Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama so far

President Obama has been is office one month today. On the one hand it seems completely unfair to judge him after such a short time period. But on the other, let’s be honest, we judge everybody pretty much all the time – can’t help it – it’s what people do. Having posed the question, I shall answer it as well, based on three main areas.

The Team: By-and-large he has appointed high quality people and he did it very quickly compared to previous administrations, but I remain disappointed that Geithner and Daschle made it through the ethical screen. But, hey, it’s Washington. Grade: B

The Plan. The economic recovery legislation could end up an A or an F; only time will tell. He deserves credit for getting it done quickly, but way too much control was given to the Pelosi-Reid crowd, and it smells to me more like a pork barrel than a focused economic tool. (Does anyone think a mag-lev train running between Disneyland and Las Vegas is critical economic priority?) It’s an enormous amount of money, but I fear it isn’t enough, or the right kind of stuff, to really make a difference. I also believe the big banks should be nationalized and dozens of senior people should be fired. The mortgage relief plan is hard to like. As Dennis Miller said on Leno last night, “We gotta help the helpless, but the clueless – I don’t give a rat’s ass about.” I hope with all my heart I’m wrong on this package, but…Grade: D.

Politics. Here again, I’ve been disappointed. He should have been tougher on Congress and on the bankers. Our problems were caused by too many people to make it possible to ever point an accurate finger of blame. But it would do a lot for the general morale to fire a few millionaire business-criminals and to publically humiliate a few political hacks. A little demagoguery isn’t so bad if it is used strategically.

Obama has also spent too much effort scaring the public in an effort to build support for his economic plans. Given the state of things I don’t believe many needed it; they know things are bad. We need the President to be the guy who inspires us to believe we can overcome these problems and be great again. Grade: C-

Overall: C- , but this student shows promise and there is a long way to go before school lets out.
Let’s hear your grade, but please, no “Incompletes.” If you aren’t willing to stick your neck out just go watch TV.


Birdman said...

The team I give a C+. Geithner looks like complete work in progress. We need a grown up in this job. Treasury, at this point, is the most important cabinet position and there had to have been a better choice than the "boy wonder".

I have no idea about the plan. I'll give him a C and let him continue to work.

I have a better view of his political job. In retrospect thought it was a good idea to have the bill start in the house and get debated in the congress rather than having the president negotiate with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. Repblicans weren't going to vote for this anyway so there wasn't any point in raising these two to level of the president and thus reduce Obama's stature while raising theirs. Much of the stuff objectionable to Republicans was removed in the back and forth in congress but they still didn't vote for it. I give Obama at least a B for the politics.

Woody said...

I am giving him more time but my grade at this point would be a C. He appears to be much better at politics than policy. Maybe he will grow into the job. Today Bill Clinton advised Obama to be more optimistic about the economy. Good advice.

kgwhit said...

Geithner strikes me as a lost little boy...I give him a D for the twerp who doesn't pay his taxes.
I cannot rate the plan...talking heads say there is a lot of pork but damned if I know. If the train from LA to Vegas employees as many Irish and Chinese as the transcontinental railroad did, then it will be a success. Keeps the Irish out of the bars and the Asian kids out of Universities. So I give him an incomplete on the plan.
He is someone whose first instinct is to reach a consensus and that is what he tried to do with the stimulus. The GOP is playing the politics of old. If Obama is correct, that people are tired of that, then he is playing this the correct way. If the politics of the last 30 years still works, then he is going to have to jettison the bipartisan rhetoric. He has to give it a chance because he was, in part, elected on the premise that he'd do it different. I give him a B+ on politics.

jb said...

We need a President to say it is OK to go to Lowes or Home Depot or JC Penney's or Sears or your local neighborhood.

The talking heads on TV have completely scared the american public.

and we have bought it.

hankster said...

The plane isn't even out of the hanger: it's too soon to tell if or how well it will fly.

There is only so much political capital. The President might just be holding his high cards, finding the emerging situations workable.

Consider all spending to be pork to some interest. It all depends on how you look at items. Ham and eggs are viewed differently by chickens and pigs.

As to perception. The economy is a pile of garbage. I wouldn't feel comfortable with" mission accomplished." There is no positive certainty. Thus the markets are throwing hissy fits. A smile might be an umbrella to some. But only people who don't mind getting wet.

Too many variables to give a score right now.

warrenout said...

I thought he looked more like Chesterfield.I know they won't show his soft hands ,that wouldn't play well with the leader of the workers party.I'm waiting to see/hear something other than badmouth.The last thing I was looking for was miles to go before I sleep after suffering through my winter of discontent.

DMJ said...

First of all, "I dunno"
Secondly, one month is too soon. Given the lack of confidence exuded by the administration, a C- overall. If this performance continues until day 100, it would be a solid D and 6 months, an F.
I wish he would be positive in his speeches. A little salesmanship and boosterism can go a long way.
And keep Geithner and Summers in the closet. As for Pannetta, the nation would be better served if he stuck to protecting the Monterey Marine Sanctuary. Everyone loves Sea Otters.

Woody said...

Have you noticed the change in Obama's job creation figures? Initially he said his plan would create 4 million jobs. After the stimulus cost was reduced he dropped the figure to 3.5 million. Now he is counting jobs that are created AND SAVED. How will he determine what jobs were saved? I think it is a safe bet that Obama's plan will meet his job goals. Now that is creative accounting "Chicago style".

Birdman said...

He's always said created or saved. From the start. The number has shrunk from 4 to 3.5 but so did the numbes in the stimulus. I know changing goals based on existing facts is a novelty in Washington but let's not condemn the man for it.

Woody said...

George Will commented on Obama's job creation figures in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post on 12/4/08. Initially he spoke of creating 2.5 million jobs but changed it to include saved jobs 3 days later.