Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer some insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.
In an interview that aired Sunday night, President Barack Obama graded his presidency so far as a "good, solid B-plus."
How would you grade the first 11 months of Barack Obama's presidency?
Cheri Jacobus, Pundits blog contributor, said:
With poll after poll indicating Obama's standing with the American public is lower in his first year than any president since they started this type of polling, it really doesn't matter what grade any pundits, the media, or inside-the-beltway types give Obama. It doesn't matter what grade Obama gives Obama. The American people are who count, and they are not rating President Barack Obama even close to the self-congratulatory and self-delusional B-plus he has given himself.
Even more interesting are polls indicating that the much-maligned former President George W. Bush is now, in hindsight, far more appreciated than in the final days of his presidency. Since Bush hasn't done anything in a year, the only explanation for his surge in the polls is how Obama has stood up by comparison and apparently it's not all that well.
After staking his entire presidential campaign and at least his first 9 months of his presidency on a "blame Bush" strategy, and seeing it fail, it's no wonder Obama is trying to sound more like Bush and Vice President Cheney these days on foreign policy ...
Bernie Quigley, Pundits blog contributor, said:
I have a lot of complaints about Obama as a policy maker but as an individual I would give him an A. Not because of the bailouts; F on the bailouts. Not because of the war in Afghanistan; C on Afghanistan. Not because of the health care issues he has thrown in the hands of Congressional party hacks; F on that. But because he was thrown into the Presidency as an emergency measure to save the Democratic Party from complete self destruction when it could not relieve itself from Clinton dominance. This was his only requirement. And for this heroic singularity he deserves an A. He was about as qualified to be President as my brother Daryl and much less qualified than Mike, the guy who fixes my truck. That is not a criticism of him. It is an objective reading of his resume. Under these circumstances he made a remarkable adjustment. But next year we will expect results.
Brent White, professor of Law at the University of Arizona, said:
The President was handed two wars and an economy headed toward depression by the Bush administration. He deserves a great deal of credit for the admirable job he has done handling these crises, all the while dealing with endless obstructionism from the Right. B+
John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:
President Obama deserves high marks only for his efforts to steer the United States into the New World Order. Under his leadership, our nation has become more deeply mired in socialism, vastly more heavily indebted, increasingly entangled in more initiatives leading to world government, and saddled with an administration full of political and moral revolutionaries who are actively working to undo the American dream. His swearing an oath to abide by the Constitution (and its many limitations on government power) is a classic example of a sick joke. Our nation needs and deserves much, much better. Let us hope, work and pray for a great awakening of the American people so that the situation described above can be reversed and some of the harm already visited upon us can be undone.
Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.org, said:
The Administration has made enormous but quiet progress reforming Federal government, which will have a big impact over decades. Also, Obama has restored honor to the Oval Office.
I'd suggest A-, better perhaps depending on health care reform's success.
John Feehery, Pundits blog contributor, said:
His poll ratings have fallen from the mid-sixties to the mid-forties. His accomplishments, which are slender, were pretty much pre-cooked from the last Congress. His major decision, to increase troops to Afghanistan, has alienated his base and took far too long to make. He has left most of the major legislative decisions in the hands of a liberal and unpopular Democratic Congressional leadership. It is hard to imagine how I can give him a passing grade for that performance.
Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:
I give President Obama an F-minus.
The F is for his continuation – and extension – of the Bush foreign policy of global intervention, especially his unconscionable escalation of the Afghan/Pakistan war. We are told that Afghanistan is a threat to the continental US because al-Qaeda is using it as a “base” to “plot” attacks on the US, when anyone can see that the actual planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks took place on American and German soil (Mohammed Atta and his confreres lived in Hamburg, Germany, before they came to the US legally). We are in for a decade-long involvement in that part of the world, regardless of what Obama says about “starting” to withdraw in 2011 – at a cost of trillions of taxpayer dollars, and many thousands of lives. To say nothing of the costs in “blowback.”
Rather than making us safer, the President’s foreign policy is endangering us, destabilizing the entire region, and allowing us to get drawn into yet another quagmire.
The F is also for his economic policies, which are destroying the dollar, impoverishing average Americans, and enriching his banker friends and supporters. See Matt Taibbi’s latest in Rolling Stone for the real story on how the President is selling out the country for the benefit of his cronies at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup.
As for the minus – that’s for having the absolute gall to rate himself “a good solid B-plus”! What nerve.
William Redpath, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, said:
I think President Obama is a bit biased, but then so am I. I don’t see how anyone who thinks we should have limited government, particularly at the federal level, and who thinks the Constitution should be respected, could give his presidency anything other than an “F” so far.
Hal Lewis, professor at UC Santa Barbara, said:
All grades depend on the objective. If Obama's objective is to give the accumulated national treasure to the folks who will reelect him, he gets an A+ from me. If it is to load our children with an insupportable burden, that of paying off the debts he is incurring with gay abandon, another A+. If it is to protect the country from its sworn enemies he gets an F, and if it's to protect the productivity that has given us the best living standards in the world, another F. Nothing in between, you will note.