Obama Gets 'Average' Grade for His First Three Years in Office

The promise of President Obama was great in 2008. Some things like foreign policy went well. His economic policies were little more than an extension of the Bush Administrations' policies.

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.

Bottom Line

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?

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Marc February 21, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Wes, The fact is that 49% of the working population pay no taxes at all, 0. Nada. That leaves 51% paying 100% of the taxes. And the top 1% pays 40% of that. And that does not include the massive charitable donations the 1% make. So what is the Presidents definition of "Fair"?? As long as the well off feel they are being punished for being successful. they will continue to hold on to their money. And that means no new start ups. No new jobs. No new raises. So just how fair is fair? How much is enough. How rich is to0 rich? If I am only making 250,000 and have a family of 4 and live in NY city I am worst off the then a similar family in Greenville SC bringing home 100,000 a year. Stop punishing people for being innovated and successful. Those are the people that create new jobs. Not the federal government.
Jane Patla Tanner February 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
The 47-49% who don't pay taxes are the working poor and elderly, (ex. families with 2 children making less than $26,400). It is sad when 1) there are that many working poor and 2) people are complaining that the working poor aren't 'paying their fair share'. Try living these days on $26,400, buying food, shelter, clothes, transportation, health care for 2 adults and 2 children. Since when was it the Christian way to demand that the poor pay up while those with massive excess get a pity party? I think that those with many resources have the funds to stick up for themselves. If you are feeling the pinch, talk about that, but no need to recite the 'talking points'. I also find it a bit hypocritical that those who are crying the loudest now of how "deficits are insanity", have been saying from the 1980s through the early 2000s, to quote Dick Cheney, "Deficits don't matter". After 2 wars, tax cuts, and an economy that collapsed in 2008 it is about time that everyone is in agreement on at least this issue. Now maybe we can all move forward, together, to find solutions that will help all Americans, especially those in need.
Jimmy February 22, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Jane, having children is a big, and expensive, responsibility. If you have two adults, who arent smart and/ or industrious enough to make more than $26K between them, they probably shouldnt be having children. If the 53% who do pay all the tax, were taxed at 100%, it still wouldnt be enough to eliminate the deficit for even one year. You can try to blame on it on who ever you want, the numbers dont lie.
Karsten Torch February 22, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Jimmy, you're just being mean. To say that two people who are either too lazy or too stupid to even make minimum wage if it wasn't guaranteed to them shouldn't have children is just a sign that you don't care about people. It's peoples' right to have all the children they want, and it's not any of your business if your money is spent to take care of them. You're just hearless and mean! (Note the sarcasm font) Seriously, though, good job on saying it. We're all thinking it, you just throw it out there. At any point it would actually be OK to teach abstinence or personal responsibility rather than just handing out prophylactics with our money to whoever wants it and saying "Have Fun!!!!" Let's hold people accountable. Have a kid? Be prepared to take care of it. Can't? Then you WILL fund that child for the first 18 years of his life - regardless of whether he winds up in foster care. And no, abortion is not an option for being stupid. We'll save that little procedure for rape and health issues. We make it too easy to make mistakes. Maybe if we didn't, the problems would be greatly reduced in number. Maybe. And you're right about the other - we can't tax the tax base enough to carry this current level of spending. But the liberals are right, it's definitely an income problem, not a spending problem. God help me....
Bob Chadwick March 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I'm a little late coming to this discussion but just wanted to mention that the true cost of Obamacare has just been announced at $1.7 trillion and expected to go up at least another $250 billion. The biggest problem with this plan was that 10 years of reveune was compated to 6, or was it 7 years, of cost.


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