The idea of presidents proving themselves in the first 100 days started with FDR. The pressure to get to work quickly is just as strong today. Already, Obama has issued his first public act in office, freezing salaries on aides making over $100,000. But what next? The economy is in the toilet, there are wars to end, schools to fix, and pollution to control. Oh, and health care costs are, to use a well-worn cliché, “spiraling out of control.” Below are some thoughts from pundits and columnists across the Web. Their ideas and predictions range from the specific (fix military hospitals) to the extremely vague (do something about Iraq). Mr. President, if you’re looking for advice on where to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
The experts at CNN Money lay out six issues that require President Obama’s immediate attention. First, get the economic stimulus bill passed and implemented. Next, start a foreclosure prevention program. Third, improve the bank bailouts. Fourth, submit a budget request mapping out how the government will spend money over the next 5 to 10 years. Fifth, figure out what to do about American automakers. And last but not least, talk with to “address the .”
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, wrote a blog for the Huffington Post calling on President Obama to make veterans a priority in the first 100 days. He argues that Obama should “prioritize veterans in the ,” address the mental health injuries of soldiers, and “ensure that veterans don’t have to fight for hospital and clinic funding.”
Consult with military experts
An NPR interview with Stephen Hess, senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution, includes a few nuggets. Mr. Hess predicted (accurately, it turns out) that President Obama would promptly call a meeting with top generals. Why? During an early debate, Obama said he would meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the war in Iraq. And, on his first day in office, Obama did just that. It wasn’t exactly a bold prediction, but hey, we can’t all be Nostradamus.
The Washington Post hosts an interesting editorial on how Mr. Obama would do well to heed the advice of the first . During Bush Senior’s first few days as president, he “gathered hundreds of the government’s senior career executives” to “praise their dedication, extol public service and to ask for their help in governing.” Obama may want to do something similar as a way to inspire genuine enthusiasm among those who will carry out the policies. He can’t do everything himself, after all.
Amnesty International, the human rights organization, has its own checklist for President Obama. Among the many ideas: end illegal detention, “eradicate torture and other ill-treatment,” and “end impunity.” Interested parties can sign a petition set up by Amnesty International that calls on Obama to act on these priorities.
Just about everything
Salon.com interviewed three experts on what citizens should expect from President Obama in his first 100 days as commander in chief. One expert, Steve Clemons, believes that “we’ve replaced the housing bubble in the United States with an Obama bubble.” Before that bubble deflates, Mr. Obama would do well to “front-load” his agenda with big bets on infrastructure. The experts also agree that Mr. Obama has to act on Iraq and make moves that will satisfy his liberal base.