My Question for the Presidential Candidates

October 08, 2008

Last night’s “town hall” style debate between Senators Obama and McCain got me to thinking about what question I would have posed.  And about the answer that would satisfy me.  Much has been made of the first 100 days of President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration.  

From Wikipedia:

Having won a decisive victory in the United States presidential election of 1932, and with his party having decisively swept Congressional elections across the nation, Roosevelt entered office with unprecedented political capital. Americans of all political persuasions were demanding immediate action, and Roosevelt responded with a remarkable series of new programs in the “first hundred days” of the administration, in which he met with congress for 100 days. During those 100 days of lawmaking, Congress granted every "request" Roosevelt asked.

While I don’t expect either candidate to arrive in office with a mandate like FDR had, I do expect them to have a plan laid out and a willingness to execute it to the best of their ability.  So, here then is my question.

What, in order of priority, are the top five initiatives you'll implement during your first 100 days in office?

I’ve thought about this a lot in the past couple of days, and here are some of the initiative I would hope to hear.

  1. An executive order closing the Guantanimo Bay detention facility.  The order should also require that all persons detained be formally charged and given representation or set free
  2. An executive order forbidding the use of torture (or "aggressive interrogation techniques").
  3. An initiative to bring forward the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Standards.  Within four years no car sold in America should get less then 30 MPG average.
  4. Signing and full compliance with the Kyoto Protocol regarding global climate change.
  5. A proposal presented to Congress that details a responsible withdrawal of troops from Iraq within the next two years.
  6. A "bailout" or relief plan for homeowners caught in the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  We've helped the banks who created the mess, now let's help the ordinary citizens.
  7. Strong, unwavering diplomacy with those nations whose ambitions include nuclear weapons, including a clear statement of consequences should diplomacy fail.
  8. A clear, unambiguous path for persons living in the United States to become citizens - regardless of how they arrived in this country.  
  9. Regulation and monitoring of the Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance industries.
  10. Legislation taking away the "free speech" power of money, thus removing the power corporations have that citizens don't enjoy.
This list could go on and on.  The point is, after all the campaign rhetoric, after all the mudslinging, after the debates are analyzed, and all the votes are counted, we will have a new President.  A no matter who fills that office, he will have to form coalitions in order to make things happen.  Coalitions within our government, and coalitions with the rest of the world community.  America cannot "go it alone" anymore.  Eight years of unilateral bullying haven't improved the world, or the United States' standing.  The next President will face one of the hardest four years this country has seen in decades.  It will be impossible to serve this four year term without upsetting every faction in every corner of the globe at least once.  Only by having a plan, by knowing what the objectives are, by being willing to engage in open, frank discussions will the next President have any hope at all of steering this country back towards stability, integrity, and prosperity.
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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.