to hire new landscapers for the White House.Once this is done,a fresh new approach to tax relief and financial meltdown can begin.

Posted by: klowry57 | November 6, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The Civilian Security Force could make jobs for people. Since the economy is real bad and jobs scarce, delay of young people into the work force, at this time, could be a benefit. With the CSF patrolling the cities then, eventually, the second amendment could be stricken from the constitution because with secure and safe streets there is absolutely no argument to keep guns.

Posted by: leapin | November 6, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama should focus on three things to start. 1. Change our infrastructure to be more green. If we give Detroit a hand out make them change every automobile engine from gas only to hybrid/natural gas/electric/etc. within eight years. 2. Set up an achievable time line, 2-3 years, for Iraq withdrawl but be flexible to stay longer if needed. (If you think this is a bad idea remember the Colin Powell quote you break it you bought it we have to put Iraq back in better shape then we bought it.) Also have Iraq start paying us for the troop presence. They currently have a surplus. 3. Bring speedy trials at Guantanamo and close it. No more waiting get this done now it has gone on to long already. 4. Find out what we bought with the 700 Billion bail out and propose a plan to get the government out of the banking industry. He needs to reassure investors and everyone else that this was an extraordinary event and not government policy. 5. Propose regulations that will review lending practices to prevent future bailouts. Make Wall Street fess up to the problems they caused and have them write regulations that focus on a level business playing field while at the same time keeping people in their homes. 6. Address equity losses in mortgages to keep people from walking away from their mortgages.

Posted by: christm1600 | November 6, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know whether the new President can reinstate Whistleblower protections stripped by the Bush Supreme Court?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 6, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Economic stimulus should be his top priority--must get the economy on solid ground or NOTHING else will happen. I also think that will be his first initiative, followed closely by a sane end to the war in Iraq; then doubling our efforts in Afghanistan to end that war successfully.

Posted by: soonerthought | November 6, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The new President should restore the public's confidence in Federal workers by passing a Civil Service Restoration Act that applies certain fundamental principles:
1. Collective Bargaining rights for all federal workers, the experience at TSA with a powerless workforce led to a brain drain and was a morale buster.
2. Contractors must only be used when the cost of profit is balanced by the public need for the service. All contracts should have a transition to a federal workforce if the task is not short term i.e. 12 months.
3. Strengthen the grade/step system in partnership with federal workers with a true pay for performance system managed by an independent agency.
4. Develop an apprenticeship program for public service featuring internships and scholarships leading to a career in the public sector.
5. Encourage innovation in the federal government by awarding contracts internally to run efficient programs open to federal workers only.
As a former TSA officer (5 1/2 years) I witnessed a case study in bad management principles demoralizing a motivated workforce. It's time for a change.
Ron Moore

Posted by: joekenehan | November 6, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

President-elect Barack Obama will face a series of challenges that rival any of his modern predecessors -- a damaged economy, a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, aging and inefficient U.S. infrastructure, and a deteriorating environment.

Each individually would warrant the immediate attention of the White House. But the President-elect has an historic opportunity to work with Congress on a plan to address them all. That plan should start with a cap on global warming pollution.

With that cap, we can help revitalize the economy by instantly creating new markets and new customers for U.S. manufacturers in the supply chain for clean energy technologies – think wind turbines and all of the cement and steel that go into them. We can stem the flow of petrodollars overseas, by as much as $500 billion over the next two decades by MIT estimates. And we can generate new revenue for investment in America by auctioning emissions permits – all while fighting climate change.

It’s the energy policy America needs now. President-elect Obama should begin working with Congress early in his administration to enact a cap and restore U.S. leadership in the global climate change debate.

Posted by: tkreindler | November 6, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Stop torture immediately.

Posted by: ffoulks | November 6, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Stop torture now.

Posted by: ffoulks | November 6, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

No. 3445678, therapy is at 3:00pm, and lockdown is at 9pm. The Aryan Nations meeting scheduled for 5:00 in the 1st floor bathroom has been moved to the weight room.


Detention Center Management

"1. Begin drilling offshore inside the 50 mile limit.

2. Order the construction of at least 30 new nuke plants.

[Incoherent, bigoted junk omitted]

11. Resign

Posted by: AZvet[ernarian] | November 6, 2008 12:58 PM"

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 6, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

First things first. Stop the bleeding in the economic crisis. Add regulation to the credit default swap markets, demand that the banks actually loan out the money that we are giving them, work with the global community of goverments to inject worldwide capitol into all markets so that we are not doing all of the heavy lifting.

Second healthcare. Pass legislation giving individuals and businesses to purchase the type of healthcare that congress has so that people can choose to move away from a private insurance system and buy into a government healthcare system. The cost will be vastly less and benefits of this healthcare will be greatly improved versus private groups. Because this is a choice, it is hard for the red team to argue that anyone is being forced into it.

Three. Begin to draw down troops in Iraq and work with the global community to inject more force into Afganistan/Pakistan border.

Posted by: djeterpt1 | November 6, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

He should repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and implement the same plan that Lincoln did during the Civil War of the US government printing it's own money backed by the ingenuity and work ethic of the american people. Why do a group of 12 private banks control our money supply and not the US people? Why are they alone allowed to make up money out of thin air and then charge us all interest on it?

Posted by: saxahydros | November 6, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The first priority for the Obama administration should be the passage of the middle class tax cuts.Yet,other issues are equally pressing:the financial crisis,the battle for Afghanistan,Iraq War withdrawal,energy development,infrastructure,health care,education,and job creation.
These issues must be tackled simultaneously,anyway.I understand that the President will be forced to deal with the scrutiny of his priorities and his decision-making process...especially,early on.
Yet,personally,I think it would be a good start on his agenda to comfort and thank the electorate by doing what the President-elect said he would do about taxes.That is,cut taxes on everyone who earns less than $200,000,possibly $250,000.Republicans that earn less than this cannot complain about satisfies the party 'mantra'.This should also be coupled with a stimulus package that offers meaningful relief for those in need.
Do I think Obama will tackle something other than my proposal? The answer is probably.The issues that I previously noted have virtually equal value.The President will have a full plate from which to choose.
Personally,though,I would follow up on the tax cut pledge with a full-court press in the energy sector.I believe energy independence is a huge priority.Following,or alongside,the attention to the economy and to energy,the President will need to assert himself,troops,and diplomats into the Afghanistan-Pakistan quagmire.The urgency for this was stated in a recent emotional plea from Hamid Karzai.
So there it is:(1)middle class tax cuts/stimulus(2)energy independence legislation(3)Afghanistan-Pakistan.
Thanks for the oppportunity to comment.

Posted by: klowry57 | November 6, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

When Bill Clinton took office, the first order of business was the House and Senate re-passing the Family and Medical Leave Act, which Bush 41 had vetoed. Along these lines, Congress should re-pass S-CHIP for Obama to sign, as well as any other legislation vetoed by Bush 43 that Obama favors.

Agree with expanding Public Works, and rebuilding aging infrastructure: a win-win, because these fix our country while putting money in workers' pockets.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 6, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Lets give the President elect the support he deserves . He should in the first reduce spending on military matters . Defense shield in Eastern Europe is stupid . Form a new alliance with the former eastern block including Russia to contain the middle eastern threat . Russia has an insurcence problem of its own and an interest to stop islamic militant expansion . Estimated savings 64 billion .
Acknowledge the Taliban include in negotiations for control of Afghanistan .
Afghans have learned to despise them enough , now they are learning to fear US .
Bring home the soldiers while you can without destroying your Presidency , as a standing army they are more useful to the international community by being Peacekeepers . Africa has millions starving because the cost of food has risen because of `Corn for Ethanol ` there are alternate sources of enrgy , use them .
Allow this great Nation to prosper at home , secure the borders proper , protect the Homeland , stop supporting the enemy with our dollars . As for the economy , do not export jobs , each job leaving has a value , we give away for free . Stop the import of Consumer Goods from countries not
being willing to reciprocate , China , Japan , Malaysia usf . Allow access to our markets only without US to incurr diotic deficits . Last but not least stop the radical PARTYLINE and use some of the intelligence and knowhow of the other side
of the isle . The Republican side has experience which you should not cast aside .

Posted by: erichk1 | November 6, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

1. Begin drilling offshore inside the 50 mile limit.

2. Order the construction of at least 30 new nuke plants.

3. Build more clean coal plants.

4. Stop Ethanol production and all subsities for it.

5. Double disabled Vets benefits immediately.

6. Dump Rham Emanuel as Chief of Staff.

7. Appoint John McCain as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

8. Do not distribute any more of the $850 billion bailout until each recipient says what they plan to do with every dime.

9. Extend the Bush tax cuts.

10. Keep Michelle out of public view.

11. Resign

Posted by: AZvet | November 6, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Close GITMO, stop the secret tribunals, and try these prisoners in military or civilian courts.

Respect FISA and order the NSC to get search warrants for eavesdropping on calls of US citizens.

Push a "manhatten project" style approach to develop alternative fuels technology. Look at all avenues, not just wind and solar, but CNG, nuclear, and even domestic oil drilling. In the early '90's Brazil decided to go for energy independence. They developed sugar-cane ethanol, conservation, and offshore drilling. Guess what? They no longer import oil! If Brazil can find a way, the US can too!

Pass SCHIP. Also, pass legislation giving the government the right to negotiate drugs prices for the Medicare prescription drug benefit, just like Canada does.

Appropriate funds to seriously rebuild the transportation infrastructure in this country. This will put people to work and $$$ in their pockets. Re-build old bridges, highways. Improve the air traffic control system. Seriously consider building high speed passenger rail links in the Midwest. TGV trains in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois would run on electricity and cut fuel consupmtion, as well as providing critical jobs to these hard-hit states.

Posted by: grnwayrob | November 6, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

SCHIP legislation is a bill that has the support to pass easily, and will endear him to liberals. You may even see Republicans futily try to put up a fight, so it is an easy victory that he can make look hard.

Posted by: myhojda | November 6, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama is up against a very diffulcult next four years. When he was still a senator Obama was a large part of passing the Global Poverty Act, which is an act that would end severe poverty by 2025. The Borgen Project is also working to pass the Global Poverty Act. According to The Borgen Project:
$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$540 billion: Annual U.S. Defense Budget.
Find out more at!

Posted by: veronica5 | November 6, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

1st,A stimulus package to increase consumer spending and help small businesses obtain the credit they need to sell their goods. The package must also provide the small to median community banks obtain the money to make loans available to the car industry. This will enable consumers to buy cars and save the American car industry. Regulate the credit card industry and prevent them from raising interest rates on both consumers and small to median businesses. This will allow consumers to use their credit cards to buy goods and the businesses to continue to accept consumer credit cards. They will also be able to use their business credit cards to buy the items that they need in order to continue to sell to the consumer. Consumer spending makes up 67% of our GDP. In conclusion; they and the retail businesses must take priority over every thing else.There are Government Programs that were not needed but were none-the-less created by the Bush Administration. These programs can be eliminated. I would start by eliminating the Department of Homeland Security. This is a duplication of The FBI and The National Guard. 2nd; I would bring home all the National Guard Units including The Air National Guard currently in Irag home ASAP. Foreign Defense is already handled by The NSA,The CIA,The Special Forces and regular Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force. We should withdraw our troops from foreign countries that have their own professional militaries. This includes our military units in Western Europe, Asia and The Middle East. Let the Saudis, Kuwaitis,Iraqis, and the rest of The Middle East use their own militaries deal with their national interests. We can then concentrate on our National Interest that includes Afghanistan and Pakistan. These two countries are the home of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Dismantle all missile and radar installations The Independent Countries that used to make up the Soviet Union. Repair our relationship with The Russians. Withdraw any military assistance to Taiwan. Repair our relationship with China. All the money that we need for a stimulus package for consumers and small to medium business will come from these actions. We have to take care of our own people first. When the Financial Crisis is over; we can reexamine any foreign aid. The same goes for Africa and Latin America. Let the African and Latin American Countries deal with their domestic problems. If and only if they threaten our National Interest; we will take action. Eliminate all illegal aliens who send their money back to their countries any way. Only legal aliens that spend their money in America will be allowed to stay. We must keep our people employed and spending in America. Increase employment using our National Guard assist our border guards to keep illegal immigrants out.

Posted by: ivan47ronin | November 6, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

What I find most interesting in reading all of the advice and demands, and enough hot air to be a major cause of global warming, here is that they seem to originate from people who didn't have anything to do with his campaign. Oh, a lot of them voted for him. But how many of you knocked on doors? How many knocked on at least 1000 doors? Who manned telephone banks at night when it was too late to knock on doors? Who donated $200 or more? Who donated 10%, a full tithe of their take home pay? I did and I have absolutely no demands for our new President. Neither do any of the other volunteers I know of. If he keeps to his stated agenda we will be just fine. As for the chattering class here, if you didn't work and work damn hard for this candidate, you have absolutely no room to demand anything. So shut up and let the man do his job as he sees fit.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 6, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama's first piece of legislation should not be too substantive but rather bipartisan and even populist. Before its introduction he needs to get commitments from the Hill's leadership to support the bills as initially negotiated and written and limit if not prevent ammendments and attachments. Suggestions:
1. A bill directing the closing of Guantanamo with detainees moved to the United States with a right to the due process of law. The bill would also reaffirm the prohibition of the use of torture.
2. A bill to provide both the extension of unemployment benefits and permitting the banking industry to derive tax benefits for the revaluation of principal on home loans that exceed the property's current value.
3. A bill providing government guarantees and incentives for the private sector development of clean coal, a rapid expansion of nuclear power, and the development of wind and solar energy. The bill would empower the Secretary of Energy to fund technologies leading to the immediate and safe disposal of nuclear waste and the immediate reduction of greehouse gasses.
4. A bill providing billions of dollars to the US automotive industry for the purpose of immediately developing and deploying low emissions automobiles in counjunction with fuel standards that would rise quickly to 50mpg highway. One area of focus could be the retrofitting of existing automobiles with increased fuel efficiency technologies through a direct reimbursement to the auto companies for every retrofit completed at every dealership in the country.

Just a note. Before the inaugural, Obama should send out America's 50 wise men and women to each address one of the world's 50 most serious problems. They would be private citizens acting on behalf of the incoming president to move dialogue and solutions forward. Some would work on domestic issues, other on strategic international issues, others on intrastate issues. The list of the wise would be non-partisan and draw out the best and brightest from various leading fields. Each would spend 8 weeks working on the issue assigned and backed up by their own hand-picked team of up to 4 assistants. Their cost would be paid by private donations and by the american public continuing to give to the Obama campaign fund.

Posted by: go-global | November 6, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Chris, thanks for the forum.
1) What is the first piece of legislation President Obama should offer when Congress reconvenes in January 2009?

I would title the first piece of legislation the Clinton/McCain Support our Troops Act. and I would offer it to HRC and Big Mac for initial submission to the Senate.
It would include the following provisions: (subject to negotiations, of course).
A. Repeal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell and state that Homosexuality is not a firable offense in the Military. (I would lobby this through the Joint Chiefs first).
B. Allow women to fight in combat in certain approved positions.
C. Authorize funds for body armor for all soldiers in combat deployment.
D. An across the board pay raise of 5% effective immediately for all enlisted men and officers.
E. A nonbinding resolution encouraging the President, in consultation with Petraeus to remove at least one brigade per month from Iraq back to Kuwait.
F. Give all Peace Corps workers the same medical benefits through the VA program that soldiers get.

I think this would work for the nation for a bunch of reasons: It unites McCain and Clinton, sends a clear message that the Federal Government is on the side of Gays, promotes equality for women, supports the troops in their pocketbook, which is good for the economy, and starts to fulfill the initial promise to withdraw from Iraq, though it leaves him with flexibility in the process. It also states that Peace is as important as war, by the inclusion of Peace Corps workers in the bill, and touches on Health Care.
Perhaps most importantly, I think this bill is easily passable, not hugely partisan, and builds momentum for later.

2) Is the legislation you think Obama will push different from the issue you want him to put at the front of the line? Why or why not?

The most important issue to me personally that requires legislation is Health Care Reform. I think the ideal strategy on this is to add a little bit here and there and to continue to expand coverage into a National pool of people. And later after hopefully an increase in the midterm elections and a true popular and electoral landslide in 2012, a major effort.

Posted by: kenbareilles | November 6, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr President Elect, I really think Native Americans should also share in the feel good factor following your election.

I do suggest at least one of them should be nominated to a relatively high post in your new government.

They have been totally ignored for too long.

This is an opinion from tiny Mauritius in the Indian Ocean where we all love you!

Posted by: asobratee | November 6, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse


Ensuring the civil liberties of all Americans, weeding out prejudice, and reversing policies and practices that violate the U.S. Constitution must be a top priority of the new administration.

The free ride for the forces of hate and extremism, hiding behind bureaucratic programs originally constructed to "keep America safe," must come to a quick end.

One of the first executive orders of the new administration should be sensitivity training for all federal personnel, and a mandatory refresher course on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

All federal departments should be screened for policies and ongoing operations that are violating the constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties of American citizens.

All laws and executive orders implemented over the past eight years should be subject to immediate review to determine whether their provisions comport with spirit and letter of the Constitution.

Also, it might be a good idea on Day One for the Obama administration to commission an independent, trusted entity to sweep all government offices, as well as private residences of key officials, for electronic surveillance devices.

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial "vigilante injustice" squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:


Posted by: scrivener50 | November 6, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama's first priority should be picking a fight with the Supreme Court.

It took Bush 8 years to ruin the economy. It'll take Obama longer than a year to fix it. When things don't miraculously turn around in a few months, Obama's luster will start to tarnish. He'll need someone to blame for the continued bad economy if he wants to keep control of the fiscally conservative democrats in Congress who are already very nervous about his plans. If he loses support of the fiscally conservative democrats, his administration will founder: there aren't enough liberals in the congress to sustain it by themselves.

He can't blame the Democratic Congress. That'll just accelerate the abandonment by the fiscal conservatives. Plus it'll make him look bad if he blames the party he helped elect. He can't blame a foreign country. He was the anti-war candidate. If we're still wrapped up in Iraq that'll be his fault. Even though he really isn't to blame for an economy that can't turn on a dime, the only way he can shuck the blame for a continued bad economy is if he is seen to pass sweeping economic reform and the conservative Court blocks it.

He needs to pick a fight with the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Bill64738 | November 6, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Get four rottweillers and let them roam the grounds and the press room.

Posted by: J_thinks | November 6, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Now - to the question of what President-Elect Obama should tackle first. (Oh, I do love the sound of that title).

An all-out attack on our dependence upon fossil fuels. Another reader pointed out the 10-year space program that President Kennedy initiated. THAT sounds like a plan. And it follows that President Obama would be credited with following through on one of his promises - and that promise is one that most American citizens can get behind whatever their political leanings. The only people who might not find it so appealing with be those with vested interest in an oil-based economy. We all know who they are - but they would simply be forced to re-think and get behind the effort themselves.

Posted by: wwwqueen | November 6, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

At 7:27A I posted favoring the bipartisan low hanging fruit first - as so many have pointed out, S-CHIP comes to mind, as well as energy independence and a stimulus package, which I mentioned. I agree with those who think the stimulus should not take the form of a tax handout/rebate, but should target something job intensive and lasting: infrastructure. The expanded volunteer service program that he and McC both want would help here too.

That expanded volunteer program would also help lay the groundwork for a health care initiative some years down the line. By encouraging nurses, nutritionists, GP docs, pharmacists, dentists, etc. to work for a few years in public health clinic care or public schools in exchange for tuition grants and loan forgiveness we can provide more low cost service now and more actual providers to help mitigate cost in any system later.

But I would add that the tax system MUST BE ADDRESSED IN 2009. The estate tax reforms at the beginning of the decade were timed to be dealt with in 2009. If you did not know this, let me explain: current estate taxes will disappear in 2010 only to be replaced by the very high estate taxes of 1999 in 2011. It was a legislative kicking of the ball forward to 2009. Because there are enough Rs who are willing to engage on the issue, a compromise on the estate tax and on capital gains can surely be reached in 2009. While not low hanging fruit, it is a forced issue.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 6, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama's legislation should be an economic stimulation package. His first task, however, should be an immediate assessment of the Department of Justice and a house cleaning (and if necessary prosecution) of those responsible for politicizing the the DOJ. This will also require that he begin to unravel the skein of power abuse woven by Cheney and Bush into the executive branch. I suspect he will begin with the tax package first, since that will require a lot of political capital to get done.

Posted by: richarddimatteo | November 6, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

There is not a real choice. Nor can Obama approach the domestic issues piece by piece. The economy can only be revived through a major restructure. In large part that effort will involve changes that are supported by both parties. Within it the Democrats will push some changes that are weighted toward their agenda. But the timing of those particular changes will be driven more by the requirements of the overall process and the urgency of particular problems than by their attractiveness to particular Democratic Party special interest groups.
As far as foreign policy goes, Obama will also be constrained by the reality he finds. The agenda for Iraq will be driven by an evaluation of Petreus's arguments, the Iraqi's desires, and the need for resources elsewhere. Obama has never expressed any lack of support for our intervention in Afghanistan. Dealing with its realities and the deteriorating situation in Pakistan will also be a pressing problem. So will be the implications of the potential economic collapse of several countries in Eastern Europe and the unpredicable course of Russia amid resurgent nationalism and economic problems driven by the at least temporary collapse in the price of oil.
It will also be interesting to see how long it takes for the ideologs in the media to adjust to their mistakes in understanding the reality of Obama and the implications of his victory.

Posted by: dnjake | November 6, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

To Ladyesq1:

I think you have it wrong. Yes, there certainly still is sexism in this country - but not the way it was 50 years ago. You can't begin to imagine what it was like back when you couldn't own real estate in your own name in some states, but had to have some kind of "guardian" to manage it for you because women are too "hysterical" to manage on their own.

However, even though, in their own way, women were also chattel - my grandmother was "sold" in marriage to a 65-year-old man when she was 15. It was not universally institutionalized and many women (granted, usually the wealthy) were able to have careers and some sense of partnership in their marriages.

On the other hand, people of color could be bought and sold away from their families on the whim of the people who owned them.

Sure, there is still some inequality out there - my son complains with some justification that he can't get a good job because people of color with the same background/experience are preferred over him.

Nevertheless, you (and my son) need to put it into some perspective. And BTW, I resent your sexist inference that only one woman was qualified for the job of President at this time. What nonsense!

Posted by: wwwqueen | November 6, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"I agree with the Post article yesterday hoping that Obama can contain the urge for "retaliatory policymaking" in the face of long-awaited political control."

This might not be such an issue for Obama who came into the Senate at the very end of the wilderness years. Republicans did decently in 2004, but that was just a prelude to their crushing losses two years later. Obama likely doesn't harbor much bitterness simply because he wasn't there to take the abuse.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 6, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Voting representation in the House for DC!

Posted by: jules8172 | November 6, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If Barack Obama wants to fulfil his message of change he will need to walk a political tightrope. He will need to visit important partisan issues like healthcare reform and foreign policy but still foster a spirit of bipartisanship necessary to unite this country in difficult times. i beleive his first steps should be to deal with the economy as all sides agree change is necessary and many conservatives are willing to bridge idealogical gaps in order to make the necessary reforms. He should also in quick order support bipartisan issues so that when healthcare and a phased redployment of troops from Iraq to Afganistan are raised, the sides that differ might at least raise a healthy dialogue and congress might escape overly partisan divisions.

Posted by: DylanA | November 6, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mandate E-Verify for all employees, for all employers, for any benefit.

This should begin the exodus of 40-50 million illegals, and provide jobs for 10 million Americans. It will also save water, gasoline, electricity, and reduce our carbon footprint.

Build The Fence!!!

This will prevent deported criminals, and gang members, or more illegal immigrants, from invading our country.

Posted by: buzzm1 | November 6, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Probabbly the very first thing he should do is fumigate the White House and then after that check for bugs left by Cheney and his new world order cronies. But seriously, the economy is of the highest order because it affects everything else. I honestly believe that Obama needs to be very careful in who he selects as his economic advisors and who he picks for Treasury Secretary. The reason I think this is so crucial is because he and his team will need to have a "fireside chat" with the american people about how our economy really works, where we are really at with it all, what the options are for the next year, the next 4 years and the next 25 years, and what would have to do to implement each of those options. By and large the american people are relatively ignorant of the financial system that runs this country and how it really works. This is not meant as an insult to the american people because the folks that control the financial system don't want the general public to know how they do it. If we are truly want a government of the people, by the people and for the people we need to decide what we want and not just let the international banking community led by the Federal Reserve and other Wall Street interests dictate it. Yes, there are very smart peolpe in that community who will need to be heavily involved in the process but we need to pull back the curtain from the Wizard of OZ.

Posted by: saxahydros | November 6, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Dear mehuwss:
Barack won 61 million votes in spite of illegal immigration; therefore, he does reform it in a way that does not provide a pathway to citizenship he can still get reelected because those who oppose it would vote for him! For the record, college educated whites are legally here and will not be deported in 2012 regardless of whether or not Latinos vote for him. You are giving this demographic too much credit!

Posted by: phenomena1 | November 6, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Predicated on his recent commentary, it would appear that Obama's 1st priority will be to bankrupt America's coal industry. America has the largest reserves of coal in the world; and, a full 50% of our domestic electrical energy generation is dependent on this resource; and yet, LEFT-WING FRINGE ELEMENTS continuously attempt to restrict the use of these coal reserves; and, to impede attempts to develop technologies/facilities for the liquefaction of coal. Bill Clinton struck a major blow to America's accessible coal reserves when he unilaterally, over the objection of State officials, placed the Red Hills of Utah with an estimated Four(4) Trillion $s worth of high quality coal assets off-limits. Fearful of mass protests, Clinton wouldn't even go to Utah to announce his heinous restriction; but, rather chose to make his proclamation from the relative security of Arizona. Clinton's actions represented a major financial windfall for his Riady Bros. bankrollers who were in competition with Utah to sell their Indonesian coal holdings to the CHICOM. Ever wonder why Clinton refuses to release the Donor list for his "Foundation"! And to compound this dilemma, Barack Obama now vows to "bankrupt the coal industry" with his cap&trade policies in spite of his recognition that "energy costs will sky-rocket". Blissful ignorance from an unscrupulous Marxist who fails to recognize that he can bankrupt the coal industry much more rapidly than alternative sources can be brought on-line. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | November 6, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Obama's first task ought to be that of getting a good firm grip on national security matters. A sudden and unexpected attack would be the quickest route to a failed presidency. Security leads to confidence and confidence leads to growth. Security is the foundation for all else. Get a solid grip on security matters first. The economy will follow

Posted by: vmonroe_valnesio | November 6, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"That happened the moment he was elected. Everyone intuited that in a second."

That may be true, but I could not resist taking the shot.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 6, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse




Posted by: olgaolivia | November 6, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse




Posted by: olgaolivia | November 6, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

1. Lock down the VP office so nothing moves from it. Could be usefull for the criminal prosicutions.
2. Close GTMO
3. Single payer health care.
4. De-corpritize the federal govt. (Blackwater, Haliburton ect).
5. End Iraq war
6. Vetrans benifits for those maimed in the war.(Appoint John McCain Head of Vet affairs)
7. Close upper income tax loopholes and institute a steep graduated tax (75-90% over $500K sounds good).
8. No Signing statements!

Posted by: lrjanzen | November 6, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

HRC-free ZONE...please

Posted by: ladyesq1 | November 6, 2008 10:50 AM

"Now, IF (and that's a big if) Hillary runs in 2016, she'll be 69 yrs old...yeah, right, like that's gonna happen for us women!"

This appears to be a Hilliarian sighting, that lost tribe of 18 wanderers last seen in the jungles of Borneo subsisting on nuts and pants suit juice. Legend has it they believe they are protected by an immortal flock of leather-winged creatures called harpies. The last physical sign of the tribe was a discarded autographed picture of "Mrs." Billie Jean King.

No, seriously, why revisit this junk? Other than perhaps the Martina Navratilova crowd, nobody cares. HRC couldn't have beaten McCain; she had a two-state strategy (FL and OH) that wasn't going to work. Her personal attacks and race-baiting against 44 would have ensured 25% of the electorate (minorities, independents, progressives, Obamacons)stayed home. She admits she could not get 50% of the vote much less 52, and certainly wouldn't have won NC, VA, CO, Indiana, NV, and NM. Even if she had won, it would have been by a sliver and so she wouldn't have had a mandate.

Plus, sadly, her agenda featured not a message of hope for the world but an endless series of petty and crabby grievances and grudges (e.g., Patti Solis Doyle, the entire state of Iowa, Dolly Kyle Browning, Bill Richardson, the guy who looked at her the wrong way two months ago at Sardis, etc.). Mrs. Wm. J. Clinton has finally, at long last -- we hope -- moved on. Why don't we all, including 37thandOalley, er, I mean Dorchester???

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 6, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Let's go back 50 years and remember what happened when Sputnik was launched. The US freaked out about being out-engineered by the USSR, and the result was the Apollo program, a spectacular technological push that got us onto the moon within eight years.

Right now, we're knee-deep in manure in the Middle East, ultimately because we've been strongly involved in dirty politics there for so many generations. We uphold dictators and tyrants because we need the stability to get oil. It should come as no surprise that we are the focus of the resentment of common people who suffer under these regimes. The result has been terrorism in the United States and a very expensive campaign to restabilize the area with friendly leadership.

Instead of spending another $657 billion in Iraq, Obama ought to focus an Apollo-like effort on developing energy independence in the United States through alternative fuel sources (including nuclear power.) This should be a top national priority, and we ought to put real money into it. This isn't just an ecological issue, but one of national security. And, in focusing on a serious energy initiative, the government can pour money into a troubled economy.

Drilling for oil in untouched areas wouldn't produce results for a decade and would ultimately just increase our dependence on that source of fuel. But if we can put a man on the moon in ten years, surely we can leverage existing research and dial back our dependence on the Middle East! But to do so, it has to become a centerpiece of policy, and President Obama could not do better than to focus on this initiative first.

Posted by: krasni | November 6, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Combine something non-controversial such as an energy bill with something controversial as the first steps of universal health care.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 6, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Obama got the Latino vote because he promised immigration reform during his first year in office. If he does not follow through on that he can forget about being reelected in 2012.

Posted by: mehuwss | November 6, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Get out of Iraq fast and get a fair and equitable peace in the mideast. Then we won't need Gitmo nor torture and our enemies will be kissing our feet. Only neocons will deny this fact.

Posted by: qualquan | November 6, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

SCHIP- for the children

Stimulus checks- for the parents

Tax cuts- to get US economy rolling

Alternative fuel- to save the planet and stop funding the terrorists

End Iraq war- to cut national debt

Posted by: SeedofChange | November 6, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the multiple posts, my computer is messed up and seemed to be freezing, apparently it was posting. Unintentional I promise.

Posted by: andygoldman | November 6, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

ladyesq1, why do you hate women so much that you believe all the female governors, senators, and congresswomen in the country are unqualified for the White House except one? There are a lot of VERY qualified women in politics now, and at least a dozen - from both parties - who would make good presidents. The idea that Hillary was the only hope for women for the next 60 years is sexist and insulting.

Look to the governors - most post-World War I presidents came from either a governor's mansion or the naval observatory - not congress. Congress is actually a very bad place to launch a presidential bid from, and Obama would have had a harder time this year if McCain had not also been a senator. The governors of Kansas and Arizona are both strong, and we will see many more female governors over the next 12 years. Trust me.

Posted by: dj333 | November 6, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

What he should to is sign an economic stimulus "package" that contains funding for just one thing: rebuilding our infrastructure. It should be a clean bill, lacking any other goodies like mortgage relief for homeowners, alternative fuels, etc, deserving as some of them might be. Everyone knows our bridges, roads, and water systems need upgrades, but the real benefit is jobs, jobs, jobs, here in the US not in India. Politically, this should be a nobrainer, as how could anyone not want better roads and bridges? The problem is Congress, who will want to lard the thing up with all kinds of things. He should stand up to Pelosi and Reid and tell them exactly what he will and will not sign.

Unfortunately, I think he will sign an economic stimulus package prepared by Congress containing infrastructure funds, alternative fuels, homeowner relief and who knows what else.

Posted by: obrient | November 6, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I think that aside from the obvious (confirming his cabinet members), President-elect Obama should introduce something a little bit less controversial and more symbolic as his first legislation, I suggest alternative fuels legislation.

First, I think that Sen. Kennedy will have a health care bill on his desk (or close) by the time he's done attending all of the Inaugural Balls. Second, I think the Dems will have an economic stimulus package on his desk too. It won't be a far reaching ecnomic policy (which he should wait on), but immediate stimulus will be there.
He can let his staff take their time putting their stamp on the health care package (the 111th Congress will be brand new) and the economic stimulus won't really be his.

The alternative fuels policy is a wonderful symbolic gesture for Obama. It was one of his key points in stump speeches, particularly before the souring of the economy; it is an important factor in helping the economy stabilize; and it is a good, bipartisan issue where, aside from nuclear power expansion and offshore drilling (not ruled out in his bill, just not included) he agreed with McCain. Unlike the predecessors Bush's SS reform and Clinton's Health Care reform, Obama can establish his bipartisanship and build up some political capital to push his bigger ticket items later on.

As for what I'd like to see, I think I'm most concerned about a bipartisan effort more than any specific policy. I don't like partisanship on either side and I agree with the Post article yesterday hoping that Obama can contain the urge for "retaliatory policymaking" in the face of long-awaited political control.

Posted by: andygoldman | November 6, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

SCHIP would be an easy enough start. It has already passed both houses.

Torture legislation that clearly puts United States policy within the guidelines of the Geneva Convention and our own military's field manual would send a strong signal to the international community that our country's moral compass has been reset.

Posted by: pdech | November 6, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I think that aside from the obvious (confirming his cabinet members), President-elect Obama should introduce something a little bit less controversial and more symbolic as his first legislation, I suggest alternative fuels legislation.

First, I think that Sen. Kennedy will have a health care bill on his desk (or close) by the time he's done attending all of the Inaugural Balls. Second, I think the Dems will have an economic stimulus package on his desk too. It won't be a far reaching ecnomic policy (which he should wait on), but immediate stimulus will be there.
He can let his staff take their time putting their stamp on the health care package (the 111th Congress will be brand new) and the economic stimulus won't really be his.

The alternative fuels policy is a wonderful symbolic gesture for Obama. It was one of his key points in stump speeches, particularly before the souring of the economy; it is an important factor in helping the economy stabilize; and it is a good, bipartisan issue where, aside from nuclear power expansion and offshore drilling (not ruled out in his bill, just not included) he agreed with McCain. Unlike the predecessors Bush's SS reform and Clinton's Health Care reform, Obama can establish his bipartisanship and build up some political capital to push his bigger ticket items later on.

As for what I'd like to see, I think I'm most concerned about a bipartisan effort more than any specific policy. I don't like partisanship on either side and I agree with the Post article yesterday hoping that Obama can contain the urge for "retaliatory policymaking" in the face of long-awaited political control.

Posted by: andygoldman | November 6, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to watch Obama handle what will be an immediate and forceful demand by the far left groups who funded his election to pass their desired legislation.

How he handles this will define the rest of his preseidency. I suspect he will want to govern from the center and will team up with centrists for the first major legislative efforts. He may wind up at odds with the far left as he tries to strike a balanced approach.

Posted by: dennisacton | November 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

1. Close Guantanamo Bay prison. It would immediately eliminate one of the terrorists' recruiting points, and save the taxpayers a ton of money.

2. 90 day moratorium on foreclosures. It doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime, and would give people a chance to catch up on payments. Otherwise, the banks are just sitting on empty homes.

3. Push an infrastructure stimulus to repair the nation's crumbling freeway overpasses and bridges. Also give some of that money to the states and county road commissions in the form of grants to repair state and local roads and bridges as well. It gets people work in the construction industry. That keeps tax revenues in local economies, helps the retail sector, keeps families from moving in search of work in other places, kids aren't uprooted from school and starting over somewhere else, etc... We need jobs, not individual stimulus payments.

Posted by: corridorg4 | November 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hi Ira -

I suppose it depends from where you are looking. See:

As your hometown paper reports, BHO helped in metro Dallas and Metro Austin.
It also claims he helped in EP, but I think, as I know you do, that HRC would have helped more in EP. And maybe the Valley would have voted, but they have not since Bentsen left office.

I was pretty surprised that Brewster voted D - non-Texans should learn that Brewster County is geographically larger than Connecticut - and my friends out there attribute it to the work of the Sul Ross kids.

Diana Maldonado in Williamson never had a chance to be state rep from Austin's R suburb to the north until BHO. HRC would not have helped there.

Like you, I have lived through two eras of one party rule and one short era of two party rule in TX. With the likely defeat of Craddick I see the beginning reemergence of two party rule and I favor that.

To everyone not named Leichtman, I apologize for the digression!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama's first move should be something easy, yet symbolic, which sets the tone for how America will be different in the coming years. My pick would be to rescind the Bush rule requiring passports to travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. This rule was a paranoid over-reaction by a basically incompetent administration, and reversing it would send the message that the Obama administration will not be governed by blind fear. It would also help business in boarder areas, and make it that much easier when it comes time to update NAFTA - it would send the message that we are not coming from an isolationist position when we attempt to build labor and environmental protections into our trade agreements.

As far as congressional legislation goes, Obama's middle class tax cut might not be a bad place to start: Dale Carnegie says the first rule of sales is to get them saying "yes", so by starting out with a bill that Republicans and Blue Dogs would have a hard time turning down, he sets the precedent that they will vote for his agenda. That doesn't mean that they will, but it prevents them from thinking that they can safely oppose it on general principles.

Posted by: dj333 | November 6, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think that aside from the obvious (confirming his cabinet members), President-elect Obama should introduce something a little bit less controversial and more symbolic as his first legislation, I suggest alternative fuels legislation.

First, I think that Sen. Kennedy will have a health care bill on his desk (or close) by the time he's done attending all of the Inaugural Balls. Second, I think the Dems will have an economic stimulus package on his desk too. It won't be a far reaching ecnomic policy (which he should wait on), but immediate stimulus will be there.
He can let his staff take their time putting their stamp on the health care package (the 111th Congress will be brand new) and the economic stimulus won't really be his.

The alternative fuels policy is a wonderful symbolic gesture for Obama. It was one of his key points in stump speeches, particularly before the souring of the economy; it is an important factor in helping the economy stabilize; and it is a good, bipartisan issue where, aside from nuclear power expansion and offshore drilling (not ruled out in his bill, just not included) he agreed with McCain. Unlike the predecessors Bush's SS reform and Clinton's Health Care reform, Obama can establish his bipartisanship and build up some political capital to push his bigger ticket items later on.

As for what I'd like to see, I think I'm most concerned about a bipartisan effort more than any specific policy. I don't like partisanship on either side and I agree with the Post article yesterday hoping that Obama can contain the urge for "retaliatory policymaking" in the face of long-awaited political control.

Posted by: andygoldman | November 6, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Support re-institution of the Fairness Doctrine
Review federal voting laws to make disenfranchisement/suppression efforts more difficult
Mandate early voting for the States
Free, with all due dispatch, improperly held detainees
Return troops from Iraq by the end of 2009
Subsidize R&D focused on electric and hydrogen fuel powered cars
Free Juan Williams and return his black card
Provide relief for middle-income homeowners with mortgage trouble

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 6, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

His first priority should be working for equality for WOMEN in this country. You know, since he took the single opportunity us females had at seeing a woman as President in my lifetime (I'm only 28 BTW). Since we've dealt with this race's about time that we deal with the sexism issue in this country. It's ridiculous! There would have been other African Americans who could easily have become President...Colin Powell being at the top of that list. But there will not be another woman who has EVERY SINGLE CHARACTERISTIC that it takes to be (not just a President, but a GREAT President of the United States. That was Hillary Clinton. Obama is young, he could've waited 8 yrs ...he would have actually be qualified for the Presidency after that. Dems could have had the White House for 16 yrs if that was the case. Now, IF (and that's a big if) Hillary runs in 2016, she'll be 69 yrs old...yeah, right, like that's gonna happen for us women! Thanks for taking all the hopes of women in this country and flushing them, Sen. Obama.

Posted by: ladyesq1 | November 6, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Obama should focus his attention first on the economy. Economic growth will increase tax revenue and enable him over the next four years to accomplish more than he would if the economy fails to recover. A comprehensive program of economic stimulus and reform is needed.

What Obama will do is use his momentum to grab some low-hanging fruit. Expanding the children's heath programs, passing a widely supported economic stimulus/infrustructure improvement bill, and making some marginal troop reductions/realignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. By focusing on several initiatives at once Obama can hopefully build on his momentum with some early successes and can divide his opposition and work to compromise with Republicans by having several initiatives on the table at once instead of becoming bogged down in one. Any movement on Iraq must be done with extreme caution for while it is an important issue to the Democratic base, it will be (barring crisis) his first big foreign policy decision. He must stay true to the values he trumpeted during the campaign, but also show his support of the troops and commanders - this will be a fine line. I'm personally curious to see if his language and policy goals change now that he is beign fully briefed by the CIA/FBI/Military.

Posted by: waffleska | November 6, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"What Should Obama's First Priority Be?"

Restoring honor and dignity to the White House.

Posted by: bsimon1


That happened the moment he was elected. Everyone intuited that in a second.


Posted by: wpost4112 | November 6, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The country spoke loud and clear, "The Economy, Mr. President-Elect!". Legislation aimed at getting the economy fixed must be the first initiative of the new administration and Congress.

Posted by: hpinkus1 | November 6, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Many things will happen in the first 100 days.

1. Find out all the secrect executive orders that Bush signed and figure a plan to extract the US from them. Gitmo, domestic spying, Bypassing evinomental law, and anything Cheney leave unburnt in the walk in safe. (Usually I am not parinoid but...)

2. Take credit for draw down in Iraq, even if it is happening anyway.

3. Make sure wind, solar and transmission lines are in the infrastructure stimulus plan. 2 for 1

4. Make sure that the Saudis get to know him and just how the world is changing from their friends the Bushes. The Saudis are so key on energy, debt, and balance of power in the Mid-East

Posted by: Landknelson | November 6, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I have heard the names of Governors Richardson, Sebilius,Corzine, Kaine, Rendell etc. being thrown outfor cabinet positons While all are qualified and I especially like the idea of Corzine at Treasury, why are Ds so eager to deplete their strong positions as D Governors and potentially place many states with R replacements?
While I am personally anxious to have national healthcare as a Number 1 Priority, imho it would be best to place everything on hold for six months other than stimulating the economy with enormous pulic works projects until we are out of a very bad recession and start seeing returns on the $700 billion bailout and some of that $10 billion/mo in Iraq start to come home befor emoving aggressively with those other large ticket policies. Otherwise all we will see are disapointing healthcare initiatives targeted strictly towards children which is what many of us suspected might just happen. The country is anxiously awaiting real and total healthcare reform and the money will simply not be available for at least 6-12 months.

Posted by: leichtman | November 6, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Didn't think Obama had enough experience but since he won, I decided to take my time and throughly listen to his speeches, read his life timeline at NYTimes and "get to know our next President better". Funny thing.....I am starting to like the guy.

Posted by: voice2 | November 6, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

No prizes for pointing out that some kind of economic stimulus bill will be the first thing on everyone's agenda. Washington may not even wait until the inauguration to move a bill through.

The question is whether Congress will take up a bill to show the public that its members care, or a bill that will do some good. To do the latter will require a realistic appreciation of our overall economic situation. The American economy is headed into recession, probably a deep one, and no government stimulus can prevent that from happening. Moreover a large part of our economy is still based on the assumption that energy will remain relatively inexpensive, an assumption we know is wrong.

It follows from this that what the government should do is make provision for help to the unemployed and others most badly hurt by the weak economy, while assembling an infrastructure development package for the longer term. Tax cuts, which everyone in Washington has loved to talk about for years and which were a staple of both Presidential candidates' campaign speeches, shouldn't be part of the picture at all. In fact, tax increases on energy use will be needed to pay for part of the infrastructure improvements we'll need and to prevent imports of oil from spiking again.

Since the painful recession of 1981-82, both Democrats and Republicans in Washington have worked hard to ensure than another difficult recession was something their constituents would never have to face. The result was many years of a booming economy based on ever-growing public and private sector debt. In fact, recessions are as natural a part of the business cycle as fires are a natural part of the life cycle on the prairies of the Midwest. Preventing a fire in one year means building up a fuel load, making the fire next year that much worse. We prevented recessions in the past by borrowing money, and then by borrowing more money. We can't continue that. Taking on more debt to save people from utter destitution is one thing, and infrastructure investments carefully chosen are worth spending money on. Borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars more to just spray around the country in hopes of producing growth is not something we can afford to do.

The ideal time to build up infrastructure as the foundation for America's economic future was ten years ago, when government coffers were flush. That's water under the dam now, and we'll have to make the best of the resources available. What we cannot do is expect that any government economic program can "jump start" the economy and "fix" it so that it goes back to the way it was five or ten years ago. President-elect Obama may have cause to regret not having made that clear during the campaign. He'll need to make it clear by the first days of his Presidency.

Posted by: jbritt3 | November 6, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The first order of business must be to surround himself with the best cabinet heads and advisors that can be found. Then the priority becomes the economy. In the old days, before the neo-cons hijacked the government, the preferred method of stimulating growth during a recession was a simple tool called “Public Works”. Take the money that would be used for stimulus checks, etc. and go out and build roads, bridges and new post office buildings. That will create large numbers of good jobs and stimulate growth in other sectors. It has worked before and it can work again. Best of all, it can be rolled out very quickly.

Posted by: RSaundersPA | November 6, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The economy runs on oil. For the U.S. to be competitive it needs to have have cheap fuel. You can pick around the edges of the economy, but endemically you will get nowhere. Domestic production must be ramped up with the caveat that subsidized energy is not cost efficient. Drill here, drill now is an imperative, nuclear is an imperative. Reduce the price of fuel and the economy will heal, don't and America will be at a disadvantage to world economic realities. Most people think that the current economic crisis began with housing and the abuse of securities. In fact, we have recovered from housing problems before most recently in 1989, but the death blow has been poor energy policy since 1973. If you don't get that on line quickly, the rest won't matter much.

Posted by: Weaver1 | November 6, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think his first priority should not be legislation, but to clarify which Candidate Obama we elected. Did we elect Primary Candidate Obama who wants to unilateraly meet with our foreign enemies without preconditions and abandon the Iraqis to their fate? Or did we elect General Election Candidate Obama who's number one foreign policy goal is the security of Israel and who plans to invade Pakistan?

Posted by: ZZim | November 6, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Investigate Bush and Cheney for war crimes...

Posted by: rharring | November 6, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs to build his leadership root directory first, then flesh it out through the outline he creates with his first appointments. And Sebelius should be well up on that list.

The case for Sebelius at HHS

From today's Wichita Eagle;

"A potential Obama cabinet projected in June on the Daily Kos Web site slotted Sebelius in at secretary of Health and Human Services.

It's not a bad guess, said Mel Kahn, a professor of political science at Wichita State University.

Health care reform is expected to be a key goal of the Obama administration and Sebelius has strong credentials in that area, he said.

Kahn said that in her previous role as Kansas insurance commissioner, Sebelius established herself as someone who could stand up to powerful insurance interests.
She blocked a planned merger between the for-profit Anthem Insurance Co. of Indiana and the member-owned Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. Sebelius also has fought for universal health coverage for children, a prime goal of Obama's health plan."

...if you look at the last three sentences of this excerpt, there-in lies an efficient encapsulation of our impending health care struggle during the next administration.

We will watch the private sector investors fight with all their unlimited resources to keep every penny of their over-priced profit, and working just as hard to retain millions of desperate health-care consumers (read; suckers) who actually believe their expensive HMO medical coverage will them no matter what.

Our children have become their worst victims. If you ever bought a late-night bottle of baby tylenol from a convenience store, you know how willing they are to use our most precious and dependent loved-ones to part us from our hard-earned wages.

Sebelius has considerable experience dealing with these issues, that are at the crux of the health care maelstrom.

As our governor, she has consistently used her veto pen to protect the general public, and our children in particular, from special interests and their surrogates in a mean-spirited, extremist Republican-dominated state legislature. She deserves recognition for that alone.

But as insurance commissioner, she may well have shown where her talents would best be applied.

Kathleen Sebelius has been a top-notch governor, and we don't really want to lose her in Kansas. But the Obama administration will need the best and the brightest to fulfill it's lofty mandate, and she belongs on that list in her best capacity.

We don't want to see her go, but we are glad to know that she does so for the most noble of all purposes.

Posted by: JEP7 | November 6, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Three million Americans are employed directly or peripherally by the domestic auto industry. Also, without the domestic auto industry, the technological advances that will eliminate our need for foreign oil will be developed overseas. Currently, 20% of the drop in auto sales is due to customers being unable to find financing.

Getting the retail automobile market moving should be one of his top priorities.

Posted by: mdbfla | November 6, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

There is a catch-22 which may or may not be resolvable without a significant portion of buyer's remorse.

To avoid a deepening depression, it is necessary to avoid putting in protective trade barriers and raising taxes (Hoover-Roosevelt mistake-1930s). Ideally, the cost of capital needs to be lowered to attract foreign capital into the US marketplace to establish a floor against a severed depression drop. But to do this, 40% of Obama's voting block will be happy, the other 40% will be disappointed. The market will have to find a floor for housing, so that builders will have to come back into the market again. This means a federal neutrality between buyers and sellers (problem with the 2006-2008 housing bubble). Needs of preexisting condition health care persons as well as involuntarily excluded from health care market people need to be addressed, without the taxation being too low (or you will have employers dropping health care) or too high (employers keep health care--don't hire new workers). You can put people into a Thrift Saving Plan/Health Plan/Long Term Insurance Plan (and will probably have to do so by 2017-2018--the government simply is not able to afford the necessary payments) but you will have people who say that people cannot take care of their own retirement/health care/long term disability needs.

Can't swing center, because the left will be displeased, and can't swing left, because there are 40-45% of the voting public who will be displeased. Buyer's remorse may be predicted.

Posted by: Paladin7b | November 6, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Fixing the Economy.
The Economy, The Economy, The Economy and
name a Treasury Secretary Immediately.

For months mark and bonjedi have told me that Sentor Obama would help local Texas Ds candidates win Congressioal and local races like our local D.A. While I applaud Senator Obama's great national victory, from a local stand point Ds lost most every local electon which is demoralizing and this is why:

"The 1.18 million people who did their civic duty was more than ever before in Harris County. But officials were unhappy and a little baffled that voting didn't reach higher.

"Turnout was very disappointing," County Clerk Beverly Kaufman said. "I thought more people would be waiting, and voting on Election Day."

Riding Obama's wave Democratic leaders had said total turnout of about 1.3 million would allow them to piggyback on Barack Obama's popularity and defeat all GOP candidates on the local ballot.

Democrats indeed made deep inroads Tuesday, unseating most judicial incumbents and ejecting Sheriff Tommy Thomas, but there was no sweep and no giddy showing of voters.

Local Democratic Chairman Gerald Birnberg said his party struggled to get former supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential primary candidacy to return to the polls and vote for Obama and the rest of the party's slate. Clinton was immensely popular among Hispanic voters in Texas.

"The head wind was the demoralization of many of the Hispanic Hillary Clinton supporters and that was a reality we faced throughout the election," Birnberg said.

As Democratic political consultant Marc Campos of Houston pointed out, Tuesday's election totals put turnout in mostly Hispanic state House districts at 40 to 45 percent, compared to 60 to 65 percent in mostly white, suburban districts as well as mostly black districts."

Sorry mark to have to tell you that from a local standpoint I told you so. Hispanic and other voters who supported HC locally did not turn out in numbers at least here in Texas and Harris County as you expeced.

Posted by: leichtman | November 6, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

First priority, affordable health care - for all the good reasons we've known for decades. Time for change.

Second, campaign finance reform. Maybe Republicans will finally get on board now that they realize Democrats can match them in the money game. When politics and money are synonymous, everyone loses. Time for change.

Third, end supply-side economics and return to demand-side economics. After 8 years of servicing the rich and well connected, it's a no-brainer. Time for change.

Fourth, jettison "don't ask, don't tell" and issue an executive order banning discrimination of any kind against gays and lesbians in federal government. Time for America to grow up!

Posted by: fitznew1 | November 6, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Dorch, do you think you might just possibly manage to spell the name of the country correctly?
Besides which, this old slander has been debunked over and over again, though it doesn't seem to be enough to stop tired Repubs like you from making this worthless attack-- even though your guy lost. He lost.
Get over it.
Now on to Chris' question.
I agree with the economic stimulus idea laid out by ManUnited above-- it should be an infrastructure program aimed at repairing our nation's crumbling highways, bridges, tunnels and electrical grid. This is the sort of thing that could provide millions of jobs and boost the economy.
Energy plans will come in due course, as will healthcare and getting us out of Iraq, but a solid infrastructure effort to rebuild our nation would be a winner all around.

Posted by: dbitt | November 6, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

1.) The 1st priority of an Obama administration should be a targeted economic stimulus plan that reflects the struggles of working class and middle class Americans as well as the values of the new administration. For example, Obama could offer vouchers for home heating with specific incentives for alternative energy (such as solar panels) or set up medical savings accounts with nonrefundable $500 deposits for middle class families making under $150,000 to help pay for deductibles or co-payments.
2.) My guess is that he will revisit the multi-billion dollar bailout that was recently passed by congress but that is opposed by a majority of Americans. His newly appointed treasury secretary and budget director will be key to renegotiating a deal that will be more populist in nature and require banks and finanical brokerage firms to somehow pay the American people the interest they owe on the loan. This could take the form of another stimulus payment 12 months from now when the money is due and my guess is that the stimulus would be targeted as discussed in the first answer.

Posted by: billbolducinmaine | November 6, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Although passing the Children's Health Insurance Program is a close second, the first thing Obama must do is pass the only stimulus package that matters -- decreasing demand for petroleum. High gas prices raised the delivery costs, and thus the prices, for food and other goods, cutting seriously into the budgets of working families. Drop those prices back, and, with or without a government expenditure, consumer spending on other products can increase.

Dropping the national speed limit to 60 mph, adding a federal excise tax to all vehicles getting less than 30 mpg, helping city or school buses (or both) convert to compressed natural gas would all help. Ending wars that threaten Middle Eastern supply (or encourage speculators to act as if they do) would help as well. Converting planes and semi-trucks to other fuel sources, removing petroleum products from farming ... there are lots of ways to attack the problem.

Posted by: BrotherBri | November 6, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Publicly I expect the Obama administration to address the economy with an initiative that focuses on creating jobs by promoting investment in alternative energy businesses and small business. I suspect that, less publicly, they will begin acting to undo and/or offset many executive orders written by the current President.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 6, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"What Should Obama's First Priority Be?"

Restoring honor and dignity to the White House.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 6, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

His first order of business should be to resign.

Posted by: Melfan | November 6, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

First priority before being sworn in: selecting the best people for the White House staff, people who can make nice with the Congressional leadership of both parties and try and ensure good relations. Second: select good cabinet officials. First priority after being sworn in: the economy.

Posted by: maxfli68 | November 6, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I have a theory that folks who still don't believe the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate own thousands of meticulously-organized copies of "Catcher in the Rye" and protective head gear made of aluminum foil.

Posted by: Reader1000



Don't worry about Dorchester, aka 37andO. He's just a mouthpiece for WorldNetDaily...another wacky evangelical website obsessed with Obama's birth certificate and other nonsensical matters.

Time to revel in this historical election and get to work on the future!

Posted by: wpost4112 | November 6, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Help the family that lost jobs to survive this crisis.

1) Extend the unemployment benefits to at least a year.

2) Make the unemployment benefits tax free - both federal and state.

3) Offer lost cost health insurance, especially for children.

4) Offer retraining to those who lost their jobs.

5) Also, help them to avoid foreclosure on their home.

Posted by: cs2007 | November 6, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Drawing down on Iraq does not require legislation - just tell the defense dept and national security apparatus to come up with an appropriate plan and then implement it (by the way, he should keep Gates in place for a year or so - he is a good man and it is one less transition headache right now). Afghanistan need additional attention not just troops but $$ too - but in the big picture, it is not a hugh deal, and Congress will readily go along. So legislatively, an economic stimulus is most important. This should center on infrastructure spending and extending unemployment benefits - no more tax rebate gimmicks. Health care reform, while important, should wait until people are working and those tax dollars are rolling in again.
There are many things he can do by executive order that are important and do not require $$: closing Guantanamo, tax credits for alternative energy, raise CAFE standards (or at the very least, let California do it), fixing various other environmental issues that the Bush administration was on the wrong side of, etc. I would agree with several of the other comments about energy independence, education, volunteering, etc.
In the shorter term, however, I think his priorities ought to be (1) a little vacation time, (2) his grandmother's memorial service, and (3) picking out that puppy.

Posted by: wmw4 | November 6, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse





Obama's first priority should be to come clean on his birth certificate and that he was born in Keyna.





Posted by: DorchesterAndCongress | November 6, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse


An intelligent and hard-working President!!

Time to restore America!

Roll up your sleeves everyone!!


Posted by: wpost4112 | November 6, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Get people in place to deal with "bailout" issue and then a simple stimulus to stop the hemorrhaging or bonuses to bank employees.

First major agenda must be energy policies - news car talks to develop hybrid and electric cars, energy efficient rebates on house improvements (like we have in Wisconsin), wind, solar, geothermal, coal sequestration, tidal, evaluate nuclear and some minor drilling.

Posted by: jrubin1 | November 6, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Buckle up America! We are going for a test drive with a rookie on the wheel.

Posted by: voice2 | November 6, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the others who have mentioned an environmental stimulus plan. The concept of an economic stimulus package is a good one, but the implementation so far has been terrible. Sending everyone a check just encourages people to buy more junk from China, and that just makes our problems worse in the long run.

We need an economic stimulus package focused on the environment. I want to see tax breaks and low/no-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements. Buying an efficient fridge or heater is expensive, so the government should subsidize it. At the same time, drastically increase funding for alternative energy research and implementation; it will create jobs and help stop climate change. Instead of just giving out money, focus that money on a single area, to both help the environment and the economy.

Posted by: Blarg | November 6, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

1.Economy? Obama must study in details what was done during 'New Deal'. More government regulations should be immediately implemented in the USA practice. He and his advisers and economy officials in his new cabinet should study more such economists as Galbraith, especially, Leontiev. Such economists, as Frieman, and even Samuelson are not up to task under current circumstances, not at all.
2.Wars? The one thing is crystal clear-nuclear weapons should be eliminated. This planet - our only habitat can not be under the permanent threat of the usage of nuclear weapons.
3. Global Warming? Energy problems? The great losses of manufacturing capacities in the USA? Obama should listen and promote not traditional scientific and technological advisers, which are known to achieve but nothing, but people, who were artificially isolated from these subjects, in which they are more than very good.Then these subjects would be moved from dead shapes , which they are in right now!
4. Is Obama going to do all of that. Let us wait and see. The one thing I know for sure-If not his presidency won't be a success. It would be vice versa.

Posted by: aepelbaum | November 6, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I have a theory that folks who still don't believe the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate own thousands of meticulously-organized copies of "Catcher in the Rye" and protective head gear made of aluminum foil.

Posted by: Reader1000 | November 6, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

first order of busines?

getting those girls a puppy.

then the real work begins to restore this country's honor and sense of purpose. there's alot of work to be done, folks.

Posted by: mycomment | November 6, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

President Obama should produce an implementation plan for reducing our presence in Iraq and the redirection those funds to address the mortgage crisis.

Posted by: TerryMcT | November 6, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

There is no question that it is the economy stupid or stupid economy depending upon your lean. How to halt the economic free fall is the first step. That takes money and where is the money? It is tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan. I see a two prong move at first. Serious negotiations with Iraq, who want us out and we want out ( great, an agreement before we start), to reduce our presence and use their financial reserves to reduce our financial commitment starts to "free" up money for us to use. With that "found" money we can simultaneously start a "stimulus package". The "stimulus package" is not cash for consumers to spend but to be used in infrastructure projects. The projects should not just be "concrete" but also factory incentives, production incentives, evening out the international playing field, especially in IT and broadband internet. One way to counter balance rising fuel costs ( they will go back up) is to increase the availability of broadband at work and at home.And roll back the Bush/Cheney insane tax plans to the more realistic Clinton plans. I look at taxes different ways. Of course I do not want to pay taxes but am glad that I make money and pay taxes from that standpoint. And this country has always been allowing the little guy and the new guy ( at some point in the past that was someone from our family, lets not forget) make it in this grand political experiment we have and our taxes, designed by intelligent Republicans, were established as progressive means to "spread" the wealth from the government back to the states and people.

Posted by: optodoc | November 6, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

President Obama must take Osama Bin Liden out of the element. The war in the Mideast took a back seat during the campaign - the Jihad exists and has to be addressed early on in his term of office. If not, the enemy will assume we are weak.

He has the support of the American people for now - use it wisely.

Posted by: donnem1968 | November 6, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Clinton began correctly by pushing Family Leave but then went of the tracks by going after Gays in the military. Obama should do two things immediately -essentially low hanging fruit while working on the big things.
a. allow everybody to participate in the Federal Employee health insurance plan at the full cost of that plan i.e. without any financial subsidy by the government. While this would not do anything for those who can't afford health insurance it will help those who are being punished by the health insurance industry because they are individuals or small groups.
b. Institute the $4,000 tax credit for college tuition in exchange for public service. This legislation would set the tone for the Presidency by stressing personal responsibility and the need for everybody to "chip in".

Both these initiatives should be able to generate bi-partisan support,they are moderate in scope but also illustrate that large number of small initiatives can have a large positive cumulative effect on peoples lives- greater than a single large initiative (the error of the Clinton Healthcare plan)

Posted by: rds7481 | November 6, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

As Bill Clinton would remind himself, 'It's the economy, stupid'. That truth hasn't changed.

Posted by: Wallpass | November 6, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Given the nature of the economy, an economic stimulus, if Bush doesn’t do it first, will have to be his first priority. Other than that, Energy and Education should be his top priorities. Energy and Education are the foundation of our economy and our compositeness in an increasingly interconnected world. Third, I think healthcare, which is putting a drag on the economy across the board, should be implemented very slowly.

Posted by: kalonscott | November 6, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

President-elect Obama needs to channel the quasi-landslide results into a national direction. With so many problems to address he should set out to create the $300 billion energy stimulus package that has been tossed around. A bi-partisan commission with a big financial reserve that can dole out resources to alternative energy projects. This would direct capital into the system and would dove-tail nicely with a nationwide effort to eliminate dependence on foreign oil.

Posted by: jslotterback | November 6, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

We're in desperate need of another economic stimulus package. But rather than a tax cut, I'd like to see it in the form of infrastructure and more government spending. If we keep giving tax rebates, people are just going to pay off debt rather than spend them on goods and services. Government spending ensures that the money injected into the economy will be spent, not saved or put towards debt.

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | November 6, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The first priority is the continuing one of tamping down polarization. That theme, amplified in his victory address by his stress on Lincoln and reconciliation not FDR and new alphabet programs, will buy him time with the American people to work on devastatingly complex issues. Therefore,
as your Ruth Marcus suggested yesterday, he should first pick some low hanging fruit that both parties will substantially support. She provided a list that I need not repeat.

From your suggestions, a stimulus package is feasible. From among his "Big Ideas", energy independence initiatives and expanded volunteer service initiatives, inviting McC to join in each, can be on the table early.

I have no quarrel with your historical assessment that pushing a patisan agenda like GWB's partial privatization of SS in '04 or HRC's health care plan in '93 is the wrong way to go.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 6, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse





The truth is this: the litmus test of commitment to change is commitment to campaign finance reform and Obama has failed miserably.


We now have a situation in which campaign finance reform has been destroyed by the change candidate. Orwellian?

Sorry guys.

It would be wise to distinquish the actual mood of the country turning left as opposed to the electoral advantage of a $210 million ad campaign v. McCain's $70 million ad campaign. The reality on the ground simply does not match the votes when one factors out that disparity and the economic situation. AND to be honest I really do not believe the American people know who Obama is or what he is about - the media has gone to great lengths to overlook and overshadow the truth.





Posted by: DorchesterAndCongress | November 6, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Obama won on economic issues so he will need to address this area first. He will need to be honest with the public on what can and can't be done. (Not sure how much an economic stimulus package will achieve at this point unless it's focused on providing small businesses with the ability to retain jobs rather than on consumers so they can add to their debt).

He strikes me as someone who is pragmatic (rather than ideological) on many issues and this pragmatism should serve him well in dealing with the economic mess (as well as other issues).

As far as what I would like President Obama to focus on: it almost makes no difference as 8 years of W/Cheney have left nearly every area of government (domestic and international) in tatters. The list is endless!

Posted by: RickJ | November 6, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse





Obama's first priority should be to come clean on his birth certificate and that he was born in Keyna.





Posted by: DorchesterAndCongress | November 6, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

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