President Obama has completed his first month in office. Actually, it has only been twenty-eight days, but for February that counts as a month. In that month we’ve seen some highs, the inauguration, an impressive East Room news conference, passage of the S-CHIP bill, that broadens children’s health care coverage and the stimulus package. We’ve also seen some lows, the Daschele and Gregg nomination withdraws, and little GOP support for the stimulus package.
So what can we say about this past month? For one, it seems busier then the last two years of the Bush administration. A lot of this appearance is attributable to Obama’s more open (at least compared to Bush’s) legislative process. The old adage, that making laws is like making sausage, is still true today. If you legislate in public, it looks messy and chaotic, but isn’t that what a democracy is like?
In a more political context, the House Republicans have shown themselves to be little more then furniture on the set of this first month’s political stage. While being full of self congratulations, about their solidarity, they have also shown themselves to be irrelevant to the legislative process. Their demonstrated political will, leaves them with nothing to do, except to wait and hope for 2010.
While the House Republicans have marched off to irrelevance, while singing to Aerosmith, the Senate Republicans are set upon enforcing a legislative speed limit of sixty. Sixty votes will be required to move legislation in the Senate, pass a filibuster. With only fifty-eight and maybe someday soon, fifty-nine Democratic Senators, it will still require a few Republican Senators to pass a bill over a Republican filibuster. Someday though, the Democrats will have to let the Republicans have their chance and let them filibuster. On that day we’ll see how well Obama has maintained his grass roots network of support.
Obama needs to get out more. The stimulus package that was a week ago mired in partisan debate only moved forward when Obama hit the road and began campaigning for it. President Obama has superlative communications skills and a sky high approval rating. These are assets that he needs to use to sell his agenda to the American people.
Today’s header is from that business trip to D.C., that I described yesterday and the picture with today’s post is from this summer. It shows the effects of some flooding below the Arch. The flags in order are the United States flag, Missouri state flag and the City of Saint Louis flag.
UPDATE: Immediately after President Obama signed the stimulus bill, Missouri signed the first contract and within minutes the cranes moved in and work began. This $8.5 million project is the first transportation project in Missouri and the nation to use stimulus money and will create 250 jobs. The bridge, on Highway 17, about 30 miles south of Jefferson City, was built in 1933.