The 100th Day

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jonathan Alter, a senior editor and columnist for Newsweek magazine, and the author of The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, discusses Obama's first 100 days in office, a milestone made notable by FDR.


Jonathan Alter

Comments [13]

Rob from The Bronx

In reply to Scott from Cambridge, if you examine the last part of your statement "I voted for Obama" which means that he is a politican and needs to govern with a congress, he is not a dictator. I certainly agree with your observation that there should be a greater diversity of opinions especially on economic matters.

Apr. 29 2009 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I greatly admire and support MOST of Obama's objectives, but the question remains, can this country restore prosperity as we once knew it, or is it inexorably destined to decline, pretty as Britain had to accept with the decline of its empire? Maybe the competitive advantages that our nation once had have been exhausted, and decline has to be graciously accepted as one has to expect with old age. It's either a graceful decline, or a bitter death. It's all in the way you choose to take it. I think the shift of the economic center to Asia is inexorable and nothing short of nuclear war will stop it. WWII made us a big shot because competition was bombed into rubble. Germany and Japan and most of Europe had to dig out of it, giving us a 40 year handicap. The Russians, CHinese and Indians shot themselves in the foot by choosing to go with a hopeless system, communism. But now the competition is ubiquitous and serious, and I don't think anything that Obama or anyone else can do will restore us to the heights we once commanded.

Apr. 29 2009 10:29 AM
Gustav Rech from manhattan

Reviewing the President's performance after 100 days is preposterous. Given 8 years of incompetence and deliberate dismantling of the goernmental oversight on all levels, it will take a great deal longer to get the country on track. Overlall I am satisified in that President Obama is putting together an administration of knowledgeable and competent people. The mere fact that most of them can speak in whole sentences is refreshing. More to the point, Bush spent half of his first 6 months in office at his ranch relaxing and ignoring the Al Quaeda threat. At least this president is doing something about the problems confronting the nation and planning for those to come.

Apr. 29 2009 10:28 AM
Robert from NYC

He took universal healthcare off the table so he gets a C+ from me. He keeps Larry Summers on his staff, he keeps the policy of listening into phone conversations, he doesn't want to go after the previous administrations illegal policies and prosecute the guilty, etc. He gets a C+ and should be grateful I gave him that because I was (am?) a strong supporter but also disappointed enough to rethink. I will give a chance. I don't believe in this 100 days crap so let's see what happens. He gets a year from me, he found a big huge mess and it will take a while...IF he does it.

Apr. 29 2009 10:22 AM
Karen from Westchester

Until the conversation about economics focuses on the globalization of finance, the violent swings of the past 30 years that are a direct result of the international market place, the public and our leaders in government are not facing reality. You talk about Presidents, past and present, and about economics, without the larger defining context of financial globalization. The root of the problems lie therein. See Martin Wolf's "Fixing Global Finance" for revelation.

Apr. 29 2009 10:22 AM
mike from brooklyn

My only disappointment is difficulty getting his cabinet together; I thought he would be able to prevent this given his knowledge of the Clinton admin. Otherwise he is doing a very good and competent job.

Apr. 29 2009 10:22 AM
Susy from manhattan

I'd like to see anyone, regardless of Partisan affiliation, solve the problems we've got in only 100 days.

I never expected change-- but I did expect competence. And in that regard, I am extremely pleased. He is doing a good job.

The legislative bickering, however, is disappointing.

Apr. 29 2009 10:22 AM
Scott from Cambridge, MA


I didn't mean that SCHIP was symbolic, but that it would have been passed by Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic candidate. SCHIP is crucially important, but it's not the answer to health care. Single payer is the only way. Why didn't he come out with this from the start?

Apr. 29 2009 10:21 AM
Scott from Cambridge, MA

Also, cities desperately need money for public transportation and this was not part of the stimulus plan. Cities are rotting and they desperately need money. Also, he talks about creating a green economy to pull us out of the economic doldrums but he's talking about $15 billion a year. We spend $700 billion on defense a year! If he's serious about creating a whole new economy, he should pump New Deal-style money into the green economy.

I think Obama is a restorationist president. He wants us to return to 1999, but what we need is a fundamental restructuring of how we live in this country.

Apr. 29 2009 10:19 AM
jj from nyc

Yes, voted for Obama. Yes, got what I wanted. Standard Dem who likes our Big Tent. Thank-you Howard Dean, and Welcome Aboard Sen. Specter!

Apr. 29 2009 10:16 AM
Scott from Cambridge, MA

I think Obama's 100 days has been largely disappointing. The positive measures that people cite (closing Guantanamo, SCHIP) have been largely symbolic and would have been implemented by the other Democratic candidates.

Obama's continuation and escalation of Bush's terror regime, the policy of rendition, and the maintenance of the surveillance regime have been morally repugnant. In addition, Obama has backed away from serious health care reform (i.e. single payer). His handling of the economy has been insufficient and reluctance to incorporate dissenting views from prominent economists like Stiglitz and Krugman. His escalation of the war in Afghanistan will only deepen our involvement in this quagmire. He has backed out on his commitment to increase foreign aid. Finally, his support of a cap-and-trade system is woefully inadequate to address global warming.

I voted for Obama and have been severely disappointed with Obama's first 100 days. He is a triangulator like Clinton.

Apr. 29 2009 10:12 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

Obama deserves credit for two things, equal in my mind: He helped restore enough confidence in our economy that we did not totally implode, and he showed the rest of the world that we finally elected an adult to the whitehouse.

Apr. 29 2009 10:10 AM
Gary from UWS

Hey Obama devotees: 100 days in office and Guantanamo Bay is still open for business.

Apr. 29 2009 10:08 AM

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