Fly on the Wall

Eight days into his presidency and Mr. Obama has already vigorously checked off items from his list of campaign promises plus some. He has ordered the closing of Guantanamo, banned the use of torture, mandated transparency, set lobbying boundaries, reversed abortion funding policy, allowed states to set their carbon emission rules, and assured Muslims worldwide that they are not the enemy. A dizzying array that would leave any Bushie and conservative nauseous. But what is going on with his promise to rectify this damning recession, starting with an economic stimulus bill?

Talking heads are scratching theirs and getting impatient. The President has a solid mandate partly won by the voters’ assessment that Republicans are not the best when it comes to the economy, holding them responsible for this horrendous mess. The Democrats control both Houses of Congress and do not need the votes of the few surviving Republicans. So why is President Obama working so hard at placating pouty legislators who will oppose anything from Democrats because they can and they will?

Is it all strategy? Do the president and his Democratic host, knowing that Republicans will not play along, have no intention in the first place to accommodate Republican ideas and suggestions, and simply want to highlight Republican obstinacy and adherence to failed economic theories? Or do Obama, Pelosi and Reid want Republicans to sign off on a bill so should it fail, everyone is held accountable? Or is President Obama really serious about changing the culture and fostering bipartisanship?

Observing all this from an ant’s perspective rather than a fly on the walls of power vantage point, I think that the new president is determined to shake things up, engender civility and come up with pragmatic policies. He has said as much and his early actions are consistent. And there is no doubt in my mind that there is some scheming, after all, this is politics and I do wish I had a fly’s perch.

Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP file.

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