International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Plus
The Century Mark
Cool's Honeymoon Epilogue
James Campion on Obama's 100
have ten fingers and ten toes, therefore we make its denominations
our benchmark; a decade, a century, a millennium, etc. But it wasn't
until FDR that we are now expected to judge the honeymoon period
of a new president by his first 100 days.
Okay, but when you
consider that the last guy's entire two terms hung on the events of
9/11/01, which happened long after the first 100 days, it tends to dilute
its significance. However, in my lifetime alone the first 100 days have
proven noteworthy. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton had lousy first 100
days; the former never recovered, but the latter learned valuable lessons,
rallied, and hung around to be re-elected. Hard to argue with either
Lyndon Johnson's or Ronald Reagan's success in their first 100 days,
then you remember Viet Nam and the economic collapse of 1982 and it
dilutes them. So, in the interest of proper pundit decorum, where does
Joe Cool stand after his century mark?
By any count, Barack Hussein Obama has been virtually unstoppable. He
has already engineered the largest federal stimulus package in the nation's
history and in the process completely neutered the opposing party, while
managing to balance his approval ratings in the sixties -- not to mention
his personal meter, which remains in the stratosphere. People love this
guy. They love his youth, exuberance, his wife and family, his dog and
the near butler-like penchant to please. They like that he isn't like
the last guy, or really any guy who has held the office. He even apologizes
for dumb shit and humbly passes the credit for popular moves to his
But he has not apologized for being liberal. No, sir. He promised it
during the election and has come hard on nearly fifty years of post-war
liberal agenda from healthcare to energy reform to government oversight.
Change is flying all over the place. I recalled last week what a Republican
insider told me after Captain Shoo-In finally wrested the presidency
away from his opponent; "In six months, you won't recognize this
place." He was right, and here's something he may also agree with:
It is getting harder each day to believe there ever was a President
George W. Bush.
Oh, things haven't been all that politically sunny. There were major
screw-ups in cabinet appointments and several embarrassing kick-starts
to the crack economic team, not to mention weird things abroad, but
the air around Washington has gone from lockdown paranoia to a drunken
spending spree of love and hope, and whether it all amounts to gangbusters
or plain bust does not erase the 100-Day Sprint, which has come up gold
for the new guy.
Unfortunately for his detractors, feces-hitting-fan won't happen for
sometime. But fear not, it will happen. It has to. No deficit can be
this bloated and not sink something somewhere. Mass foreclosures are
coming. Nasty doings in Pakistan are on the way. The auto industry is
weeks from completely imploding. More partisan ugliness and party in
fighting is definitely afoot. But for now it is wine & roses. Feds
say the economy is beginning to show signs, and unless there is a major
attack on this nation, then these first 100 days, whether fairly or
not, will be determined by its health.
There are those, and they are in the minority presently, that believe
it less risky to wage war all over the place on Chinese loans than raising
the tax rate three percent to prop up the banking system. They have
had their say and if things continue to go badly or come up for air
and then tank again, they will have their day once more. But for now,
they are in the wilderness.
Case in point: One Arlen Specter, the 29-year senator from Pennsylvania,
who knows a good escape hatch when he sees it. He has decided to ceremoniously
hitch his wagon to the winning team, knowing that local squeakers in
state primaries pale in comparison to steamrollers in the national headquarters.
Specter came in with The Gipper. He knows the Mojo when he sees it.
So he jumps the sinker for a shot at The Win. He wants to stay a senator
and he doesn't care who knows it. He doesn't lie about his sexuality
to stay around or give big speeches about morality. He wants a clear
road to victory and cannot see it as a Republican anymore. Fair enough.
Joe Lieberman had a similar revelation two years ago, went all independent,
and then decided to sharpen his hawk talons. But he was sent back to
the Democrats with a whipped tail between his legs never to be heard
Soon the Democrats will have a filibuster-proof 60 strong in the Senate
and continue to stranglehold the congress. The man at the top, for all
the talk about his inability to lead from day one has hit the ground
in a full-flail, throwing everything everywhere, and making it look
like an evening stroll. He has come to play with an odd combination
of grace and muscle; the dexterity of a ballet dancer and the brutal
force of a steroid-addled wrestler. It has been a tough act to impede,
and it shows no signs of slowing.
History tells us the storm clouds are coming. They always do. Things
are tough now, but most of the bad stuff was cobbled together by someone
else over a long stretch. Right now the "Not My Doing" chant
works. Soon the bad smell will end up on him, as it does with all the
guys in the Big Chair, and that is usually when the mettle is tested
and the pudding bares proof.
I agree with conservative columnist, David Brooks when he said the other
day that Obama has bitten off more than anyone could chew and that always
leads to choking. But after 100 days with the majority of the public
and the legislative branch of the federal government in his back pocket
and a crippling economic crisis filling his sails, he's come up aces.
It is the pinnacle of civic chest-thumping -- a political juggernaut
whose shit has yet to stink.
© James Campion May 1st 2009
Good to hear of your strange peccadillo. (ANARCHY IN THE U.K. -- Issue:
4/8) I too found myself guiltily snickering over GenX/Y torching the
Yuppie Woodstock dream like an overfilled portapotti. I think we need
to join forces, and create a clearinghouse web site that catalogues
great riots and (my odd fetish) conspiracy theories. For sure, there's
some loon out there in your distribution list who could pick up the
serial killer angle, to complete this fetid hat trick. Now what to call
this abomination, and who do we go after for sponsorship?
www.scheudenfraude.net brought to you by Pepsi?
Yours in Voyeurism,
I am very disappointed
in you. I know you can sometimes be flippant about serious matters and
most times be damned mean-spirited, but to actually root for riots and
rate them as Best & Worst and then to reduce what I believe were
very important stands against corruption and greed in world commerce
at the G-20 as a useless exercise in ego-marauding is an indefensible
I don't mean to sound like the conscience of this column, but I have
read some beautiful pieces here and find it hard to reconcile that the
same person writes Reality Check every week. It is equally both moving
and infuriating, funny and angry and petty, and sometimes all of these
things at once. But this time I think all the humor and irony was drawn
out and some sinister part of you was revealed.
Has anyone endeavored to psychoanalyze you before? I find it fascinating
and I wonder if any of your other readers feel this way or even care.
I suspect not. But I am honestly considering not reading you anymore
And that's sad, because I enjoy it, but not at the cost of handing in
my soul or anything.
Felicia De Santo
I was at that crazy Woodstock shit and man I would not be so quick to
be praising its revolutionary effect on the plastic hordes that "created"
it. It was almost as if the entire system had broken down, and not the
youth culture you mock, but the human system, and it is almost scary
when you used its horrible memory to make points about this G-20 thing.
I was watching the footage on CNN and thought immediately of those painful
hours trying to get out of that mud pit alive. I don't recommend being
caught in a mass of violent behavior you didn't start. I only wish I
could have been at the G-20 or even Seattle in 1999. Then at least it
would have been FOR something than simply AGAINST it; as no successful
revolution can ever be.
Sydney From Hampton
Darn right Obama
is playing with a fixed hand. (DAWN OF THE ICE AGE -- Issue: 4/15) This
is what we get for continuing to put cowboy jackasses in charge. Sure
we kicked them out, but we put them there more than once and we will
no doubt do it again. BEWARE JEB, the most dangerous of the Bush Monarchy!
Engine Co. 499
Great job putting
this out on tax day. Soon no amount of excuses will keep the rabid dogs
from rushing forth to end the madness.
We used to make
stuff but that was when we blew up our competition in Germany and Japan.
Well, after the war they rebuilt and meanwhile our unions went off the
deep-end fighting for what they thought to be a "fair wage".
Well, that fair wage has now brought us Government Motors...good on
We used to win wars before we got soft and listened to anti-war activists
who have the ear and sympathies of the NY Times, Washington Post and
Big 3 networks.
It used to be "walk soft and carry a big stick" well now it
is " walk soft and...well...just don't make the world mad at us".
We did this to ourselves. Our liberalism, our social contract, our standard
of living, the unions have all come together in a perfect storm of mandated
The other problem is, the guy in charge supports the folks who got us
into this mess and therefore doesn't have the political will to get
Oh well....you enlightened ones wanted him...live with it.
The problem with
your question, while an interesting one which will garner a varied response
I'm sure, is that it is inherently flawed because of the empty-headed
numbskulls who command the information spigot, or are the filters if
you will, of what news is in this country. (WHAT IS NEWS -- Issue: 4/22)
It's like asking how to build a better widget ignoring the fact that
the widget builders are drool-dripping, morons. Heard audio clip yesterday
of a CNN reporter countering a tea party participant's rant by saying,
"But this state is getting 50 billion in stimulus money!"
If that doesn't prove how utterly retarded (and apologies to any actually
retarded people out there for my bad taste in comparing them to reporters)
the media "brain trust" is in this country, I don't know what
does. Stimulus and deficit spending equal future taxes, plain and simple.
That's what the news-worthy tea party was all about, and that's what
the media outlets that tried to paint it ugly don't get. No point in
talking about what SHOULD be news when the current media intelligentsia
is anything BUT intelligent.
One of your best,
(and I am glad to know that I am not the only one who remembers Steve
Martin's horror of cat juggling!) I would definitely join a protest
against the media itself (all but Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert) as
they are all otherwise UNBEARABLE.
I've called in on at least 10 radio talk shows in the last 6 months
and they all tried to make me sound like an asshole, which may not actually
be too far from the truth.
I actually support mothers with kicking babies !
I enjoyed your column, however you failed to address the selective news
that is printed or telecast. Also what happened to subjecting the news
instead of opining the subject?
Words on the United States of Torture
usual, everyone has this torture thing wrong. The Right conveniently
paints it as "special tactics to ensure security" and The
Left predictably sees it as "indefensible war crimes"...
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