doctor friend of mine told me a heart warming story.A
patient of his had been very ill. It is usual for the
doctor in charge to check to see if the recovering patient
was pulling through his illness properly. One of previously
devised tests is to determine how coherent the patient is.
So the doctor, my friend, started talking to his patient and
began by asking him to reply to what to anybody else would
be simple, everyday questions.
first question was: what is your name? There was no answer,
only a puzzled frown. The next question was: what is the
date today? Again, there was utter puzzlement, but no answer
still. The third question was: who lives in the White House?
This time there was no pause, no hesitation, no groping
around for words an answer. It came very quickly: “White
people” the patient replied with all sincerity. The doctor
had to correct his patient. “No,” the doctor said. “It is
the president of the United States; it is Barack Obama.”
was the smallest of pauses, almost theatrical in its nature:
the smile that followed nearly split the patient’s face in
half, the good doctor says. The patient then closed his
eyes and went to sleep.
in a nut shell, is the kind of magic that President Obama
has instilled in Americans of all hues and political
on a TV news show, a steadfast Republican who had voted for
Senator McCain say for all to hear, that he is more than
willing to give his new president the benefit of the doubt.
He also added that he hopes President Obama will do well so
that he can vote for him the next time around, a full four
popular radio talk show host has had his wings clipped
somewhat when he asserted that it was his earnest hope that
the president would fail. What he meant to say was that he
hoped that the president’s policies would fail, of course.
But, to many listeners and critics it sounded as if he
wished America ill. So intertwined were President Obama and
the United States.
disconcerting is the way the media is counting down to the
first one hundred days in office for the President.
Apparently this was started in the days of President
Theodore Roosevelt who went on a bill signing binge upon
becoming president. That furious work load has since become
almost a law in its own right, something that all presidents
that followed have had to abide by. Presidents are gauged
and graded according to the job done in those first one
hundred gruelling days, as set by President Roosevelt.
his third week in office, President Obama has to take a very
deep breath so as to fill previous presidents’ shoes, such
as his idol President Abraham Lincoln, and, of course the
man that has set the pace for him and others, President
what wonderful things he has done to tone down the ire of
his detractors! For instance, he goes to the extent of
inviting into his living room in the White House, his home
for the next four, if not eight, years; people from the
other side of the aisle, his political enemies; the same
people that will most probably vote against every one of his
pieces of legislation that he will be presenting to
as it may seem to outsiders and although it seems as if
there are not enough hours in the day for all that has to be
done; he is getting things done! Yes, he has stumbled and he
has had some setbacks. Three of his nominees for important
portfolios have gone down in flames – for not paying their
taxes on time. One sneaked in by the skin of his teeth, if
only because both the administration and the opposition were
sold on his abilities to see through the horrendous economic
mess the country is in. President Obama still faces a
growing criticism over the contradiction between his pledge
to create a new, ethical administration and some of the
problems of his nominees.
head of state that gets ‘only’ 400,000 dollars a year, (and
where the price of bread will matter hugely for the Obama
family); it was truly “shameful” and “the height of
irresponsibility”, as the President described it; for some
Wall Street bankers to give themselves 18.4 billion dollars
worth of bonuses – all public money, he was quick to point
out. This was on top of the 20 million dollars salary they
were getting to begin with!
international front, there might well be a hurdle that
President Obama and his administration will have to box
clever if they are to be believed. Its an aspect of the
proposed near one trillion dollars economic stimulus law
wending its way through the Congress. It is the rising
concern that the protectionist ‘buy American’ provisions in
the bill could perhaps trigger a transatlantic trade war
between the US and Europe. Again, President Obama was quick
to preempt any meanings that might be misconstrued by his
President and his advisers, as were economists around the
world, are mindful of history, and worried that it might be
repeated. One of the roots of the failure of world economies
in the Great Depression of the ‘30’s was the stridently
protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of June, 1930. It was
responsible for provoking retaliation by other countries
which led to a knock-on effect worldwide. However, the fear
from Europe and Japan was quickly snuffed out.
all that, there are reports in both the European and
American press of the scramble by individual countries to
get him to visit their countries before going anywhere else.
President Obama’s courteous phone calls first to the
leadership in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine did not go
down well in the various capitals of Europe.
all other presidents before him, will go calling north and
south of the USA to meet the respective leaders of Canada
and Mexico. After these two trips, it is anybody’s guess
where he will go next. But, everybody is clamouring for his
attention. Even the newly appointed Secretary of State,
Hilary Clinton, is going, against all custom, to Asia first,
instead of Europe.
is the little things that have gone down well. He is, above
all else, a man of his age. From the inevitable and
collective gasp as he bangs his head as he enters his
private helicopter (he is, after all, taller than
ex-President Bush, who also managed to do the same many
times); to his shaking hands with his visibly affected
marine guard at the steps to the same helicopter; he is
still the man that a majority still camp out overnight to
get seats to the town hall meetings his White House staff
arrange for him.
seen to be very much in charge. Although described as being
a little professor-like at his first press conference, and
perhaps long winded as well, he at least was able to
brow-beat into silence, Helen Thomas. Miss Helen Thomas
has served fifty-seven of her eighty-eight years as a
reporter in the White House, and has seen the backs of all
presidents since President John F. Kennedy. President Barack
H. Obama surely aims high.