Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AB Grades The First 58 Days Of The Obama Presidency.

Last week, when Obama hit his 50th day, all the media outlets were abuzz with some mid-mid-midterm assessment. I suppose this was significant because it was the midpoint of his first 100 days in office. But even the first 100 days make no sense. Why something so random and arbitrary?

Nevertheless, if it works for them, it works for me. I'll choose an even more random number (58 days) since I'm just unpredictable like that. He's my grade on the various aspects of the Obama Presidency to date.

The Stimulus Package - Lets face it, dude had little choice but to spend some dough to get us out of our current fiscal dilemma. I am thoroughly convinced that most of the money will save jobs and prevent us from going further in the hole. I am also thoroughly convinced that most of the money will be misappropriated, resulting in a major scandal sometime next year, because there isn't nearly enough fiscal oversight. I'm disappointed that he didn't assert himself more and allowed the GOP to eliminate money that was badly needed for schools in favor of tax breaks on cars and houses that nobody can afford so long as they don't have a job. The other thing that thoroughly pisses me off is that no provision was added to ensure that all those shovel-ready projects are given to blue blooded Americans. I have nothing against illegal aliens, but if we're trying to rescue our economy, giving gigs to folks who'll send most of that money South of the Border is a bad look. Overall Grade - B Minus

Earmarks - Lets face it, Obama knew full and damn well he wasn't going to stop wasteful earmarks from getting inserted in his first budget. Earmarks aren't evil, they are how sh*t gets done at a local level. Earmarks are paying for the new showcase library that is about to open in my city next year. Earmarks are paying for the superhighway being constructed in my county that will cut my commute in half very soon. Earmarks fund the kick-a$$ community center at which kids will someday take karate lessons. They (like everything) are only bad when they're misused. But Obama got caught up in trying to match John McCain's sole redeeming value on the campaign trail and put himself in a trick bag. Now, when 9,000 earmarks (40% of which went to Republicans!) pass, Barry looks like a moron. Overall Grade - D

National Security - Dude followed thru on his promise to draw down the troops in Iraq, and ramp up the crew in Afghanistan. And we haven't been attacked yet. Overall Grade - A

Kool Aid - Not nearly as sweet as it once was. Thankfully, I'm not a drinker. Overall Grade - B

The Market - This one pisses me off the most. Obama is inheriting two wars and an economy that's effed the eff up. He deserves more time before folks write him off. The dotcom sector imploded in Clinton's final year in office. People (yours truly included) gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt and time to put his plans (stimulus checks and tax cuts) in motion before passing judgement. Obama, who inherited a stock market that's been in a similar nosedive the past year after a housing market that went bust, deserves the same grace period. Besides, would you rather have an economy that gradually improves over time based on actual earnings from companies that are properly regulated, or another explosion of some sector that's bound to eventually fizzle and put us back in the same predicament in another 5 years? So please, cut the man some freakin' slack. Until people are working again, and buying stuff again, and companies are making money again, you can't expect any real improvement in the market. That won't happen overnight. If you are worried about your 401k, cash that joker out and park some money in a CD. Overall Grade - Incomplete

Communication - I personally like Obama's style of communication. He usually doesn't let stuff go unchecked. He tells it like it is. Pick at the teleprompter all you want, but the guy gets the point across. Get off his nutsack, already! I didn't care for his explanation about the earmarks, but by admitting he screwed up on his early Cabinet appointments shows me he's somewhat accountable. That's all I ask. On the other hand, he misses the A+ because of that Robert Gibbs character. More on that tomorrow.Overall Grade - A

Bailouts - I personally liked the idea of capping salaries for institutions accepting gubb'ment money. Banks did indeed screw things up with their own greed, but unlike the other folks lining up for Corporate Welfare (ie: Detroit), we all depend on banks and credit. This is a lose-lose proposition. You have to keep these folks afloat or it's going to cost you. And lets not forget which administration started doling out the first series of Independence Cards last year. Overall Grade - B

Pimp Hand - While I liked the fact that Obama C.H.I.N. early on and set those idiots from CitiGroup straight about that corporate jet purchase, I'm a bit concerned that he hasn't really laid the smackdown more thoroughly on this AIG mess. I suppose he can't really do so since AIG is well within their legal rights to award those bonuses, but he loses some populism points as a result. He also needs to keep Pelosi and Reid in check. I suppose it's possible that he's just feeling the waters first, before having to publicly (or privately) check some fools. We'll see. Overall Grade - B Minus

Cabinet Level Appointees - Ya'll already know how I feel about this. I am still pretty pissed that dude has virtually no brothas on the team. What the hell is this, the 62' Celtics? The fact that nearly everyone is a cronie getting payback for some prior favor is hardly "change". The total incompetence of those doing the vetting (sorry, Valerie Jarrett fans) is reprehensible. I should quit before I get myself worked up. Overall Grade - C Minus

Gitmo - He did what he said he'd do. Overall Grade - A

Healthcare - I'm admittedly not too keen on this whole nationalized healthcare kick, but then again, that's easy for me to say because I can afford healthcare. This is a huge expenditure to get things started. I have no idea how this will pan out, but I'd rather not find out the hard way. Overall Grade - Incomplete.

Education - I'm not convinced that Arne Duncan's plan is a huge departure from the dreaded NCLB legislation. I know education isn't too far up the list of priorities right now, but I'll wait and see. Not feeling too good at the moment though. Overall Grade - C

Stim Cell Research - I happen to agree with using stem cells for research. I will fully admit that I don't know the origin of these embyos being used, but I am guessing these are leftovers from IVF and similar fertility treatments. I'm also assuming that the parents of these embryos are consenting to turn them over, and that they've made the decision that they don't want to use them. Cord blood is already being used for similar research. This level of research could lead to the cure for cancer and other life threatening diseases in the future. Who would be against such a thing, especially if the people who made the embyros are in agreement? Without getting too far down a slippery moral slope, let's just say I'm on board with this decision. Overall Grade - A

Presidential Swagger - As much as I hate this freakin' term and wish it would die like Harold Ford's career, it is important that a President look and act the part. If you don't have this, you are gonna have a hard time commanding the attention and gravitas that the office deserves. Carter didn't have it. Reagan did. Bush Sr. was sorely lacking. Clinton and Bush Jr. had it in droves. McCain definitely didn't have it. I'd say Barry has it. Overall Grade - A

Overall Assessment Of Obama's First 58 Days - B Minus

Question: How do you grade Obama's first 2 months in office? Is the mere thought of judging someone's performance hardly 1/25th into their time in office patently absurd?

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