Before assessments of Obama’s presidency were made, Ponce asked each of the panelists their thoughts about Mayor Daley’s decision not to seek re-election. All agreed that whoever replaces Daley has a rough road ahead.
Green said that the race would evolve into a type of “tribal politics” with different ethnic and special interest groups fighting one another for the position.
After spending some time discussing potential candidates for mayor, Ponce asked the group their midterm grade for Obama.
“I’d give him a ‘B’,” Mitchell said. She based her grade on the progress he made with healthcare reform. “It was a difficult thing to do.”
As for the economy, Mitchell said it took over two years for the problems to develop so it will take more than two years to fix.
Other panelists were not as charitable with their assessments of the president’s performance.
Obama received a C plus from Loury. “He came into this position politically to make things happen, but they haven’t happened,” Loury said.
He based his grade partially off of information he received from politifact.com, which tracks all of the 500 plus promises Obama made during his campaign.
“He has kept three fourths of his promises,” Loury said. However, “he has had the opportunity to step in and make things happen and didn’t do it.” Loury cited the BP oil spill as an example of a missed opportunity for the president to act.
Green gave the president two different grades. “I give him a ‘B’ in government performance,” he said. “I give him a ‘D’ in political acumen in office.” He based his grade on the issues Obama has chosen to focus on.
“The number one issue was the economy and jobs, not healthcare,” Green said. Green criticized the president for choosing to focus on healthcare rather than on the more pressing issue of the state of the economy and unemployment.
As for Miller’s assessment of the president’s performance, “I’m not ready to give him a grade. The number of failures Obama has made is enormous.”
Miller cited examples such as Obama going back on his word that he wouldn’t use public financing during his campaign as well as the increases in taxes and new taxes he has implemented since he’s been in office.
Panelists also discussed the media’s “love affair” with the president, especially during his campaign. Mitchell said that the media is overcompensating for its love affair with the president during his campaign by being overly critical of him now. Loury disagreed. “The media is not critical of Obama.”
— — Kristen Thometz
President of the Loyola SPJ chapter