David Brooks, of The New York Times, published a column today headlined "Car Dealer in Chief,"and I thought sure it would be critical of President Barack Obama for stepping into the auto-industry crisis by pressuring GM's chairman Rick Wagoner to resign.
Brooks, after all, is conservative and identifies with Republicans, although he has been a staunch supporter of Obama through the election campaign and afterward in such venues as Charlie Rose and Jim Lehrer's News Hour.
But a president stepping into the restructuring of the auto industry by pressuring the head of the nation's largest auto manufacturer to resign is a little more than I thought Brooks might be able to bear.
The column, however, was more anti-GM than anti-Obama, and I was happy for that.
Obama has been making all the right moves during the first two months of his administration, from using the bully pulpit of the presidency to chide AIG employees about taking bonuses after turning in miserable company performances; to standing up for his Treasury secretary while bloggers and commentators found fault with Timothy Geithner's slow unrolling of reforms in the banking industry; to turning the White House into a video-conference-room to hold an Internet town-hall meeting.
And Michelle Obama gets high marks for planting a garden in the White House backyard.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll, reported on in The Denver Post, says the percentage of American who say the nation is on the right track stands at 42 percent, the highest number in five years. Obama's critics are on the rise, but that's pretty natural for a sitting president. The number of people less enthused by any president's performance usually increases across America from the day of of that president's inauguration.
But so far, amazingly, Obama has made all the right moves, or at least, all the right major moves.
He is making decisions -- including pressuring the auto industry to right itself, while still not denying it government aid -- that make sense for the greatest number of Americans. The budget, the deficit, increased regulation of banks and financial companies, and energy iniatives all belong in that same basket.
The moves already ensure Obama a legacy of effective action. Whether everything will work the way it's planned is another issue, still to be determined.
But you've got to give the guy credit for making his bones as a president of these United States in a very short time.
Power exists to be used by those who have it. No one can claim they did not empower this President to take action when the nation elected him in 2008. That's one promise this politician has no intention of failing to fulfill.