Sunday, January 10, 2010

#194 Obama's Freshman Year Report Card II

Now, Obama's no FDR, but he will turn in his only "Incomplete" next semester. Even if he gets through Congress a less-than-perfect Health-Care Reform bill, it will get through. He will be the first and only of SEVEN Presidents before him to accomplish that way-overdue feat. His overall grade domestically might then be shaved back a bit, but ending up as a good, solid "A"--and maybe higher, if the White House and the less-troglodytic members of the combined legislatures can come up with some sort of Public-Option "wedge," called by any other name, in the final bill. It's the following heavily-weighted area, however, that brings down his final grade.

II. FOREIGN POLICY 40% of Grade: 1.75 = D-plus.

--The Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan axis of evil. And Graveyard of Empires, including us, if Obama doesn't re-think, quick. Otherwise, this will remain an F-minus-minus constant on the President's record for some semesters to come, I fear ... but there are some ameliorating factors, like below.

--At least he's got a timetable for ultimate withdrawal. Something too sacrilegious to even contemplate for Bush/Cheney and Company.

--Also totally "foreign" to the former administration is Obama's non-military outreach to the troubled and troublesome Muslim world. He's gonna try to get along. Been to Ankara; been to Cairo. To loud acclaim. It just might work. He's charmed the rest of the world already.

--And that's why he won the Nobel Peace Prize ... against all logic, really. But scoring not insignificant points toward his final grade. For, think about it: he's got a silver-platter platform--however willy-nilly it came to him--to talk Peace. (Just as Al Gore is similarly credentialized to talk global warming.) And the far-more-sophisticated-collectively-than-us culture of northern Europe, represented by the furry-fuzzy Scandians, think Obama can achieve it. For them, his re-starting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Talks was a very, very big step.

--For, at heart, Obama is a "community organizer," not a willing War President, in decided contrast to his gun-slinging predecessor. And he wants Us and the World to know it. This student would rather sing "ain't gonna study war no more" than a refrain from "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Despite the horrific AfPak quagmire, he's done some things--somewhat obscured by that war--symptomatic of a changed state of mind in the White House. In a complete reversal of what the last aggressivist/militarist administration would ever think of doing, Obama has

  • Phased-out expensive or outdated, and hence "offensively" self-indulgent Weapons of War, like the F-22 war-plane, and other battlefield systems NOT even used or needed in the Middle-East Wars;
  • Cut funding of the essentially sci-fi, Star-Wars-in-the-Sky Missile "Defense" Program by $1.4 billion for 2010;
  • Ended news blackouts on full information about war casualties, and on coverage of fallen soldiers returned to Dover Air Force Base;
  • Initiated an absolute NO-TORTURE policy, bringing us, about-time-wise, into full compliance with Geneva Convention standards;
And managed to bring this grade component close to a "C"--with only 20% to go. (more)

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