At the end of this remarkable week, we’re starting to look ahead to theFirst 100 Days of the Obama presidency. Already, we’re hearing calls inthe mainstream media warning the new administration “not to overreach.” And working overtime, the Inside-the-Beltway Punditocracy continues toreveal its ability to ignore reality–even while describing itself as”realist”–with its claims that this is still a center-right nation,despite all evidence to the contrary.
But as Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes in today’s New York Times, “Let’s hope that Mr. Obama has the good sense to ignore this advice…this year’s presidential election was a clearreferendum on political philosophies–and the progressive philosophywon.”
Obama himself his talked about needing to measure his accomplishmentsover the first 1,000 Days, rather than 100, given the problems he has inherited from arguably theworst president ever (my words, not Obama’s). Indeed, it will take years to undo the damage of the Bush administration and the conservative ideology that hasdominated this country for nearly thirty years. But the First 100 Daysare still crucial–not only in signaling to the American people and theworld that the administration will take determined steps to repair thisnation–but there is a historical precedent for the need to moveforward expeditiously in order to seize the moment and the mandate.
President Obama will need to be bold to deal with the challenges hefaces: a cratering economy, broken healthcare system, two wars, povertyand inequality, and the stained US reputation in the world. Themillions who were mobilized and inspired by Obama’s campaign andcandidacy also have their work cut out for them–continuing to drive abold agenda to respond to these crises–just as progressives have inrecent years on the war, energy independence, trade, healthcare, andother issues that are defining the new “center” of American politics andhearts and minds.
Here is a list of actions–ones I care deeply about–that PresidentObama can take in the First 100 Days to immediately achieve real andsignificant change. Some of these he can literally achieve on Day 1with the stroke of a pen, others will demand coalition building and aninside-outside strategy to push legislation. Many of these ideas aredrawn from good groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, the Apollo Alliance, and Public Citizen. You may have others and I’d welcome hearing yours – just post acomment.