President Obama’s Big Day: Off to a Good Start

After being up until 1:00 a.m., our new President attended a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.

He issued several executive orders, including:

  • A freeze on salaries for White House staff earning $100,000 or more.
  • New Freedom of Information Act rules, making it harder to keep the workings of government secret. (And requiring a third-party ruling before declaring communication or meetings secret.)
  • Saying, “The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable,” he ordered new ethics rules for “a clean break from business as usual”—tighter ethics rules governing when administration officials can work on issues on which they previously lobbied governmental agencies, and banning them from lobbying his administration after leaving government service.

He also drafted an executive order calling for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison facility within a year, got things rolling on the economic stimulus package, and spoke with a number of Middle East leaders.

Despite what I would have predicted, I think I am going to like this guy.

(See http://www.cfrb.com/news/56/861993 and http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/01/21/pm_first_day_q/ .)

8 Replies to “President Obama’s Big Day: Off to a Good Start”

  1. Not bad at all , IM interested to see what he will do in regards to funding planned parenthood with taxpayer dollars on an international level , but Im glad for the apparent transparency

  2. I couldn’t believe the long string of tax-dodgers. I think I’m going to stop paying taxes and then just wait for the statute of limitations to expire.

    I kind of get the economic theories behind the stimulus, and we’re really never tried anything this big before.

    What really bugs me is that no one has lived up to the promise of smaller, more efficient, less intrusive government … despite claiming to be for it.

  3. There is an additional problem with this guy.. He claims that he is the transparency President, yet he has teams of lawyers dedicated to keeping his actual birth certificate private. He could put the whole thing to rest by just releasing the silly thing but he won’t. Transparency, I don’t think so…

    As for the trillions in pork he pushed through Congress (a bill no one read until after it was passed I might add) includes billions to help us make the transition to socialized medicine. No debate, just make it happen as a back door of some other bill. Not exatly what I would call transparent..

    I can’t wait to vote against this guy again…

  4. The evidence about the naturalized citizenship debate is presented rather well at Snopes.com, and don’t find Mr. Keyes’ alarmist hyperbole at all reassuring.

    The unread stimulus bill is a far more interesting point, although it illustrates what has become typical modus operandi for our legislators … pander, pander, raise money, waste money, waste money, waste money, waste money, waste money, and ignore our country’s highest good. Nearly all of our legislation passed goes unread. Indeed, it is not humanly possible to read it all. Was it the final version of the bill that went unread, or all the versions? The House and Senate each debated slightly different versions, so someone must have read something.

    And, if we look at transparency, Obama has already reversed policy about Freedom of Information Act requests. Under President Bush, a FoIA request was denied in total if they could find “any legal reason,” to do so. Currently policy is to grant the request—or even every part of it possible—if there is no definitive, relevant legal reason to deny it.

    But don’t think I agree to all the policies and pork being put forth. I’m particularly disgusted with Obama’s pro-abortion position, and I find the Keynesian Economics to be a rather large gamble. (Nevertheless, there is a sort of logic to it. If the economic is shrinking by $x trillion, and we borrow that money to grow the economy again, we might be just fine … if (and herein is the huge gamble) we can pay it back reasonably.

    These are all huge issues and worthy of our time and debate. I strongly encourage you and our other readers to become more involved politically, particularly by writing your representatives at the state and federal level about the issues that matter most. The occasional vote does not do enough to garner their attention.

    Besides, I’m going Noocratic politically. Or maybe Rational Anarchist, after Heinlein.

    And it could be worse. You could live in Massachusetts.

  5. Very rational, somewhat critical report from The Economist: “The American Presidency: Learning the Hard Way.”

    Put bluntly, the Democrats are messing him around. They are pushing pro-trade-union legislation (notably a measure to get rid of secret ballots) even though he doesn’t want them to do so; they have been roughing up the bankers even though it makes his task of fixing the economy much harder; they have stuffed his stimulus package and his appropriations bill with pork, even though this damages him and his party in the eyes of the electorate. Worst of all, he is letting them get away with it.

    Very much worth a read.

    (Thanks much to Puneet Lambda for pointing out the article.)

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