Monday, December 14, 2009

Some ideas

President Obama on Oprah gave himself a B+ in grading his first year in office. I read this on Sphere and, of course, they had the typical poll "what grade would you give the president?" and, as usual, since the only people who comment on the internet tend to be complainers and malcontents, it was 41% F, 29% D, the rest scattered in C-A. It so happens that I am grading right today, it being the day before Finals week when I grade the last of my students' homework. Since I teach public speaking, I'd have to give Obama an A. As for being president, I give him an A+ for not being George W. Bush and a B- over all. I think that's fair. He inherited the biggest mess since the great depression--arguably bigger, since FDR didn't inherit any wars. I think he has handled the economy well given the state it was in when he was elected. His two failings lie in how willing he has been to water down health care reform and the escalation of the war in Afganistan--but to be fair, as with gay rights, I knew when I voted for him that he was farther to the right than I on either of those issues. I am also, naturally, bothered by the number of anti-hunters in his administration, but that's to be expected too. Makes me long for Bill Richardson even more.

To me the biggest problems with Obama lies in his inability to get his judicial appointments in. Yes he got Sotomayor on the supreme court, but that's no big deal. He replaced one liberal justice with another and besides, Supreme Court appointments are by publicity moments. Nobody but wonks pays attention to run of the mill federal judge appointments, but these are the ones who make the day to day decisions, and the pool from which the justices will normally be drawn. He needs to get those names over to the senate at a faster rate.


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