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Reality By the Numbers

Apparently in honor of “The First 100 Days,” the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the Obama administration’s fiscal 2010 budget resolution; the Senate will probably follow suit by the end of the day, CQ Politics reported Wednesday morning. It will be another huge accomplishment of this very talented leader. Despite the President’s constant reaching out to Republicans, no Republicans voted for it and 17 Democrats also voted against it. They reported Tuesday that it was the deal with Blue Dog Democrats over deficit controls that cleared the path to passage. CQ explains the terms of the resolution:

The budget resolution is non-binding but it sets the framework for Congress to make legislative decisions on taxes, appropriations and entitlement programs later in the year.

The $3.56 trillion budget resolution includes reconciliation instructions that would allow Obama’s proposed health care overhaul to move through Congress immune from a Senate filibuster.

Since Senator Specter has switched to the Democratic Party, I agree with Senator Kent Conrad that the reconciliation rules will never be used. In a way one could give President Obama, and certainly Vice President Biden, credit for smoothing the way for the Senator’s change of party affiliation. And the timing was probably no accident, as it maximizes the good PR for what the administration has called the “Hallmark event.” Senator Specter saw by his recent poll numbers that his reelection fate had gone into the hands of Pennsylvania’s Republicans, and that was too much. I like that he was very straightforward about his desire to stay in the Senate. All the while maintaining his “independence,” Senator Specter realistically represents the magic number of 60, for those key procedural votes that he can in effect throw away.

What decisions follow those in the initial period could prove just as vital to Obama’s legacy as the first 100 days, according to Politico‘s Jonathan Martin. Mike Allen, writing for the same shop, maintains that President Obama still has members of the GOP stumped about how to combat him. The smart ones are not trying, probably because they have their hands full trying to keep the party from disappearing altogether in its migration to the hard southern right. I predict that this wildly popular president will continue in the great middle, accepting disagreements graciously from both those on the left and the right.

The biggest downside to the new administration’s accomplishments is its failure to restore privacy protections in domestic surveillance, along with avoiding accountability demands for the war crimes of the previous administration. But the reality is that I am now in the minority of public opionion on those issues. But I will continue to advocate as a civil libertarian blogger. This is my 1300th post since I started blogging in March of 2005.

Finally, since the “100 Days” thing is really a concoction of the media I am concluding with a bit from a US News and World Report story called, “Taking the Pulse of the Mainstream Media.” It begins with data from a recent poll:

  • 65: Percentage who think the Internet has hurt journalism
  • 34: Percentage who think the Internet has helped journalism
  • 71: Percentage who think the media have treated Obama fairly
  • 22: Percentage who think the media have been “too easy” on Obama
  • 7: Percentage who think the media have been “too tough” on Obama


Reference:Where the 100-days rule comes from,” out of Time Magazine (4/29/09). “It all started with Napolean.”

[Post date 4/29/09]

See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.

Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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