26 April 2010

At 16 Months

Mark Halperin, on the presidency of Barack Obama at the sixteen month mark:
Obama acted decisively to stop the world from going into economic depression, after inheriting a mess from his predecessor. Quibble all you wish about the dimensions of the stimulus law or the administration of the TARP or the Detroit bailout, but the actions taken were professionally handled, apparently necessary, and, so far, constructive. Strikingly underrated by the Washington press corps are Obama's gains on education policy, including a willingness to confront the education establishment on standards for both teachers and students. Overseas, Obama has snagged an arms reduction deal with Russia, managed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq exactly as he promised, eliminated numerous terrorist leaders through an aggressive targeting operation, and laid the groundwork for dealing with Iran and, perhaps, North Korea.

In the months ahead, the President will likely pass a financial regulation overhaul (despite this weekend's snags); manage the confirmation of a second Supreme Court nominee with relatively little commotion; announce the reduction of the American troop level in Iraq; showcase the under-covered gains on education reform; take advantage of the improving economy to tout his stimulus efforts; and sharpen his "Obama-Biden future versus Bush-Cheney past" argument to help stave off massive Democratic losses in November.
Even I get a bit restless with the President every now and then. But then I realize that my frustration really isn't with him, but rather with the Senate Majority Leader for being so hapless, or with myself for forgetting that Obama ran as a centrist Democrat during the campaign.

There is still a long way to go between now and November's mid-term elections, and an eternity before the 2012 presidential election. But right now, barring any massive screw up or unforeseen event that could cripple him, and whether or not he wins a second term, Barack Obama is on track to become one of the better presidents of the last 60 years.