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Obama: the 100 days grade

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Robin Lustig | 12:54 UK time, Sunday, 26 April 2009

If you were giving Barack Obama a grade for his first 100 days in office, what would it be? Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations gives him an A+; Dan Twining of the German Marshall Fund of the United States no more than a bare Pass.

Foreign Policy has asked 35 Washington-based foreign affairs pundits for their assessments: the President ends up with 11 As, 16 Bs, 7 Cs, and a D.

Now it's your turn. Grades, and reasons please ...


  • 1. At 3:46pm on 26 Apr 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    Only the media and hard-core politicos seem to be obsessed with these 100 days periods, I doubt he has even read all the briefing papers yet - well of course he will have done, before he was even sworn-in, but you know what I'm getting at...

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  • 2. At 7:15pm on 26 Apr 2009, Glynn Skerratt wrote:

    Has to be better than a 'C'...after Dubya any way up is good. Can't really see where he's put a foot wrong as yet, apart from the usual minor distractions [canine] and slight word malfunctions. Given the legacy, and the expectations, and the anticipations, and the Wingnuts echo chamber so wanting the man to stall early on...I think he's done rather well. A-

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  • 3. At 10:13am on 27 Apr 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:


    100 days refers back to the length of time from Napoleon's escape from Elba until his defeat at Waterloo.

    Apart from that you are right in that pointless numerology for its own sake is a nonsense created by the media for its own sake.

    The facts is that any leader of a country is bound to carry on doing what the previous leader did for a while - it is just too much to expect anyone to change much in a short length of time!

    Here is my rating for Obama: (in no order)

    Economy : C - A bad sense of drift has set in.

    Global Injustice/humanity : B - Cheney is not (yet) in prison for promoting torture, but he has set about dismantling the illegal overseas prisons etc..

    Not being Bush : A+

    USA Heath Service : F - note even started looking at how to do it.

    Israel/Palestine : E - Drift and the continuation of the Bush policy.

    Optimism : B - He (and his new puppy) is a cheery chappy, and not too many misspeaks yet!

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  • 4. At 10:48pm on 27 Apr 2009, MyPhuong wrote:

    I give President Barack Obama 'A' grade because of his effort in promote the investigation about harsh interrogation techniques, that were used in prison under President Bush's terms.

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  • 5. At 04:07am on 28 Apr 2009, marissalc wrote:

    I would give President Obama a "B". He has done a lot in his 100 days; however, he has a lot more to do to make the U.S. a better place to live. I feel like the 100 day mark is not enough time to tell where a president is heading. We can't expect a president to change a country within 100 days. While he has done several things, it will take at least a year to see if what he has done will really make a difference.

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  • 6. At 1:26pm on 28 Apr 2009, davep01 wrote:

    B-, because he's A-grade material but he's not there yet, so needs encouragement.

    A for being cool-headed, honest and seeming to put global realities ahead of ideological fixations.

    E for the rubbish Clinton retreads he's appointed to key posts, and for the pathetic Korean rocket hysteria (but maybe we can put that down to Hillary).

    B for civilised relations so far with Russian & China and openings toward Cuba (grotesquely insufficient, but progress at least) & Venezuela.

    C- for the vaguest suggestion of a modification of unconditional support for Israeli actions, but failure to do anything yet to draw Hamas into a meaningful peace process.

    B- for some grown-up talk on Iran, suggesting the possibility of wider change in Middle East policy if the Administration's serious.

    E for telling the EU to admit Turkey - happens I agree that there's no legitimate reason for exclusion (Turkey has horrible minority policies, but what about Latvia or Croatia?), but it's none of his business.

    Afghanistan? Not applicable: We all know this morass isn't of his making. There's not much he can do but have a surge and then draw down.

    Domestic policy? He'll have to sort out the economic mess bequeathed by his predecessor before he can even have one.

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  • 7. At 2:04pm on 29 Apr 2009, thirdcamp wrote:

    Did I hear Robin Lustig giving Obama grades? I may be mistaken. I hope so because I like the BBC and I would hate to see it go the way of the pundit shows in the US.

    I agree with davep01's grades so won't repeat, except that I would give Obama a lower grade for his policy on Israel - a D for his almost reflexive support of Israel. I have heard no criticism even of the settlements, which I find surprising.
    I would add Phuong's A grade for his willingness to investigate the torture policies of the previous administrations.

    C or lower for appointing Giethner rather than Sheila Bair or someone like her who would probably have simply nationalized the banks and then created strict regulations before turning them back over to the financial community. Hopefully what Obama is doing will work out, but it looks as if it will be much more expensive than a Bair approach, and unnecessarily so, if it works at all.

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  • 8. At 8:20pm on 29 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    Obama appears to have surrounded himself with a number of quite dim, inexperienced and naive people to advise him and help run his administration. This is borne out by major blunders such as the ridiculous gift of an ipod to Gordon Brown and the buzzing of the Statue of Liberty by low flying aircraft without even informing the mayor of New York, leading to great anxiety among those who thought they were about to suffer another 9/11 attack and an indignant reaction from the mayor.

    So I give him a D for that.

    I have noticed that when it comes to Israel he is careful not to criticize any of the country's actions and he certainly steers clear of any identification with fashionable anti-Israel hysteria (which I guess is what thirdcamp above would like to see.) Given the kind of company he kept, like the reverend Wright, I never would have thought Obama would turn out to be a supporter of Israel, but it certainly seems that he is.

    So an A for that.

    Obama appears to have a good grasp of what is at stake in the Middle East conflict and has not pulled his punches in his disapproval of Iran as a supporter and promoter of terrorism and he actually uses the dreaded T-word when speaking of Iran. (The BBC should learn from him and stop tiptoeing so delicately around the T-word when describing terrorists; they are not "militants" or "extremists.") He seems to have moderated his original eagerness to talk to Iran, expressed during his campaign, and will now talk to the Iranians if they "unclench their fist."

    So a B for that.

    An F for his support for abortion.

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  • 9. At 03:53am on 30 Apr 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    On foreign policy, Obama gets an F. If there is something lower like F minus, he gets that. He has compromised the security of the United States and he acts anything but the leader of what is still the richest and most powerful nation in the world and in all history. He is truly repulsive, an utterly incompetent neophyte who is not prepared to be a Senator let alone a President.

    On the economy he gets a D. Not surprising since he hired a man as Secretary of the Treasury who didn't even manage his own income taxes and whose friends are the bankers who bankrupted the US and the world. The economy is not getting better, it's getting worse from what anyone I know can tell. Business is still very slow, even near a dead stop in many sectors. His projects have not gotten money into the right hands to stimulate anything of value. His only explanation is the lame excuse that if he hadn't done what he did, it would be even worse. We could lose our domestic auto industry. Meanwhile he's been as complicit as the Bush administration and Congress in handing vast taxpayer money over to bankers without any really effective control over how it is spent or the willingness to get rid of those who created the financial mess in the first place. He dismissed the incompetent CEO of GM but what about his counterparts in the financial sector. Where are the lawsuits against these banks? Where is the enforcement of Sarbanes Oxley? Why aren't these bankers on their way to jail for having signed off on statements of their financial assets that were complete frauds and fictions. Isn't that what Sarbanes Oxley was supposed to prevent by holding CEOs accountable for the accuracy of their financial statements to their shareholders? His whole stimulus package is a cover to promote the social programs he wanted all along.

    Meanwhile the can of worms he's opened up over waterboarding not only has paralyzed America's national security organizations for who knows how long, it has frightened everyone around the world who cooperated with the US in the war on terror. At the same time he has acted the supplicant to Castro, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad. Today he insulted the government of Pakistan. There could hardly have been a worse choice for America than if Osama bin Laden had selected a president himself. The junket to Europe was as expected completely useless. The factions are champing at the bit waiting for Obama to pull American troops out of Iraq. What will he do if a civil war breaks out shortly after and engulfs the entire Islamic Middle East? What will he do when Iran has an atom bomb? He didn't even try to shoot down the North Korean rocket. What a turkey.

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  • 10. At 8:00pm on 03 May 2009, livingMike_K wrote:

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  • 11. At 8:34pm on 03 May 2009, bridgestech2009 wrote:

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  • 12. At 7:27pm on 05 Nov 2009, Game Sanders wrote:

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