What Has Obama Done?

What Has Obama Done?

Words I associate with the Obama campaign: Change, Hope, New.

Words I associate with the Obama presidency: Great speeches, Unwavering optimism, No new legislation.

I’m not getting down on President Obama, but I am in the camp that wonders where the change is. But that said, I see what he is up to- he’s currently working on probably the most difficult issues of his presidency: trying to pass a universal healthcare reform bill and trying to figure out how to deal with the war in Afghanistan. Each of these will have significant and lasting impact on the general perception of his presidency. Take your time and make the right decision, make them happen, fine.

It’s not like he hasn’t done anything at all- he has made progress on the economic recovery- the simple fact that he has kept confidence where it’s at is admirable- let’s give him some credit for keeping America looking strong in the two years after we brought the world’s economy to its knees- there may be rumors of people dropping the dollar but it hasn’t happened, and the Dow is back at 10,000 (which was a big deal the first time, now it’s viewed as “recovery”).

This past week he talked back to his critics during speeches in Louisiana and San Francisco.

"Let me tell you: I'm just getting started” was one of my favorites. Well, that’s good, because there is a lot left to do.

More to the point, he told the crowd in Louisiana:

"Now, just in case any of you were wondering, I never thought any of this was going to be easy. You know, I listen to sometimes these reporters on the news (who say) 'Well, why haven't you solved world hunger yet?'"

"Why hasn't everybody done it? It's been nine months. Why? I never said it was going to be easy. What did I say during the campaign? I said change is hard. And big change is harder."

Why hasn’t everybody done it? Look, Obama, not everybody else got elected president. If you’ve seen the SNL skit making fun of how Obama has done “nothing… nada…” so far in office with his checklist, it’s interesting to hear him basically saying “Hey, this is hard, people!”

Fair enough, though- I’m sure it’s hard. He’s one guy and still serves as a beacon of hope and change to the world. But time is running out. He should know that what is funny now will not be funny come the new year- we will need healthcare reform legislation to pass, we will need him to play a leadership role in the Copenhagen summit AND keep the U.S. economy on track, AND THEN he will have to make the right call in Afghanistan, both to help the war work out well and to keep death numbers down in the long run.

That’s a tall order, and nothing to laugh at. But do that and people will get off your back for a while. Fail to do, I would say, any of those three? You’re in for more skits, but without the laughter.