After three years on the job, President Obama gets a C+ grade with lots of room for improvement. There are many conservatives that claim that the President deserves nothing better than a failing grade. I believe that the President used much of his political capital getting the new Affordable Healthcare bill passed over his first two years. The Congressional elections in 2010 made getting anything passed with bipartisan support nearly impossible. Here are several components that went into the President’s grade:
Foreign policy was excellent. The decision to kill/capture Osama Bin Laden was courageous and successful. The decision to surge in Afghanistan was controversial, but he followed the advice of his military commanders. He is hoping for an outcome like Iraq - securing the country while training the Army and Police. In Iraq, the President kept his campaign promise and American forces exited by the end of 2011. Now the Iraqi people must “stand up” and do the right things. America gave them the training to have the tools to succeed - will they have the will?
President Obama campaigned on reining in the runaway healthcare costs. After bipartisan attempts, he pushed through the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010. It was modeled after Governor Romney’s plan in Massachusetts. There are areas of the law that will be refined, but the intended consequences of lower costs and more people with insurance are happening.
The President initiated policies, in concert with the Federal Reserve, that slowed the decline and now has led to slow growth in the economy. After the economy hit the skids in 2007-08, the Bush Administration took many actions that angered Conservatives. The Obama Administration carried through on these plans and added a bailout of the auto industry. Some of these policies have been successful and some have not. Doing nothing would have been a worse option.
The economy has been slow to grow. Usually, at this stage of recovery and with this much fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy should be accelerating more. The unemployment rate has stayed particularly high. The President used a lot of political capital to get healthcare reform passed and probably neglected the economy.
When President Obama campaigned he was praised as a great communicator. The economic crisis in confidence has been the worst since The Great Depression. During the Depression, President Roosevelt had his “fireside chats” to explain fixes to the economy and to allay the fear of the people. President Obama has chosen not to systematically talk to the American people – this has been a mistake.
I am sure that my assessment will be judged too harsh or too easy by many. The President has set a fine example as a good family man in an age when many politicians fall short. The election in November and history will be the final arbiters of how successful the Obama Presidency has been. What grade would you give this President?