President Barack Obama will celebrate his first 100 days in office on April 29. He has tackled big issues head-on and continued his campaign of well-delivered speeches and late night TV appearances. Delivering on his promise of getting a first dog for the first children, he has captivated the hearts of dog lovers, while evoking the hope and optimism that marked Camelot.
What’s not to love? Beautiful, smart wife with incredible arms seen tilling a White House garden in sweater and boots, photogenic children who want to go to their private school when it snows – (who could have - had they been in public school), a president, tall, handsome, cool and collected.
Obama, referred to as “a storybook” by then-Senator Joseph Biden, must realize that Americans like happy endings to their storybooks, especially in times of trouble. Regardless of what some radio talk-show hosts might say, the culture of America wants individuals to succeed, especially if those individuals are personally appealing, as is Obama. As one conservative friend told me over dinner, “but they just look so good.”
The question is – what would be the price if the president were to succeed in getting what he wants?
In his op-ed “Yanks in Crisis,” (New York Times, April 23, 2009), David Brooks cites numerous polls and concludes that “the economic crisis has produced a desire for change but not a philosophical shift.” Brooks says that, “after this crisis is over, they [the American People] still want a return to normalcy, with balanced budgets and a limited state. Americans still want to see power dispersed among a diversity of institutions, not concentrated in the hands of supertechnocrats in Washington.”
While the values of the American people (faith in people, not in government) might give David Brooks comfort, these same views are not being reflected in the proposals of the Obama administration. Obama has laid out a sweeping agenda that calls for huge changes in how the American economy would operate.