The First 100 Days


            Whether you voted for him or not, few Americans can honestly say that on January 20th, they were not anxious to see how the first Black President of the United States would perform as leader of the free the world.  After recently completing his first 100 days in the Oval Office, the Barack Obama approval rating is extremely high for a leader faced with so much adversity from a devastating recession to two wars in the Middle East.

            The Obama approval rating notwithstanding, how has the Commander-in-Chief performed as president and has he succeeded at accomplishing the many promises he made on the campaign trail?

            According to a recent Associated Press poll, the Obama approval rating is at 64 percent for his first 100 days, which is higher than his predecessor George W. Bush, whose approval rating hovered around the high 50 percent range during his first 100 days.  However, the Obama approval rating is down slightly from a rating of 67 percent during the month of February.

            Nevertheless, 48 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in a positive direction, compared to 44 percent who believe the country is headed down the wrong road.  Despite the polarizing issues that our new president has to tackle, the people who believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction is up eight points since February and a whopping 31 points since October 2008, before the presidential election.

            Unfortunately for Obama, he inherited a country deeply divided on many turbulent issues, which makes it impossible to please every American.  However, on many key issues that he campaigned for, he has been able to enact bold legislation that will get this country moving in a different direction than that of the Bush administration.  For his boldness and action, the Obama approval rating for first 100 days in office has been a resounding success.

            Obama began his presidency by ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison on January 22; lifting the ban on federal funding for organizations performing abortions on January 23; signing the federal stimulus package on February 17; reversing Bush’s ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research; and authorizing a military rescue of an American hostage, which claimed the lives of three Somali pirates on April 12.

            Criticism has come from the left and the right about some of policies.  Liberals complained about the troop surge in Afghanistan and conservatives have complained about his policies on abortion and embryonic stem cell research, but the Obama approval rating shows that America is giving him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to finding solutions to the country’s many problems.

            Like all politicians, I have agreed with Obama on some issues and have disagreed with him on others, but in my 30 years I cannot recall a president who has acted so swiftly to fulfill his campaign promises.  Although I have very few presidential comparisons, the Obama approval rating, despite the enormous challenges he faces, has proven that he was the right candidate for the job.

            The Obama approval rating is solid despite breaking some promises like not raising taxes on non-affluent Americans (a tobacco tax increase is believed to disproportionately affect the poor).  He promised to not sign a nonemergency bill before Americans had an opportunity to critique it, but reneged on that promise by signing a nonemergency bill that will give employees more time to sue companies for pay discrimination. 

Nonetheless, he has made good on many of his campaign promises, which has resulted in the high Obama approval rating.

President Obama promised to bring the Iraq War to a conclusion, and he is beginning to wind down the war, but much slower than anticipated.  He has reached out to leaders who have been critical of America in the past, especially former President Bush, such as Hugo Chavez.  The president promised to fund “No Child Left Behind” and has dedicated $25 billion of the stimulus to package to education.

Furthermore, he stated on October 8, 2007, “I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming.”  His proposed budget would put American on a path to lower greenhouse gases and reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

The high Obama approval rating shows that America is at ease with their dependency on their new president, and his success in his first 100 days is a clear indication that America will soon be restored to its rightful position as a world leader.  Well done, Mr. President!

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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