Thursday, January 22, 2009

The First Twenty-Four Hours

It's been about 24 hours since BHO has had the reins of power in his grasp and while one day does not an administration make, I'm wondering if the first 24 hours gives us a clue to the direction in which we are headed.

One of his first acts was issue an executive order reversing the Bush administration policy that bans the use of federal dollars by non-govermental organizations that discuss or provide abortions outside of the United States. Despite campaigning on a hope to reduce abortions, we are now funding overseas abortions.

As promised, Obama signed the empty-order to close Gitmo. I say empty because he doesn't yet know what to do with the detainees. The order also vows to figure out what to do with them. Of the ones still there, 60 have already been cleared for release but because they are in danger of persecution or torture from their home countries, they have no place to go. There are other dangerous prisoners there who can not be tried in regular federal American courts for obvious reasons - they aren't American citizens, for one; they've not been given Miranda rights because they are enemy combatants captured in the field of battle, and the only other option is a military tribunal.

You can not hold these guys in regular prisons on United States soil. This endangers the very communities they desired to attack. The military bases that have been suggested as viable options are no good either - military training is going on there, or the bases are part of the community and this would endanger them. Nobody wants them, exept maybe Jack Murtha who actually just wants the pork-benefit of beefing up his own minimum security prison system.

You also have the additonal problem of the martyr. Several of the detainees do not want a halt to their proceedings because they WANT to be sentenced to death and thereby made martyrs. Do you help 'em out, or not?

In short, there are no good options here and the promise to close Gitmo places "hope" before reality and no real clear path to get there. I'm not trying to be a "wet blanket" - it's all well and good to raise our moral standing in the world and to have everyone like us again, but I'd place safety over that any day and I'm not getting the connection just yet.

Ah well, Gitmo aside, Mr. Obama did find time to call a foreign head of state which was to the leader of Fatah, who has terrorist background and terrorist units reporting to him, such as the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. THEN he called President Mubarak of Egypt, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and King Abdullah of Jordan. Symbolism is very important, though, and it seems the first call should have been to our ally in Israel. But maybe I'm being trivial.

And also today we read that Obama may order a hold on a proposal issued in the final days of the Bush administration to expand offshore drilling in previously banned areas. Obama is on the record against offshore drilling and has said that drilling is not the answer. We'll have to wait and see what decision he ultimately comes to on this, but not tapping into our own natural resources does not seem to be the answer to decreasing our dependance on foreign oil. The alternatives of "harnessing the winds" and the sun to provide energy seem a bit far down the road.

Meanwhile, to add a bit of absurdity to the mix, how about Larry King telling Bob Woodward: "My younger son Cannon, he is eight. And he now says that he would like to be black. I'm not kidding. He said there's a lot of advantages. Black is in. Is this a turning of the tide?"

Again, the first 24 hours does not an administration make, and in fact, Obama is holding true to the promises he made to his supporters. As conservatives, he told us as well that this is what he wanted to do and this is why we didn't support him. There are still four years of territory ahead and maybe there will be middle ground for us all. Enthusiasm and hope and global world warm fuzzy love is all well and good, but there are other things to consider such as national security.

And of course, if you think I'm being trival, you can check out HuffPo's piece about Obama breaking the Bush (and Reagan) rule of wearing a jacket in the Oval office. Respect for the office and all that.

Everybody take a deep breath. And calm down.


Mary Frances Archer said...

perhaps you should take your own advice on that last line

truly - you had to mention a negative in your inauguration post - how what you read in the oath was redistribution of wealth and as a conservative - you really want to make sure the poor aren't rewarded too much - though balanced with how you weren't going to do that

now in his first day - where he freezes pay on his top execs, keeps his promises (whether you like them or not) and GASP - took his jacket off in his new office

seriously? the man seems to be quite the honorable human being - quite impressive in his word - and yet you just can't let up


Pat Austin Becker said...

I wasn't siding with HuffPo and the jacket thing - just pointing it out. As ludicrous, actually.

I don't know why ANYONE is shocked that I am not supporting these policies - closing Gitmo, I mean, or redistribution of income (no, believe it or not, I don't want money I earn TAKEN from me and given to someone who doesn't want to work; I GIVE to charity by choice, not by force.)

Obama said up front what he was going to do, as I stated in my post. I didn't support it then and I don't now and so why the shock when I point that out?

Whenever he does something I support, I promise, I'll pat him on the back for it.

The freezing pay on top execs on their first day? Not such a big deal.

Once more - yes, he's "keeping his word" to his supporters. Kudos for that. I just don't agree with the words. That's politics! :)

Anonymous said...

Five executive orders within the first 72 hours of an administration is unheard of, and frankly quite dangerous.
Didn't we fight a war 233years ago, because King George ruled the colonies by edict and wouldn't allow representation in Parliment?
What Obama is doing is by passing legislation and thowing out our rights to representation to government.
And if you think we're crazy, listen to what Robert Reich (one of the Clinton left overs brought back for this administration)said about redistribution. Skilled workers and White males need not apply.
Where was the honorable man when a member of his very own cabinet said this on Larry King?

Anonymous said...

p.s. So that those on the left won't say, "What about Bush? What about Reagan signing executive orders?" I feel the same way. I believe executive orders are fine if they are used to institute minor presidential policies, but to change the complete structure of how the United States does business, No Way! No president, and I mean no president, should wield that much power single-handedly, Democrat or Repubican.

Nikki said...

Alright Mom, here we go:

I understand you don't agree with his issues, and that's fine and your choice, and you have the right to talk about whatever you want on YOUR blog. I totally recognize that. But it is frustrating you can't find even one positive thing to say about him. What about his call to everyone to do community service this week? I know a lot of people who are doing it simply because he asked. A lot of the events in my area are overstaffed with volunteers and can't even take more because so many people are coming together a) in support of our president and b) to try to make a difference in some way. I'm sending care packages to the troops What are you doing? The morale of this country is so low right now, and I applaud Obama for lifting the hopes of so many people. And yes, I understand there's much more to do than making people believe in you, but that's pretty darn important, too. I think for someone who waxes patriotic so often on this blog, it's very unpatriotic to not even try to support your new president. And maybe in some way you are trying, but all I ever see on here is sour grapes. And like I said, you can point out all the things you disagree with all day; no one is going to agree with every single thing he does, and you have a right to your opinion. But it'd be easier to respect your opinions if you weren't always being negative. It just comes across as bitter.

You're already getting antsy about Gitmo, but just relax for a minute until they do announce what they plan to do with the detainees. They aren't running around on American soil yet, so chill out for a minute. Take a breath. I'm not saying his decision is going to be something we like (I don't want terrorists running around on American soil anymore than you do), but I'm saying let him make the decision before you get critical. GIVE IT A CHANCE!!!

As far as the abortion thing, he said we should have fewer abortions, yes, but it should still be a woman's right to choose and not the government's decision to make for them. I don't see that executive order as a conflict with his campaign rhetoric at all.

I do think you're being trivial about the phone calls. What do you know about how he chose the order? Maybe there were scheduling conflicts. Maybe a line was busy. Maybe he just drew names out of a hat. Maybe he did eenie meenie miney moe. Maybe he picked petals off a daisy. Or maybe he's really just a secret terrorist and is going to blow this whole country up, because that's SADLY what so many people seem to believe, and I think comments like this just fuel that notion that this man is anti-American, which I think is absolutely ridiculous. I mean are we really going to criticize him for the order in which he makes phone calls now?

As for the offshore drilling--he hasn't done anything yet. There's a story that he MAY do something, so again, wait a minute and see what happens. But personally, I don't support expanding offshore drilling; that's just a difference of opinion and that's fine.

It thrills me that we have a president who is already keeping promises. 7 already met, and he's only had two full days in office. 14 more in the works. Yes, like you said, you might disagree with the promises, but how about an "atta boy" for actually doing what he said he'd do--whether you agree with what he's doing or not. I'm sure there will be broken promises along the way for whatever reasons, but so far I'm THRILLED to have a president I can believe.

And just to be clear, I'm not asking you not to be critical or even agree with his decisions. I'm asking you to just give things a chance.

Anonymous said...

I want to correct my comments about Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, and now a member of Obama's economic transition advisory board.
And it wasn't redistribution. I'm sorry I made a mistake.
It was about Obama's plan to rebuild the country's infrastructure. Yea Buddy, I want unskilled workers building a bridge that I, my friends, and family will be driving over. It just gives me a warm feeling of security.

Sarah said...

I think part of problem is many of us don't see a bright future for these policies.

For example the "community service" stuff. That's great on the service but Obama's own cheif of staff has said before that he would push to make community service MANDATORY.

When government starts getting too involved in people's lives like that, countries go downhill. Cuba is a fine example.

And you can't say OK, the gov can't tell me if I can or can't have an abortion but then turn around and say what's wrong with them requiring people to do community service? You either keep them out of your lives or you don't.

That's why I can't support many of his policies because they open a huge can of worms and lead into other things that scare the hell out of me.

Nikki said...

I don't recall saying I was OK with the government requiring everyone to do community service. I do disagree with that idea, and I think making it mandatory takes the spirit out of community service.

Sarah said...

Nikki - I didn't necessarily mean you, I was just using two of the things you said.

I also ment "surface" instead of "service" when I said "that's great on the..." Teach me not to proofread!