Obama's First Week

Jan 26, 2009
by: daneb

 A week after the Barack Obama's historic inauguration as the first black president of the United States, he has already brought significant change to the white house.  Clad in short sleeves and jeans, he has roamed the white house, painted the boys' dormitory of a homeless shelter, and met with reporters and members of the state department.  His approval ratings for his first three days in office - granted he really hasn't done much yet - are higher than the first approval ratings were for any other president since John F. Kennedy.  And it looks like his friendly and open attitude should benefit him politically as he faces a declining economy and the burden of the Iraq war.

"In his first week in office, Obama is giving clear signs that he is willing to trade on his own popularity, personal suasion and loose-limbed ease in the spotlight to help him lead the nation."
Washington Post


Just today (Monday, January 26th), Obama signed an executive order reversing the Bush Administration's backward policy toward emissions regulations.  The policy allows several states including California to dictate their own emissions standards that are stricter than the federal standards.  Therefore car manufactures will essentially be forced to comply with tighter requirements coming out of California's liberal legislature.

"Mr. Obama said he wants to avoid a patchwork system of emissions regulations, essentially stopping short of promising a broader adoption of California’s standards."
NY Times


Other actions Obama has taken in his first week include selecting big names to head up various executive departments.  He is breaking with the precedent by selecting a white house staff with a lot of clout to throw around.  Presidents usually like to consolidate their power and not spread too much throughout the executive branch.  Though some skeptics argue that Obama will spend too much time "refereeing turf battles," he seems more concerned with silencing critics of his limited executive experience by surrounding himself with very talented people.

"What’s notable about Obama’s approach - and expands on the approaches taken by Bush and Bill Clinton - is the number of different areas where Obama is seeking to tap a central figure, outside the Cabinet structure, who will carry out his wishes."
Hopefully in the coming weeks, months, and years, we will see the giant steamship that is our home country change direction, ever so slowly, with a new president at its helm.