Monday, April 27, 2009

Arianna Huffington on Obama's 100-Day Minuses

After listing the pluses, Arianna draws attention to these minuses in Obama's 100 Days:
*The bank bailout. In his appointments at almost every agency, Obama has demonstrated a desire to receive a wide range of opinion. But the exception is a doozy: at Treasury, the range of opinion goes all the way from Goldman to Sachs. Several hundred billion dollars later, the banks still aren't lending, the zombies are still on their feet, preferred shareholders are still being catered to, the knowledge of where our money has gone is spotty at best, and oversight and transparency remain unfulfilled promises. The Obama White House's vision for the rescue remains startlingly myopic. The result is the continued funneling of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the very people who got us into the mess we are in -- with very little accountability demanded in return. The biggest black mark on Obama's first 100 days is his head-scratching reliance on the bank-centric beliefs of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner.

*Afghanistan. Obama has committed 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan but as many, including Obama himself, have noted, there is no exclusively military solution to Afghanistan. What's more, unlike with Guantanamo, Obama has adopted Bush's policies regarding the enemy prisoners being held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

*Torture accountability. Obama has said he wants to look forward and not back, and it's reasonable for him to not want his agenda sidetracked by torture commissions and investigations. But the way we respond to the revelations about the Bush administration's use of torture isn't merely a question of policy; it a question of morality. The minute the president starts framing the issue as a matter of right vs wrong, his choices will be clear. Because if there is one thing Obama cannot afford to abandon it's the moral high ground. And he can trust the American public to walk and chew gum at the same time -- to be able to support a national health care plan, a new energy plan, the reforming of our education system, and at the same time support accountability for those who undercut our fundamental values.

*Sensible gun control. Despite a recent run of deadly gun rampages and an appeal from the president of Mexico, whose country is paying a heavy price for bought-in-America guns, Obama has chosen the path of political expediency and turned his back on his campaign promise to reinstate a ban on assault weapons.