Obama began his presidency literally and politically reaching out as far as he could: to Cuba, Russia, Syria and Iran, for example. Here at home, he hunkered down in the Oval Office with congressional Republicans and leaders of corporate America.
He had two purposes. Diplomatically, he wanted to show off his globalist vision and herald a new era of cooperative good will after eight years of President George W. Bush's my-way-or-the-highway style. Domestically, he wanted to demonstrate good will of a different sort in the midst of frightening economic chaos. I'm not here to bury capitalism, his actions declared, but to save it. Yes, there will be medicine to administer to Wall Street and big banks, but it's medicine, not poison, and it was (and is) supposed to be dispensed in the spirit of tough love.
Those efforts have paid off remarkably. Obama's approval ratings remain historically strong and the president appears poised to make meaningful progress across a host of issues in the coming months. But now, to make good on the promise of days 1-100, Obama will have to deal with—and in some cases infuriate—his and our own best friends. Democratic and liberal allies won't necessarily like everything the president will have to do; neither will some of our country's traditional international allies.