100 Days of President Obama: Not very effective

President Obama's second 100 days are off to a rocky start. Not what he had hoped for. Photo: President Obama at Tuesday's White House press conference AP photo

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 — President Obama just hit the 100-day mark of his second term and he does not sound like a happy camper.

At his White House news conference when asked about his problems getting key pieces of his agenda passed, he sarcastically shrugged off the question, saying, “Maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly.”

Bet he meant something stronger than “Golly.”

He did admit, although grudgingly, his failure to get gun control legislation passed or a bipartisan deal to get rid of sequester and have real deficit reduction talks. His own party watered down the gun control legislation and it still couldn’t pass it.

Obama’s fault? He didn’t seem to think so, saying he rejected the idea that it’s his “job is to somehow get them to behave,” referring to the members of Congress. 

Being Obama, however, he was not about to throw in the towel, saying he was “actually confident there are a range of things that we’re going to be able to get done.” He named the progress being made on the bipartisan bill on comprehensive immigration reform. Ok, so far so good. Something decent just might emerge from the Gang of Eight.

Obama then cited a recent deal cut by Republicans and Democrats to prevent furloughs of air traffic controllers so that there wouldn’t be long lines in airports and flight delays. He pointed to that bill as evidence that Congress was willing to negotiate.

Really? Negotiate?

The Democrats crumbled like a cookie to vote for the bill, the very one that they should have voted against. The one that the President and Democrats saw as a way to make the Republicans call uncle. The one that Obama had said would not happen without automatic spending reductions to be done partly through tax increases. The one that the President said he would veto. But won’t.

That is evidence of negotiation?

President Obama may have won the election in 2012 with ease, but his record these first 100 days is looking mighty meager. True, Republicans are a big piece of nothing happening, but moderate Democrats are far from innocent, skittish near any legislation that looks the least bit progressive.

Obama feels he has reached out with his “diplomacy dinners,” as they are called by the press, inviting key Republicans or women senators to dinner or lunch, but it is real arm twisting and back slapping that is needed, something that is not in the arsenal of Obama’s charm offensive. In a sense, he has decided he has done all he can do.

As he explained at the press conference: “There are common sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans to embrace those solutions.” Obama believes the responsibility for making deals ultimately lies not with him, but with Republican members of Congress. He might as well wait for hell to freeze over.

There is so much to do and more piles up each day. Just take a look at the list:

What to do about Syria?

What to do about Iran?

What to do about Guantanamo?

Increase or decrease the drone program?

Did our intelligence miss the warning signs about the April 15th terrorist attack in Boston?

How long is sequestration going to last?

Why is Obamacare becoming so difficult to roll out and implement?

How can Obama give the economy a boost when Congress won’t give him the tools to do so?

Is it possible to return to gun control legislation and get background checks through?

Will his nominees to the cabinet get voted in by the Senate?

And the list grows daily.

This is legacy of nothing happening is not what Obama had hoped for. He had planned to hit the ground running after the election, even though he knew it was going to be a struggle. But he thought the Republicans had gotten the message from the electorate, loud and clear: the country wanted what Obama wanted. That’s why they voted for him.

The Republicans got the message all right, but it was a different one and from their Red state base. “Don’t you dare vote for even one thing the President wants on peril of facing a vicious primary and quickly finding yourself packing your bags and out on the street.”

So little wonder the President was a bit testy at the news conference and not the charming self the press saw on display at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He felt they were too ready to write his political obituary and he was not having it.

Or as he said, once again with sarcasm, “Rumors of my demise might be a little exaggerated at this point.”

True, but could his lame duck term be already starting?

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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