Recent polls indicate that most Americans are not impressed by the presidency of Barack Obama.In some polls he now ranks as the least competent American president since the end of World War II. Naturally, the Republican party and Fox News and those who hate the very thought of someone with dark skin as our president will applaud this view. This blog has frequently been critical of the performance of our president, but is he the worst since 1945 is an interesting question? If he is, we should examine what he did or did not do.
1. A president is the national spokesperson of the nation. Every great president was able to communicate ideas to the public. On this point, He has never explained anything that he does. Even today, most Americans still do not know the meaning of his Affordable Care Act. Ironically, when Americans are polled on specific pieces of the act, they agree with it. Given this discrepancy, the rating must be–D.
2. He inherited a mess in Iraq. In fairness he did what had to be done in Iraq–leaving. However, again, there was no clear statement about why we did not sign any agreement with the Iraq government. To this day, few Americans know it was refusal on the part of the Iraq government to allow American soldiers to be tried in military courts that ended our presence. Why the secret? Tell it to the American people. If America was leaving Iraq, then what was to be our policy in the Middle East? He never offered one. Rating: D-
3. Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu constantly refused to compromise with Palestinian leader President Abbas. After the victory in 2008, the new president had about one year to compel Netanyahu to engage in peace talks. He hesitated, he refused to get tough. Sending former President Bill Clinton to the Middle East with the power to get tough with Netanyahu and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority might have gotten results. Perhaps not, but it was worth a try. Rating: C
4. Republicans were out to get him from day one of his administration. In 2009, he had a majority in both houses of Congress. He never learned the lesson of Franklin Roosevelt that the initial 100 days was the time to push through laws. He never learned the importance of co-opting Republicans. For example, asking Senator John McCain to be his representative in Afghanistan by heading a study group to come up with future policy. Meeting each and every member of Congress in a private session by the end of 2009. Would it have changed Republicans? Most probably not, but it was worth a gamble. Rating C-.
5. Obama remains the most aloof president in recent times. He has the worst record for press conferences of any American president since WWII. He never learned the importance of the press conference. Each press conference means that day, the president controls the news. He did not reach out to reporters, he stood away from them. He did not use the press conference to speak with Americans in clear terms. Rating: D.
So, how do we rate Obama? Definitely, not among the top presidents since WWII. Most probably a C one.