President-elect Obama won his office by championing “Change We Can Believe In.” We’re beginning to have a few doubts.

Obama has recently shifted away from the hard line he took on many of the key issues at the center of his campaign, ranging from the economic crisis to the domestic and national security policies of the Bush administration. Maybe he is beginning to recognize the political impediments to fulfilling some of his campaign promises. Maybe those promises were too ambitious to begin with.

On many Bush administration policies he previously criticized during the campaign, Obama has softened his stance of late. He indicated that he is unlikely to authorize major inquiries into wiretapping and torture programs under Bush. He has also stated that the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention center is unlikely to take place in the first 100 days of his presidency, citing legal and practical obstacles.

Obama promised a major economic stimulus that would use tax breaks and major investment in infrastructure to turn the economy around. So far, however, his focus has been on “jump-start” stimulus packages that offer several small tax cuts and benefits for the disadvantaged. To fix the long-term problem, Obama must keep his eye on the real goal – the massive infrastructure projects he promised during his campaign.

These policies may reflect certain realities. Investigations into intelligence agencies are cumbersome and, while the government may be holding Guantánamo Bay detainees illegally, no one is certain of who is innocent and who is there for a reason.

But voters elected Obama on a platform of change and transparency. Obama cannot capitulate on a promise that important, especially following an administration plagued by accusations of wrongdoing and incompetence.

He, like his predecessors, now faces the 100-day grace period – a presidential “honeymoon” during which his reputation will be at its best. Obama has the staff and the plan to take advantage of this grace period. Now, all he must do is follow through.

A few words of advice to the president-elect: You have more goodwill than any president has had in recent memory, but it will not last forever. Spend it well and spend it quickly.

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