(HOST) Commentator Madeleine Kunin thinks that critics of the Obama administration shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
(KUNIN) There are some people who already are growing impatient with President Barack Obama, asking: why is he permitting the red ink to continue to flow in the budget; why hasn’t he been able to make the financial markets work again?
Others complain he’s taking on too much by including health care reform in his overall economic agenda.
I have a different reaction. I am in awe of his ambition, of his multi-tasking by hosting a health care discussion with all the stakeholders one afternoon, while simultaneously keeping his eye on the economy, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Iran. And he’s doing it without a government that is fully staffed.
I believe he has no choice but to act quickly and decisively. Not everyone will agree with his initiatives, and he acknowledges that. Nor will they agree with his cool and collaborative style.
Now is the time to take on controversial initiatives because now is when he has the most political capital. He is regarded favorably by between 70 and 80 percent of the population, a number that is bound to do down as we get into the details of the pros and cons of each issue.
Let’s look at what he’s done. The first bill signed was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, reversing a Supreme Court decision that made it harder for all groups to file wage discrimination cases.
He reversed the so-called Gag rule, which stopped all health organizations from receiving U.S. family planning funds if they counseled people to consider abortion one option.
He signed the S-Chip bill, expanding health care for children, the same bill his predeccesor had vetoed. He said that he will close Guantanamo and that the use of torture will not be allowed.
He put 3.4 billion dollars in the stimulus bill for fossil fuel research and renewable energy.
There is 100 billion dollars in that bill for education – the tried and true route to improving people’s lives.
Most recently, he issued an executive order, before an audience of scientists, lawmakers and patients, reversing President Bush order, which had severely restricted stem cell research. He called for "scientific integrity to government decision making."
Yes, he is a young man in a hurry. Yes, we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but what we have seen is a sharp change in direction for this country. So far, much of the country is staying on course with him.