21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Plus Readers Letters

The Century Mark
Joe Cool's Honeymoon Epilogue
James Campion on Obama's 100 days

We 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 subordinates.

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 from again.

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? brought to you by Pepsi?
Yours in Voyeurism,
The Doctor

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 low.
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 after this.
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.
Edgar Torrino

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 ya.
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 mediocrity.
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 us out.
Oh enlightened ones wanted with it.
Bill Roberts

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.
Ken Eustace

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 !
Laura DeBona

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?

Last Words on the United States of Torture
James Campion
As 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"...

More Comment


© Hackwriters 1999-2009 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.