By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Call me a cynic (you can't beat me to it, I've already claimed the mantle), but too much is being made about President Obama's first hundred days in office. There is much more media hype, for example, than I remember being made about President George W. Bush's first hundred, or Clinton's before that, or H.W. Bush's before that. Can't we just let history happen before we report it to death, determine its meaning 10,000 years from now, compare its impact to similar historical events and move along to overexposing the next media event?
The fact is we don't yet know if President Obama's administration is a success or failure. And we won't know until: A--he is tested by time; B--his economic stimulus bill kicks in and either pulls the economy out of the doldrums or creates hyperinflation and sends the economy zooming off to parts unknown; or C--none of the above.
Oh, yes, I do happen to know that President Obama is our first president of color. And that magnifies the importance of all else about him. But I would really like to try to get to know the man before the media pummel me to death with what I should think of him.
On the one hand, I feel sorry for him. He's being bashed by disappointed anti-poverty, anti-racism groups who believe he hasn't done enough to stem poverty or racism. He's being simultaneously ripped by Righties who want him to kowtow to their concerns. He can't win for losing, and perhaps that's precisely where he wants to be.
In the past day alone, he's been slashed, figuratively speaking, by groups who should be his most fervent devotees. The first laceration was delivered for the U.S.'s refusal to attend a United Nations Conference on Racism in Geneva. One attendee, the chair of the National Slave Route Commemoration Committee of Suriname (whatever that is), Ilse Vregaud, told NewAmericaMedia.org:
"He's a man for change and this conference is about change," Vregaud said. "This is the place for him to be. I'm sure he has good reasons, but he has to explain to the world—and especially to African descended people in the United States and around the world—why he himself is not here. I think he owes us that."
Wow, dial it down a bit, don't you think? Closer to home, in fact in his hometown and in the very community where he launched his career as a community organizer (Roseland in Chicago), formerly kindred spirits seem no happier with his presidency than they were with that of his predecessor. Some told the Chicago Sun-Times the president gets a "failing grade" for his lack of focus on inner-city issues:
"Some of us who worked with him from the beginning of his career through the presidency are not satisfied," said community activist Mark Allen. "Some of these streets are worse than they were when he walked down these streets.''
Next up: how the Right dislikes President Obama.
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