Post-Inaugural Thoughts

January 22, 2009 at 12:00 pm (Politics) (, )

I imagine it was rather surprising that I let the entire subject of the inauguration pass with just a post about fashion.  I know I’m Ms. Politics, but I was frankly rather overwhelmed with it all.  Even now, it still feels incredibly surreal to have President Barack Hussein Obama leading our country, but I imagine it will seem less so as time goes on.

I was actually thinking about the fact that it just doesn’t seem quite real.  I was 15 when George W. Bush was elected.  I’d been marginally aware of the last part of Bill Clinton’s tenure, but not in any really profound way.  The 8 years of the Bush Administration really have marked basically my entire adult life.  It’s no wonder it feels weird to have a different president, even if I am heartily glad to have him.

Either way, as glad as I am to have President Obama sitting in the Oval Office, I’ve got some concerns.  He’s gotten off to an excellent start, in my opinion (overhauled ethics, our plan for the Middle East, and signed a directive today to close Guantánamo – all of these are fabulous).  But I’ve got some concerns about what he intends to do about the economy.

First, as I said in my post earlier, he really needs to nationalize our banking system temporarily.  I’m not entirely sure he’s going to push for it, but I really hope he does.  Some of the alternative plans sound pretty shady to me.  Paul Krugman had an interesting column either this past Monday or Friday on that subject, so I won’t get into it.

Second, he really, really, really needs to hand a giant chunk of change to each and every state.  They are all facing budget crises (and some, like Oregon, were already having trouble balancing the budget before the economy imploded).  If states have to start cutting services and jobs to balance the budget, we will all suffer.  I’m not sure people realize just how many truly vital services are provided (or at least paid for) by state, county, and local governments.  The answer is: nearly all of them.

Third, he needs to initiate an investigation into the Bush Administration.  This probably shouldn’t happen right away, but it should happen soon and it should be a priority.  Even if no indictments follow, we all deserve to know what happened.  There was so much secrecy cloaking the government for the past 8 years that it was impossible for any regular American to know what on earth was going on.  And frankly, if they find any evidence of serious wrongdoing, I hope the prosecute the pants off the perpetrator.  No man, but especially not the president, is above the law.

And finally, I hope that President Obama makes good on his promises about health care.  That’s another one that can and probably should wait until things are a little more stable, but it should still be a priority.  Easing the burden of medical insurance payments would help most Americans enormously, and it would sharply decrease the building up of debt (since a whole lot of people get to the point of bankruptcy because of unexpected and/or uninsurable medical problems).

So that’s my to-do list for Obama (not that he’ll ever see it).  What do you think he should be doing first?



  1. Kristan said,

    I don’t think he should waste his time investigating the Bush administration. Someone else will do it (ambitious journalist or historian, likely) and let them. The gov’t has way more important things to do with its time and money.

    I’m also not certain about nationalizing banks, but I’d have to read much more about it to pick one side or the other.

    I think he’s getting off to a good start and probably has worked over a list of priorities and timelines on his own. I, for one, am content to trust him and his team of advisors for now.

  2. Mary said,

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything more important than upholding the law. Obama has promised to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution – how can he do that if he lets George Bush et. al. get away with flouting it? And if they didn’t flout it, we deserve to know that, too, since there is quite a lot of evidence to the contrary.

    Of course journalists and historians will try to figure out what happened, but they don’t have the weight of the law behind them. And they all have to wait until Bush’s papers are made public – Obama can do it now.

    I’m willing to trust him for now, but that doesn’t get rid of my misgivings. It’s quite clear that he has put a great deal of thought into all of this, and I think can trust him to be at least mostly right. Time will tell for the things I’m worried about.

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