Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Gets To Work; Rolls Back Bush Policies


Just when full-throated progressives thought Barack Obama's centrist cabinet nominations may portend for a president deserting his base and veering too far center of the left, he pulled off a stunning half week of work giving those hope for a return to a more palatable Washington.

The list of accomplishments reads like a liberal wet dream on the streets of Berkeley. Obama orders Guantanamo closed within the year, takes torture off the list of interrogating tactics, reverses President Bush's gag-rule on U.S. funding of abortions overseas and significantly curb the power lobbyist on K Street. Obama even showed military muscle in Pakistan yesterday named two Democrats steeped in successful diplomatic efforts in Northern Ireland and the Balkans to sort out ongoing trouble in Gaza and Pakistan. What a week!

About one point, the litany of executive orders ostensibly rolling back some of President Bush's most controversial policies ran the risk of stuffing too much, too quick into the faces of the downtrodden GOP. By Friday, when Obama reportedly "reminded" Senate Minority Whip John Kyl of Arizona that "I won" and the rationale became clear: there may not be a significant opposition from the GOP on Capitol Hill to stifle Obama's plans since these actions are part of the "change" 60 million American voters called for last November so ram it through.

Thus far, Obama has been deliberate and in hindsight quite open about his desire to move quickly, some of us though were still jaded on that possibility. Moving fast on reversing the old administration's questionable governing is bold and wise during a period when so much is needed on the economic front. There was one thing Obama forgot, though. Psst...bring the troops home.

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