The other night on the Oprah Winfrey Christmas special, President Barack Obama made an unwise move. When asked what grade he deserves as president, Obama gave himself a B+. Giving himself a grade was not necessarily the best decision, since there are over 300 million Americans who then realized that they should be giving him grades as well.
So, allow me to be the first to provide our president with a grade for his performance. I've been giving grades to college students for the last 16 years, and one thing my students will tell you is that I am fair. My other argument is that I never actually GIVE you a grade; I simply report the grade that you've earned.
1) Handling of the Economy (B-): President Obama is better than John McCain ever could have been when it comes to managing our economic downturn. The problem is that while the president has spiraled our deficit out of control, our nation has yet to see any concrete evidence that the economy's fundamental strength has returned. He has made an enemy out of Wall Street by grandstanding around executive pay issues, but he has lost the backing of Main Street because job losses continue to mount. That's the problem with always reaching across the isle: Sometimes, you don't have firm support on either side of it. The president's inability to translate massive spending into real jobs is going to cost him big time.
2) Management of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (B): On one hand, the president must face the stern reality that you can't just walk out of a war in the middle of it. We all know that Bush got us into these messes, and Obama must get us out. At the same time, Obama pledged to get us out of the wars faster than he is actually doing it, and it is incredibly awkward for a man to accept a Nobel Peace Prize while simultaneously escalating the troop presence in an occupied country. Sure Obama didn't give himself the Nobel Prize, but he still must be held accountable.