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Published: Monday, 10/18/2010

Obama suffering from fast-food expectations

BY ROSE RUSSELL

Poor President Obama. Voters are upset that his agenda hasn't moved faster, and it hasn't helped that they blame him for the financial debacle.

The response to the slow pace of President Obama's change is typical of Baby Boomers and their descendants.

Boomers have remade our culture so that it meets their individual and collective demands almost immediately. This expectation to have it our way is embraced by our children and grandchildren.

Hungry? Get a meal, if you want to call it that, from McDonald's in less than five minutes.

Need to make a large purchase? Instant credit makes that possible.

Got an apartment or house? Hey, use that plastic and have it furnished and decorated in no time.

Starting a career? Of course you expect to run or own the firm in a few years. Anything less would suggest you are not motivated.

When this new guy was elected to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the nation was so euphoric that we dismissed just how close the nation had come to falling apart in what has been the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

The disaster was worldwide, but in our country, businesses large and small have folded. Old and young workers have lost their jobs. Those who are left are often underpaid and overworked.

Americans are stressed, depressed, and oppressed from losing their jobs and being put out of their homes. So whose fault is it that the housing and job markets have not yet turned around? The vast disappointment in one man who could not defeat our national ailments in less than two years would be laughable were it not so painful.

Many who backed Mr. Obama in the 2008 election expected the euphoria to last. They didn't realize that after high spirits comes the work.

And Mr. Obama has kept more of his campaign promises than he has broken. The Web site Politifact.com shows he has kept 122 promises and has broken 22. That's not too shabby.

The Web site also shows that the President has compromised on 41 of his promises, while 82 are stalled and 236 are still on the table.

Among his top 25 promises, Mr. Obama has met his pledges to require health insurance for children, to fully fund the Veterans Administration, to begin removing troops from Iraq, and to send more soldiers to Afghanistan.

In the nature of politics, Mr. Obama has had to compromise: on creating a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners, on a tax credit of $500 for workers, and on a “cap and trade” system with interim goals to reduce global warming.

He also promised to end the use of torture, to secure our borders, and to secure nuclear weapons materials within four years. Though it would seem that there should be quick action on these issues, movement on these promises has been slow. That's proof Mr. Obama cannot accomplish any promise on his own.

This week, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo was asked about her failures at a campaign debate. Her response was instructive: Miss Kaptur said she failed to understand fully the length of time it takes to change national policy. Obviously, it takes less time to destroy than it takes to build or change.

America needs significant policy changes. They won't happen immediately, particularly when there is vast opposition from others who are supposed to be at work for the same causes as the President.

Rose Russell is a Blade associate editor.

Contact her at: rrussell@theblade.com



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