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Obama's First 100 Days Checklist

[ Posted Thursday, May 29th, 2008 – 11:16 UTC ]

Barack Obama has started talking about his first 100 days in office. This may be wildly premature, but in Obama's defense, he was directly asked the question and actually responded instead of brushing it off. From a Reuters news blog:

During a fund-raiser in Denver, Obama -- a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School -- was asked what he hoped to accomplish during his first 100 days in office.

"I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution," said Obama.

Other goals for his first 100 days: work out a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq; make progress on alternative energy plans and launch legislation to reform the health care system.

As I said, some might consider this premature. I don't. I think this should be a routine question for any candidate for any public office. It cuts right to the heart of why they are campaigning. Put in another form, this questions what their top priorities are for seeking public office: What would you do first? This allows the public to see what the candidate considers the burning issues that he most wants to accomplish as fast as possible, within the powers of the office. No presidential candidate can honestly say "pass this law or that," for instance ("In my first 100 days as president, I will pass health care reform!") -- because they know that to do so involves Congress, who normally moves about as fast as a three-toed sloth on Ambien on these matters. They don't want to set unrealistic expectations, in other words, so the best they can say is they'll "launch" legislation.

But the power of the presidency goes beyond signing laws. Way beyond it. The president can issue executive orders, for instance. He can change the way federal law is interpreted within the Executive Branch, which is pretty far-reaching. He controls the military. These are all extremely powerful things.

Which is why I, like millions of Americans, are loudly applauding Obama's statements (figuratively... it's hard to applaud and type at the same time). Because this is exactly what we want to hear from the Democratic nominee for president -- that he will clean George Bush's house and restore it to The People, it's rightful owner.

I realize that Obama, even though he directly and fairly boldly answered the question, also didn't really give any specifics. This is probably wise politically, because if he really said what he was going to do, he'd probably lose a few votes here and there. Because some of the Bush actions he overturned are going to be those "hot button" issues Republicans are so fond of using in a campaign. No sense waving a red flag to this bull at this stage in the campaign.

But in case Barack Obama really is putting together a list of specifics for what he'd like to do in his first 100 days, I would like to offer my list of things the president can do without the benefit of Congress (feel free to add your own in the comments!):

  • Issue an executive order which states that all signing statements from George Bush on every law passed in the past eight years is null and void. All laws passed during the Bush tenure will be restored to the actual language of the law.
  • Notify all of the U.S. Attorneys that they will be replaced just as fast as Obama can hire others to take their place. They can reapply for the job, and be re-vetted by Obama's Justice Department to see that they have not been tainted by politics in their hiring.
  • Notify the C.I.A. and all other U.S. agencies and personnel that they will be restricted to using the Army Field Guide when interrogating prisoners from now on.
  • Tell the Pentagon that "Don't ask / don't tell" shall immediately be replaced by: "sexual orientation discrimination is hereby over, all can now proudly serve in the United States military."
  • Announce that the "global gag rule" is at an end, since if it were tried on U.S. soil it would be considered unconstitutional. Abortion providers overseas will now be eligible for federal funding for family planning activities, as long as federal dollars don't pay for the abortions themselves (in other words, a return to Bill Clinton's policy).
  • Announce that all Bush political appointees to everywhere in the federal government will be replaced just as soon as some competent people can be found to replace all the political hacks currently occupying these jobs (in eight years, Bush has "drilled down" into the federal bureaucracy to such an extent that scientists can't tell the truth because of all the "party officers" who can order them to silence).
  • Announce that marijuana will be immediately moved from Schedule I of the Dangerous Controlled Substance law to Schedule II. This means the federal government will allow states -- if they choose -- to make medical marijuana legal. This will allow doctors to prescribe it without fear of losing their license, and will allow pharmacies to sell it, and regulate legal growers as well. It will allow the entire chain of production to be legalized, while still keeping it illegal for the general public (like any prescription drug -- OxyContin, for instance), but it would stop federal DEA raids on dying people in wheelchairs.
  • Announce the immediate public release of every executive order George Bush made while in office, holding back only those which could compromise national security by their premature release.
  • Announce that so-called "free speech zones" will never be used again, and that political screening will not take place for every single audience he appears before as president.
  • Force the Washington Nationals, the new baseball team in the Nation's Capital, to redesign their obnoxiously "Western cowboy" logo. Sheesh. I mean, really... how many cowpokes ever drove herds of cattle in Washington, D.C.?


[Program Note: Due to technical reasons, and a sudden illness by our Executive Editor, yesterday's column, an interesting interview, did not appear on time. We apologize for the delay, and assure you it will be posted when complete. Thanks for your patience.]


-- Chris Weigant


9 Comments on “Obama's First 100 Days Checklist”

  1. [1] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I would like "executive privilege" defined. Government should be open as much as possible. The "national security" umbrella should not cover being embarrassed nor hide illegal actions. The white house records should be actually kept and not "lost" and available for review.


  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Seriously, do you people want to end up praying to Allah???

    The kind of government you are proposing is a completely OPEN government whereas the government has NO secrets and EVERY ACTION of the government is open to scrutiny...

    Let me ask you...

    How long do you think such a government will last??

    I give it "7 minutes"*... MAX.....


    *Extra Quatloo if anyone can garner the reference... :D


  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, let's see if we can establish some common ground.

    --To function effectively and serve the needs of it's citizenry, a government MUST have secrets--



  4. [4] 
    BLaws wrote:

    I have been hoping for a while now that Obama comes out with a JFK-"Going to the Moon"-like proposal on Energy independence. Something along the lines of:

    "Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it.

    Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are free, free from the dependence on other countries, and, therefore, we intend to be free. In short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading alternative renewable energy producing nation.

    We choose to accomplish this task. We choose to accomplish this task in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to accomplish, that we must accomplish in order to be free.

    It is for these reasons that I put forth that the decision to shift our efforts in alternative renewable energy from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency."

    Well something like that. :) And yes, I took a bit of liberty with JFK's speech, but it's been in my head for months now.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:


    I could definitely get behind something like that..

    I have had another idea floating around in my head for a while..

    Consider taking all the money spent of just studying "Human Caused Climate Change". Mind you, not doing anything about it, just STUDYING it.

    Such an amount would HAVE to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ BILLION dollars. Probably more.

    Now, imagine taking all that money and buying nothing but HYBRID vehicles with it.. Using a rough estimate of $20K per car that would be about 2.5 MILLION Hybrid Cars...

    Now, take all those Hybrid Cars and create a "Trade In Program".. Someone brings in a working and running gas powered vehicle and trades it in for a Hybrid Car...

    In one fell swoop, it would put a HUGE dent in the alleged HCCC problem and also a huge dent in the oil-dependency problem..

    Now, I am no economist or big wig scientist.. I am sure there would be some faults to the program..

    But, I'll be damned if I could think of any...


  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama might want to read the following before he goes meddling in Iraq..

    One important point really leapt out at me..

    Hayden, who has previously highlighted a gulf between Washington and its European allies on how to battle terrorism, said he is troubled that Congress and many in the media are "focused less on the threat and more on the tactics the nation has chosen to deal with the threat"

    And therein lies the whole crux of the issue..

    Democrats should be more concerned about the threat itself and less concerned about the steps taken to combat the threat...

    In short, it follows an old saying from my early days with the USAF...



  7. [7] 
    BLaws wrote:

    @Michael -

    I don't believe hybrids are the way to go. If we are going to do something we might as well go all the way. We need to move to a hydrogen based system. The industry already has the ability, the only road block right now is breaking the catch-22 that is happening with the auto industry and the fuel stations around the country. The car industry isn't going to make the cars until there are enough hydrogen pumps at stations and the fuel stations won't put in the pumps until there are enough cars.

    Hydrogen is the best way to go. You can create hydrogen using high-temperature electrolysis (HTE), the best method is using the new generation of nuclear reactors.

    One side benefit of a nuclear reactor that produces both electricity and hydrogen is that it can shift production between the two. The plant can produce electricity during the day and hydrogen at night, matching the daily variation in demand, and offloading the extra output at night into hydrogen.

    For areas that are distant enough from nuclear plants, hydrogen can be produced locally from electricity, either off the grid or from solar. Fuel stations will use electric from the grid, while there are plans to make personal hydrogen generators that can run off solar, wind, or home electric outlets.

    But to do this there would need to be a push to completely upgrade our infrastructure, especially the electric grid. We'd have to build hundreds of the next generation of nuclear reactors. We'd have to build wind turbines across the plains states, pacific northwest, and along our coastlines. We'd have to put solar and reflective solar plants across the south west. We'd have to harness geothermal where possible. We'd have to harness tidal and wave energy.

    Mandate that 10% of all new cars must be hydrogen, fuel cell, or electric powered starting in 2011 and increasing by 10% per year till 100% by 2020. Mandate that all major fuel stations chains provide at least one hydrogen fuel pump at a number of stations starting 2011. Stations will be required to carry a hydrogen pump if another hydrogen pump within their franchise is not in service within 10 miles. That range will reduce 1 mile per year till 2020 when all stations will be required to carry at least one hydrogen pump.

    Ambitious, expensive, but it can be done. Wouldn't be more ambitious than the national highway project in the 60's and 70's, and look at how that lead to significant improvements in this country.

    Unless we do something drastic, nothing will ever get done.

  8. [8] 
    Buzzardbilly wrote:

    Actually, there is some precedent for a "stalemate" with a stubborn opponent crumbling under the candidate who is ahead spending more time "being presidential" than bickering with the stubborn opponent, so I don't think it's premature at this point.

    At this point, I think he needs fence-sitters to recognize his legitimacy rather than reading about whether or not he is the legitimate candidate yet or what kind of snowball's chance chain of events would have to pass in order to make the stubborn opponent who is behind get the nom instead. Moreover, he needs Hillary supporters to see that his aims are their aims.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:


    "Moreover, he needs Hillary supporters to see that his aims are their aims."

    The problem with that is it presupposes that the people you are talking to are rational.

    Clinton supporters are anything but. One only has to read the forums where they hang out to realize how out of touch and irrational they are.


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