Why so negative?

Let’s see.  Barack Obama has been President for 50 days today.  Only 50 days. During that time he has outlined a plan for economic recovery and gotten it passed, he has outlined plans to end the war in Iraq, and he has proposals to help some homeowners faced with foreclosures.  He is studying what to do about Afganistan and Guantanamo.  He has said we won’t torture, removed the ban on federal funds to groups who perform and/or counsel about abortion, removed prohibitions on stem cell reseach and etc., etc.  At the one month point, I quoted Eugene Robinson who called this ” an administration on steroids”. 

Politico writes of the first 50 days

It’s been a busy stretch. Obama revisited Bush-era policies on torture and the Guantanamo Bay prison, proposed to remake U.S. health care by year’s end, offered new rescue efforts for the housing and financial services sectors, expanded government stakes in Citigroup and American International Group, put forth a $3.7 trillion budget and announced his education policy Tuesday.

As president, Obama has signed a total of six bills. The most notable was the $787 billion stimulus legislation. He also signed a bill expanding children’s health insurance coverage and another making it easier to file suits alleging gender discrimination in the workplace. Another bill he signed was a so-called continuing resolution continuing temporary funding for federal agencies still awaiting a final appropriation for the current fiscal year. The two other measures were a bill to rename a post office in Illinois and legislation postponing the national conversion to digital television for about four months.

So why is everyone so negative?  Paul Krugman is worried we haven’t done enough.  Some Congressional Democrats are making noises about not wanting to spend any more.  The Republicans are on a vote no kick and want to go back to Bush economics – tax cuts and more tax cuts.  The left thinks he hasn’t done enough about about prosecuting W. and his pals and certainly isn’t withdrawing from Iraq fast enough.  The right thinks he is overturning the entire universe.

I’m certainly not happy with everything that President Obama has done so far.  I think the Tim Geithner appointment is a disaster and he also needs to lose Larry Summers.  I do like Orszag and Christine Rohmer. I don’t think we are planning to withdraw fast enough from Iraq and I’m worried about Afganistan.  I worry that some of the government programs are too complicated for local governments and non profits to administer.  But I’m not negative yet.

Everyone seems to be whining about something without giving things a chance to work.  If we want a large bank to fail – one, Leaman Brothers, already did and it didn’t help the economy much.  We had lots of tax cuts under W. and it didn’t stop the economy from tanking.  So let’s see what happens.  In a few more weeks most of us will get a few bucks more in our paychecks.  The Recovery funds will start hitting the street and projects will be underway in a month or so. 

We can’t let pundit negativity make us lose sight of the fact that is has only been 50 days today.  Give the guy a chance and don’t let negativity become a self-fulling prophecy.  So take a deep breath, relax a bit and notice that the market went up today.

Where is Al?

Have you forgotten aobut the Minnesota Senate election?  I admit that I can go days without remembering that it is still not decided. 

A guy named Al Franken, a Democrat, is still leading Norman Coleman, a Republican and the incumbant, and they are still counting ballots under the direction of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The Court has ruled that Franken cannot be seated until all the ballots have been counted.  They have also refused to issue, or allow to be issued, a certificate of election saying that the U.S. Senate has the authority to seat a senator should they choose to do so.  Of course, the Democrats have already screwed themselves because they insisted on a certificate from the Secretary of State of Illinois before they would seat Roland Burris.  So Harry Reid can’t now decide to seat Al.

As I understand it, there are now about 1500 absentee ballots that are being examined to see if they can be counted.  They are looking at things like is a registration form included (Minnesota has same day registratiion), are the forms completed correctly and are the ballots marked property.  So far, there are 89 such ballots that will be examined further before being counted.

Eric Kleefeld is blogging about the Minnesota Election on TPM daily.  His most recent entry

In order to win, Coleman needs to expand the universe of countable ballots. But this expansion was much smaller than some expected, out of the 1,500 ballots that were searched. At his post-court press conference, Coleman legal spokesman Ginsberg boasted that the search “found between 100 and 150 that were wrongly rejected and should be put in. so that gives you an increasing idea that the universe of ballots with which we’re dealing continues to fluctuate.”

What Ginsberg is relying on is the addition of 72 more envelopes that had incomplete registration cards, and are unlikely to be included under the court’s strict standards for letting in new ballots — a point that the Coleman camp seems sure to appeal.

Two-thirds of the 89 came from pro-Coleman counties, but the sample of votes is by itself too small to provide much of a swing for him — and that’s assuming they do break for Coleman. It’s also likely that some of these envelopes will have other flaws with them, thus shrinking the pool even further.

I should also point out that even if Coleman gets all 89 votes which is not likely as some will be found to be flawed and some votes for Franken, he still cannot overcome the Franken lead of around 225 votes.

So eventually, it seems, the Senate Democrats will get their 59th vote.  And the drama of Minnesota will finally be over.  This saga could only happen to someone who used to be on Saturday Night Live.