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Obama’s first 100 days: Diplomacy abroad, a hard line at home

Original Article

Today marks the end of President Barack Obama’s first 100 days, the benchmark introduced by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, applied to every one of his successors.

In foreign affairs, save holding the line in Iraq, building up forces in Afghanistan and the dramatic rescue of Capt. Phillips from the clutches of the Somali pirates, the president has relied on soft power.

At a dizzying series of political and economic summits he has extended olive branches to myriad governments, apologized for America’s sins (his own list, not universally shared) and sought unconditional dialogue with our enemies.

North Korea’s defiant test of a long-range missile elicited a soft response; the North answered by restarting plutonium production and repudiating nonproliferation commitments.

Iran will be allowed to continue enriching uranium as the administration steps up diplomacy.

At home, in stark contrast, the president has shelved bipartisanship save in rhetoric and applied hard power that has sharpened the domestic divide he promised to close.

The latest example his is reopening the door he had seemed to close, on prosecution of Bush administration officials for interrogation tactics long since abandoned.

Any inquiry into such practices can only sharpen and deepen domestic political divisions, with neither party likely to benefit, and governance thereby distracted.

Instead of drafting his own stimulus package, the president ceded authorship to the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi froze out Republicans, stating: “We won the election; we wrote the bill.”

Not a single GOP House member voted for the bill. Only three GOP senators supported it.

The bill was rushed into law so quickly that members had less than 24 hours to read an unreadable bill of more than 1,000 pages, much of it pure legalese.

The bill was rammed though on Friday of Presidents’ Weekend.

John Wohlstetter

Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute
John Wohlstetter is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and at the London Center for Public Policy Research. He is founder and editor of the issues blog Letter From The Capitol, and author of the books Sleepwalking With The Bomb and The Long War Ahead and the Short War Upon Us. He holds degrees from the University of Miami, Fordham University School of Law and The George Washington University. He is a trustee of the National Symphony Orchestra and a director of The Israel Energy Partnership. He resides in Charleston, SC.