By Patrick Dorinson
If my public school education arithmetic is right, now that President Obama has just about reached the 100 day mark, there are stil 1362 days left in his first term.
But before the fawning mainstream media, Chris Matthews and the Democratic Party start a campaign to decide which dead white guy to replace with Obama's visage on our coins and currency; it's time for a little "Whoa there".
You can't seem to go anywhere today without seeing our president's picture. From the grocery store checkout line to turning on your television he is everywhere. He not only governs the country -- he seems to have engulfed it with his image.
We have seen a whirlwind of activity coming from the White House on a daily basis. There have been announcements and pronouncements every day on every subject and even press events to introduce the new family dog. In the difficult months and years to come I suspect that President Obama will come to rely on Bo more and more as his confidante. He will be the only one who will be loyal, listen and not give his opinion.
But never confuse activity with action. And don't tell me taking out three teenage Somali buccaneers is action. Any president would have done the exact same thing and besides Somalia is not about to declare war over this incident.
And while the first 100 days has been mostly about him, his family, his plans and his style of leadership the next 1360 days are significantly more important because they will be about us, the American people.
During the campaign of 2008 Obama presented voters with the conceptual drawings for his "new and improved America" and a large majority of Americans echoed his call and said, "Yes we want this!"
Once in office he took those drawings, and gave them to that renowned political architectural firm of Pelosi Reid to draw up the Democratic blueprints for America's future.-- Rube Goldberg would be proud of their efforts.
In the next 1362 days, construction will begin on this Obamatopian vision. But as anyone who has ever built anything of this complexity will tell you, that is when the trouble begins. Unforeseen problems crop up and change orders are issued. To paraphrase Scottish poet Robert Burns, "The best laid plans oft go awry."
And just because he won the election convincingly does not mean the voters agreed 100% with his plans. As happens in most elections they voted against the other guy and his party just as much as they voted for Obama and his.
The people will still have a say in the final product of healthcare, energy and education because politicians are slaves to public opinion polls and only care about is their own skins. And if they see strong public resistance to their plans that threaten their re-election they might alter the construction schedule slightly.
The 2008 election, the thrill of his historic Inauguration and the arbitrary media driven milestone of the "First 100 Days" are over. The time for choosing is here.
But we must make choices about our country's future not in an atmosphere of panic or fear. We must make them soberly and be aware of the consequences of our choices.
In difficult times, be it war, natural disasters or economic disasters, people tend to retreat to the protective arms of the government and grant it powers to handle the situation that it might not grant in calmer times.
This is what worries me about the next 1360 days.
That the American people who have become accustomed to living for today and not planning for the future will let this "government knows best" agenda pass and then wake up later and say that is not what they had in mind.
But by then it will be too late. The die will have been cast.
Because what is being proposed by Obama and the Democrats is not just a legislative package of pent up demands from their constituencies. It is a fundamental shift in the social compact between the people and their government that while difficult to achieve will be almost impossible to undo once in place.
As the real heavy lifting begins on the president's agenda this spring and into the summer and fall there are three things Americans need to remember as they ponder the Obama agenda.
Life is not fair and it is not the responsibility of the government to make it so.
Life has risk. We can't legislate, regulate or litigate our way out of every problem or perceived problem.
The role of government is to guarantee and expand opportunities not guarantee outcomes.
And while there will be many global challenges in the next 1362 days, you and I can't control what happens in other countries. We can control what happens in ours and respond at the ballot box.
Whether it is Bush or Obama neither one was nor is the decider. We the American people are.
The next 1362 days will say much about Barack Obama and his plans for the nation. They will say even more about us and what kind of a country we want to leave to our kids and grandkids.
Which way will we choose?
Patrick Dorinson is a radio talk show host and commentator who goes by the name"The Cowboy Libertarian." He can be heard on a radio program with the same name Saturdays, from 5-6 p.m. PT on Clear Channel's KFBK radio in Sacramento, California.