So which day is it today?

29 Jan

imagesIt seems as if the media are fixated with numbers when it comes to the new Obama administraton. It seems as if every day brings another story about Obama’s first 10 days or first 30 days or first 100 days.

I understand that this is a handy construct by which to assess the administration — to look at how much progress is being made and how fast. But it also seems to be a false measurement, implying that everything should happen at lightning speed and that, if it doesn’t, the administration is somehow failing.

It’s understandable that people are impatient for change. That was a big reason Obama was elected, after all.images-1

But our government is a huge institution with its own norms and processes firmly entrenched. Changes in tone and attitude may happen quickly; changes in substance and process will undoubtedly take longer.

The  media’s insistence on measuring accomplishments by the speed with which they are delivered is a false measurement. It’s setting the public up for disappointment.

Surely we can take a more nuanced approach, explaining regularly that Obama is a president, not an emperor, and that change requires negotiation and compromise with other branches of government and with the reality of an entrenched system.

Enough with the first ??? days already!

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