Field of Science

Obama's First Semester Grades

Obama completed 100 days in office and while 100 is a nice round number it doesnt have much significance as a time frame. A semester represents ~110 days depending on the year, state, school, etc. In a semester, there is the understanding that a significant body of material can be mastered (albeit, in my experience the material is often flushed down the toilet after the final).

Now President Obama is taking a full credit load. Using the issues posted on his website we have 22 courses! So lets grade each course and see how he's doing:

Civil Rights I Incomplete

Defense I Incomplete

Disabilities I Incomplete

Economy C Well we gave a lot of money to the ultrarich people, and gave a lot of nice words to everyone else. Its early so I won't be cynical yet, but call me skeptical. Credit card reform is in full swing and the auto industries have been dealt with fairly strongly. Also Obama has identified "science" as a major economic resource and begun to re-fund it.

Education B Not much has been done definitively but he has really pushed forward ideas for strong education and training as well as continuing education. He has noted the costs of education and he made some strides to begin addressing finances.

Energy & Environment B Words only to date, but he is generally putting great people in positions to give good advice.

Ethics D He has said some great things and then completely about-faced in practice. The idea of preventing lobbyists from working in the administration is reasonable but has been contradicted numerous times (Daschle for one). However, I do think the policy that prevents people in the administration from becoming a lobbyist for a significant time period (18 months iirc) after leaving is more important. Its too early to see if this will be enforced, but the backpeddling on the hiring lobbyist does not instill confidence. (Also, I would suggest that it is probably next to impossible in some instances to get top notched experts that are free from all lobbying, but I didn't make the ethics statement, Obama did.) Finally, this grade reflects the fact that Bush was as unethical as it gets and Obama basically rode that wagon, therefore expectations for Obama are high. 

Family C I waffled on a D. Obama is keeping the faith-based stealing of tax dollars started under the previous administration. Since some of the organizations getting this money are not big on "Family" unless they get to define all aspects of said family, I think this is detrimental. However, he has spoken specifically to parents to be involved in their children's lives and is setting an example with his own children by at least making some time for them.

Fiscal Responsibility D Basically allowed the unscrupulous to abuse the gullible (pretty much the GOP platform, that and no sex). So while the gullible are being forced to learn some responsibility (and rightly so), the unscrupulous are learning that its AOK to screw people over.

Foreign Policy I Meh, too early to tell. On the right path to regaining some respect in the world, but this will take some time. Let's see how the first major conflicts are dealt with (Iran or North Korea being likely sites of political conflict).

Health Care B Still all talk, but getting his ducks in row. Daschle was not a big plus here.

Homeland Security I Too early to tell, has reversed course on many promises regarding full disclosure, but has kept some. Much to Cheney's disappointment, no US cities in flames since the election.

Immigration I Not much happening on the front as far as I can tell.

Poverty B Tentative grade, giving big kudos towards tackling the credit card industry.

Rural I Not sure if Obama wants to urbanize rural areas or bring rurality(?) to urban centers.

Seniors & Social Security I Nothing to mention at the moment.
Service B Talks well about service and education (as a way to contribute to society). Michelle Bachmann is not a fan......of either.

Taxes I Basically not much to talk about yet.

Technology B Putting money into science, which directly leads to new technology. That's all good.

Urban Policy I See "Rural" above

Veterans Not much happening, but seems to see veterans a people not grist that fell out of the grindmill before they could fulfill their destiny as righteous matyrs to the lord American heroes.

Women  C Is putting many outstanding women in key positions in his administration. Always room for improvement.

Additional Issues I ???

So, giving a 1.0 for a D, 2.0 for a C, 3.0 for a B, and a 4.0 for an A and not counting incompletes I give the administration a grade pint average of 2.36 for the first semester, a good solid C approaching C+ range. I am not a fan of grade inflation so a C to me is considered a good starting spot. Also, this is not "average" in the sense that this is what an average citizen can accomplish, this is average from what we should expect from the president of the US. 

This is not bad, its average 


ABE said...

This is not bad, its average.Given recent presidential report cards, however, a "strong C" is a pretty bloody good improvement....

The number of incompletes is less than ideal, but perhaps some of these (Veterans Affairs, for example) are basically "course audits": a 22-class course load is a bit insane.

"Who turned off the shaker?" said...

Not to disregard your well thought out grading scale and commentary which I did enjoy reading and even agree with on many points...but in my long journey through school I've determined that most grades I’ve received don't really reflect my actual aptitude for the subject...just my ability to determine what the grader wants to hear/read. I've not known a damn thing and gotten an A, and vice versa known and understood quite a bit and ended up with a C. Too bad Obama doesn’t know you personally or he may have done much better…

Hence I'm not a fan of arbitrary grading scales (and most are not much more than arbitrary if we’re being honest). I'd rather just go with a yes or no question posed from the view point of the person posing the question. In each of the categories: Are we better off now than before Obama? The answers will differ from person to person just like your grades but I feel like the answers would be easier to interpret.

That's what I think...just don’t like grades…