Grading Obama

The latest National Journal blogger poll is out, this one grading the Obama presidency after 5 months.

Overall, what grade would you give the White House staff?“   The average grade given by left-leaning bloggers was B-, compared to a C for the right-leaners.  I gave them a “B,” grading on a curve on the grounds that transitions are hard:

They’ve been slow at filling key posts and made some early stumbles on that front. Overall, though, it’s been a reasonably smooth transition without serious policy gaffes.

What grade would you give President Obama’s economic and national security teams?
That’s of course two questions. One economics he got a C+/F and on national security a B-/D from left/right, respectively. Me:

The economic team is muddling through and they’ve made some very unwise calls, notably with Chrysler and GM, that could hurt us for years. The security team has picked up pretty much where the Bush team left off and cleaned up some messes without creating more of their own.

I don’t recall the grades I assigned and they’re not reported. I’d say D on economics and B- or C- on security.

It is, I’d note, a wee bit early for grading.  Five months in, Obama doesn’t even have all his people in place.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tlaloc says:

    Five months in, Obama doesn’t even have all his people in place.

    Which to be fair is not entirely Obama’s fault. Take the example of Bob Groves, who Obama tapped to head the US Census. Despite being imminently qualified, his nomination has been put under a secret hold by a republican senator. There’s not much in that to fault Obama for. Pollster has had a lot on that particular case in part because Groves is evidently extremely well regarded in polling circles.

    one story here.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I think the only possible fair grade at this point is an Incomplete.

  3. Mike says:

    it is hard to fill positions when your first choices have trouble paying their taxes – sorry, i had to say it.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    I give him a big fat ZERO MINUS………13 trillion……

  5. just me says:

    On the economy he fails IMO. To date I haven’t seen any indication of Obama doing something with regard to the economy that makes me have any sort of confidence. If the economy survives Obama it will be in spite of not because of IMO.

    I think it is hard to give him much of a grade on foreign policy. he still seems to be trying to get his sea legs on the issue, and I don’t think he has royally screwed anything up just yet.

    Right now I would give him a C+ or B- in that general area, but with foreign policy I think what makes it hard because for everything we see in the media or touted by the administration or critics of the administration there is tons going on behind the scenes.

  6. DL says:

    Obama report card:

    I’d write the following in the comment section of the report card: (good teachers don’t wait until it’s too late in the school year to contact parents about problem children.)

    Obama doesn’t follow the established class rules, but makes up his own rules, and demands that everyone else follow his rules; including the principal, the superintendent, the entire school board, and myself.

    He is not loyal to his classmate friends, but discards them as soon as he no longer has need for them.

    He hangs around with the most unsavory types.

    He spends a lot of time primping in the boys room and when he returns – he reeks of tobacco.

    He won’t read his history book, always whining that he’s knows better than all that old-fashioned stuff.

    He refuses to do the “Pledge” mumbling something, I can’t repeat on paper, about,

    “God _ _ _ _ America.”

    He insists that he will remake the class better than the failure it has been.

    When he makes a bad mistake, he blames the kid who sat in his last year for scratching the wrong answers in his desktop.

    I suspect, that when he gives a report, he is reading someone else’s words, though he speaks elequently.

    He has been accused of taking money from kids and giving most of it to his close friends, if they promise to support him in class elections

    At sports, during recess, he wants to play the roughest games with the youngest pre-school children, always shouting, “Kill them.”

    He’s destroying the entire class and risking their future, but for reasons beyond me, the rest of the children like him, and just voted him class leader.

    Whenever there is a schoolyard fight, he always takes the side of the bully and never supports the good kids, who are being picked on.

    The main office just called me with concerns about whether he is a legal town resident, and if he is legally qualified to be in this classroom. They also have yet to receive his previous school records.

    We need an immediate change, because I am losing hope. Please call for an immediate conference – give him his Ritalin first!

  7. An Interested Party says:

    re: DL June 20, 2009 09:54

    Awwww…it’s a shame that the subject of that report card is the most popular student in the school who, ultimately, will probably pass anyway, despite the protestations of various disgruntled staff and peers…