What a year it's been for President Obama. He started the year on a high and has ended it, without question, on a low.
I believe he gave himself a B+ for his first year in office. A little high I would say. I don't know what grade his opponents have given him since he took over but I'm sure it's lower than a B+.
I don't think Obama's done a terrible job but he has made mistakes. Here is how I break down his first year.
He gets a minus for not tackling the most pressing issue facing the United States. That's the price of energy. I have an uber, ultra-conservative friend and we enjoy debating just about everything, but we both agree on one thing. The price of gas is too high.
No matter what kind of tax cuts are given as incentives for small businesses or how many billions of dollars are pumped into the economy as stimulus money, as long as energy prices stay high there will be no recovery.
Let me say that again. As long as gas prices stay high, THERE WILL BE NO RECOVERY!
Why is that so hard for the sheeple to understand? I have to give a shout out to Michael Savage for introducing that word to me. He uses it to describe liberals but I think it best describes Americans.
Look back at the last six years and ask yourself what has changed. Is it the price of milk? Is it the price of food? Is it rent or mortgage payments?
No, it's the price of gas. That's really the only thing that has changed. As my friend explains it, he has to pay approximately $75 more a week in gas since the days when a gallon was a $1.25. That's $300 a month extra going into his gas tank. There are no other changes. He still drives approximately the same amount of miles, still drives the same speed limit.
But that's $300 a month that he now can't spend at McDonalds or the movies or the book store.
I give Obama a plus for his efforts to step up the action in Afghanistan to finally get the job done. But his refusal to force the Afghani president to reign in corruption and fight the opium trafficking are huge minuses.
Without going after these two things I see no point in staying in Afghanistan.
Trying to give every American the opportunity for affordable health care is a good thing and has to be considered a plus for Obama. I don't have the answers on how to do this but if a person doesn't have insurance the cost of health care is ridiculous and in my opinion, criminal.
But a bad plan shouldn't be forced on people. Deals shouldn't be made with certain states to get support. It's either good or it's bad. If it's good, let's pass it. If it's bad, let's start over and come up with something that is good.
The spending that has the Republicans in an uproar is a wash. I find it amusing that Republicans sat back and watched Bush spend us into oblivion and then complain when Obama uses the same tools to try to fight the recession.
If anyone thinks McCain/Palin wouldn't have had these stimulus packages, you are fooling yourself. It was Bush that bailed out Wall Street. He would have bailed out the car companies too, but rightfully decided to let the incoming president take care of that. Sure, Republicans would have structured the bailout to the car companies in favor of the companies and not the unions, but it still would have happened.
So that's a wash to me.
I remember the promises Obama made on the campaign trail. He promised transparency! Remember that one. He promised an end to pork! That was a good one, too.
I guess my biggest disappointment in Obama was when I realized he is just another politician. They all talk a good game but once they get where they want to be, it's just business as usual.
I give him a C- for his first year and I'm being generous there. I hope that in the next three years he can raise that to the B+ he thinks he deserves.
- Corey Russell can be contacted at
509-837-4500, or email