Let's Grade Obama's First Term

Nicholas Kristof rates most of his policies a 'B', but an 'F' in explaining them
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2012 12:35 PM CDT
Let's Grade Obama's First Term
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at a campaign event, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, in Windham, N.H., at Windham High School.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Democrats are currently busy praising President Obama to the heavens, while Republicans are heaping scorn upon him. Nicholas Kristof thinks both sides are being over the top, and in today's New York Times, he grades the president thusly:

  • The economyB. When Obama took office, the US economy was careening over a cliff. He reached out a trekking pole and stopped the slide. "Am I better off now than I was when I was sliding toward the abyss? Duh!" Kristof writes. But "the administration blew it with overoptimistic comments that shredded its credibility," it was deaf to crony capitalism complaints, and it did unconscionably little to help struggling homeowners.

  • EducationA-. At long last, Obama got Democrats to make school reform a major priority, and he wasn't afraid to borrow GOP ideas or offend teachers' unions to do it.
  • Other domestic issuesB+. He ended "don't ask, don't tell," took a step towards immigration reform, and, oh yeah, passed health care reform, something Democrats have wanted for decades.
  • Foreign policyB+. Obama got us out of Iraq and handled Libya beautifully, but the Afghan surge "has accomplished little except a huge increase in blood and treasure spilled," and his Middle East peace effort collapsed thanks in part to "administration infighting and ineptitude."
  • CommunicationF. Policy isn't everything; a president's main job is to be a "national team captain. There Obama failed us." Yes, you're supposed to campaign in poetry and govern in prose, "but the prose doesn't have to be chilly Latin!"
Click for Kristof's full column. (More Nicholas Kristof stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.