Obama’s 100 Days

About a year ago, I had dinner with a friend who knew Barack Obama in law school. He thinks very highly of Obama, and is supporting him strongly in the campaign. So as an undecided Democrat, I asked him, “Okay. What is the centerpiece of the agenda for the first 100 days of the Obama Administration? What’s the thing in his gut that he really cares about and is going to fight for?” And my friend answered, “I don’t know.”

I suppose that’s why I’ve always leaned towards Edwards. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I know that he cares a lot about poverty and the uninsured. (These are not causes that figure to win you the Presidency, so you’d better believe in them if you’re going to run with them at the heart of your campaign.). The centerpiece of the Edwards Administration would be universal health coverage.

It’s not good enough to cite policy proposals. I want to know what the candidate really cares about. I think that’s why people are still wondering about Obama.

Now that Edwards seems fatally wounded, I’m still wondering whom I should vote for. So I’ll ask it again: what is at the center of the Obama Administration’s first 100 days?

Does anyone know? And how do they know it?

Update Mark responds

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

One thought on “Obama’s 100 Days”

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