Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This report by Jeanne Sahadi at CNN/Money does a pretty good job of summarizing what lies ahead for President Obama, that is, once everyone comes down from the inaugural celebration high sometime on Wednesday or Thursday:
Naturally, the devil is in the details and, given the miserable results of the recovery packages, foreclosure prevention programs, and bailout efforts already attempted, it will certainly be an uphill battle all the way.
- Get recovery package passed and implemented
- Implement foreclosure prevention program
- Improve bank bailout efforts
- Turn in a budget request
- Decide automakers' fate
- Meet with world leaders to rethink regulation
But, clearly, he has some momentum on his side at the moment.
The image of a cantankerous Dick Cheney in a wheel chair and the shaky inauguration oath by the new guy, some 20-years his junior, made clear in visual terms that the outgoing and incoming administrations are quite different indeed.
Whether the level of success achieved in reviving the economy is any different, well, that remains to be seen.
The CNN report went on to note the sales job that lies ahead for President Obama and lends a little more weight to the argument that change might just be possible in the period ahead:
Roosevelt, in his first 100 days, "changed the psychology of the country to make people think, 'We can deal with this,' " said Cary Covington, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa.So far, so good.
Getting the public on board with his initiatives will be one of Obama's chief tasks as well.
"If he can sell this message of 'Yes, we can,' then he might restore confidence again," Covington said. "A lot will depend on how he packages what we're experiencing."
Obama's first act as president was to do just that. "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time," Obama said Tuesday after taking the oath of office. "But know this, America -- they will be met."
It will be instructive to watch what the two major consumer confidence surveys do over the next few months. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index and the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index have both recently bounced off of historically low levels and their paths in the months ahead are probably dependent, to some degree at least, on how our new leader fares.