Saturday, January 24, 2009
Honeymoon on Pennsylvania Ave
The wedding is over, but there's lots of talk these days about how long Obama's honeymoon will last. In fact, some are guessing it will last longer than most. Indeed, a recent Time/CBS News poll shows that Americans may be willing to give our new president up to two years to turn around the economy and end the war in Iraq.
It seems pretty unlikely that we are actually that patient. The country is riding a wave of good feelings about new leadership, and relief that W. is in Crawford rather than D.C. If six to nine months from now we aren't seeing some improvements though, Main Street is going to turn on Obama. It may not be realistic to expect much in less than a year, but people are hurting and need relief. They are rightly looking to their elected leaders to get them out of this mess. Realistic expectations for Washington don't mean much when you can't find work and are losing your home.
In other words, those big campaign promises are about to come due. I hope the campaign didn't write checks the presidency can't cover.
Personally I want a mercifully short honeymoon, especially with the media and Congress. We saw first hand over the last eight years what happens with a complacent or complicit media and legislative branch. The press corps and Congress treated Bush with kid gloves after 9/11. In many cases, they not only failed to ask the hard questions, but went along with policies that we now know were disastrous. While I don't expect the Obama administration to be nearly as irresponsible as the Bushies, we still need strong opposition asking tough questions.
I want to be damn sure we are honestly examining the choices we make.
America deserves it.