Well, tonight Obama is holding a press conference, no doubt to brag about his first 100 days. In fact, the man who would be Lincoln or Roosevelt is in fact more Chester A. Arthur.
Before I go further, I should note that I believe that he is certainly better than Bush, and probably better than McCain would have been (though I suspect that Hillary might have done a little better). Nonetheless, I remain singularly unimpressed by his performance and deeply pessimistic about the future.
To give the man his due, he is GREAT with atmospherics (see, for example, the useless photo op with the credit card executives) and remains very popular with the people at large. However, he has thus far shown no ability to translate his popularity into effective pressure on Congress. Indeed, he has too often shown a distressing lack of "inside" political skills. His unbelievably inept performance on the "torture" issue is only the latest example. If he had wanted to go hard at the Bush people, then releasing the memos would have made sense. But why would he raise the profile of the issue if (as he initially claimed) he simply wanted to change course and move on? It simply made no sense.
On the big issues:
1. FOREIGN POLICY. Once again atmospherics are sometimes good--for example, sending a high level envoy to pursue the mirage of a Middle East peace settlement. (On the other hand, there was the spectacle of the POTUS sitting quietly and not responding while Daniel Ortega ripped into the United States for almost an hour. But again, it was the apology tour.) On the substance--horrible. Embroiling us more deeply in the black hole of Afghanistan is a mistake of Bush-like proportions.
2. ENERGY--I take this next because Obama's failure here has implications for other issues as well. Again, some marginal gains in investments in nonfossil fuels and conservation. But Cap and Trade was supposed to be the centerpiece of the program and is DOA. So we have no real prospects for the kind of dramatic changes that are needed. In addition, he is left with a massive revenue whole.
3. THE ECONOMY GENERALLY--While a large stimulus bill was almost certainly necessary, Obama was completely outmaneuvered by Pelosi, Reid et. al. and left with Christmas tree bill that included large amounts of completely useless spending and that pathetic $400 per year tax cut. His projections for the future are based on a sharp V shaped recovery that is no rational person believes is in the cards and massive revenues from the nonexistent cap and trade system. On this point I am completely convinced by Peter Schiff's analysis.
4. HEALTH CARE--Although there is going to be an uproar when people understand that their current benefits are going to be taxed, my guess is we'll get some kind of universal care system, on balance a little better than what we have, but with massive administrative costs remaining. I also fear that we are going to get bells and whistles federal mandates (like requiring that IVF be covered and the absurd "parity" requirements for mental health care).