Grading President Obama: Op-Ed Offers Balanced Critique Of First Term

Democrats are singing President Obama’s praises this week at the Democratic National Convention while the GOP continues to throw his first term record in the gutter, both at the Republican National Convention last week and in critical ads and interviews concurrent with the DNC. Not really surprising to anyone, is it? But still, it begs the question: Who are we to believe?

Nicholas Kristof wrote a fairly impartial op-ed for the New York Times that attempts to grade President Obama’s first term justly, in direct opposition to the exaggerated praise given to the POTUS by the left and the vitriolic criticism spouted by the right. Indeed, Kristof believes that both sides are telling tall tales and being altogether over-dramatic on the president’s record, and grades him on key issues with a balanced approach.

On domestic issues and foreign policy, Kristoff gave President Obama a B+, listing the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” immigration reform, and health care reform among his accomplishments here at home. Overseas, Kristof argues that Obama handled the Iraq pullout and the Libya situation well, but says that the Afghan surge “has accomplished little except a huge increase in blood and treasure spilled.” Also, his Middle East peace effort collapsed thanks in part to “administration infighting and ineptitude.”

On the economy, a crucial campaign issue, Kristof gives President Obama a solid B. “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,” citing the administration’s failure to compromise with capitalists and their inaction to help homeowners.

Finally, Kristof gives Obama an F for communication. You might agree or disagree with his policy, but a president’s 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!” he writes.

What do you think? Do you agree with Kristof’s assessment of Obama’s first term? Is it balanced or is it a tad one-sided? Sound off!