President Obamas 60-Day Report Card
By Anne Stanton 3/30/09
Northern Express readers voted President Barack Obama their top choice for Best Person Who Made a Difference in 2008. And, lets be honest, if he can save our country from its deep financial abyss, what word could better describe him than a hero? So hows he doing after 60 days in office? We called people and asked others on the street to grade the president for his efforts so far.
Heres what they said.
Chair of Grand Traverse Democratic Party
I give him 100 percent - hes trying to follow through on his campaign promises. He has a vision for the United States that includes everyone, not just the elite. I think its the right time to address the issue of health care and bring it to a discussion at the national level; its a burden for all working families. Bush wouldnt touch it with a 20-foot pole. Obama isnt afraid to touch these subjects.
Chairman of Grand Traverse County Republican Party
I would cite the economy, the AIG bailouts that he and his treasury secretary authorized, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and his lack of direction of where the detainees will ultimately go. Those are my top three reasons right there.
Charlevoix County Prosecutor
I would give the President a solid B. And that is coming from the vice chair of the Republican Party of Charlevoix. I rate him that high because I feel that his election and enthusiasm has changed the fear mindset somewhat. Public perception and fear of the unknown have dragged the economy down further. I like that he is trying to take away the AIG bonuses -- there should have been more restrictions placed on the companies who receive my money. I possibly could have given him a higher grade if he did not campaign for no earmarks in spending bills/budgets and then ram through the $800 billion stimulus bill within the first 30 days laden with earmarks.
President/CEO of Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan
In his first 60 days, President Obama has clearly shown that he is committed to protecting and strengthening the health and well-being of women and families. Hes done that by actions hes taken, including repealing the global gag rule, lifting the eight-year stranglehold on womens access to health across the world. Expanding access to family planning is not only good, basic health care it also saves lives. One in 10 women in some parts of Africa dies in childbirth.
Retail executive for Sprint
He needs to put more enforcement in the bail-out money instead of just throwing it out there. He gave all this money to companies and all of a sudden, they are spending it for million-dollar bonuses or throwing these huge, private parties. I dont think its fair for these companies to be paying these huge bonuses. He needs to control this a lot more.
I think hes got a plan that will work. You know, the trickle down theory just didnt work. So I feel Obamas bailout, hopefully, will stabilize the banks. What people have to remember is we were bailing out the banks before Obama took office.
President of the FIM Group
I think hes doing a remarkable job. But people like to second-guess everything, and that includes politics. The truth is, he didnt invent the FDIC, he didnt start the bailout of AIG, and the bailout of Freddie Mac; he was handed the keys. What do you do? When he took office, we already had $550 billion of sunk costs. Should we just walk away from that and let those companies fail?
If he were a Republican, Rush Limbaugh would think hed done a remarkable job. If you look at the people disagreeing, its on very partisan lines. He has very, very smart people who are advising him. He gets to see the whole playing field; anyone sitting in the armchair judging him this way or that doesnt have the same, big picture There is no simple answer to fixing the global economy. Hes hes taking advantage of the momentum he has right now; in six months, the country will be way more politicized, so hes taking strong action now.
I dont agree with the stimulus package. I think its outrageous spending right now. I think it will hurt us more in the long run.
International rep for the UAW Region 1-D
Of course, Im a Democrat, but I believe hes got an uphill battle with the Congress and everything else. Hes out talking and selling his program to all the people. Hes getting out in front, hes energized the White House so much. I just think hes awesome, and hes really, really trying to do the right things. I think all the energy hes putting into this with his brilliance and speaking ability is right on the money. Its exactly what we need to try to get this nation turned around. Bush just tore us down so bad on everything.
State Representative Wayne Schmidt
What concerns me is the amount of debt our country is racking up without any idea of what the end result will be, trillions of dollars; I havent seen anything that is new or different from him yet. Its many of the same problemsthrow money at itand the lack of transparency. Its very concerning. And several of the people hes nominated are the same people previous administrations, Republican and Democrats, have had with the same problems. Its the debt that scares me. We needed a stimulus program; he gets marks for that, but the way its being handled and such, he does not get high marks.
Formerly a writer , but now on disability due to multiple sclerosis
Well, all I care about quite frankly, is the stem cell research being back in play. I am doing fricking back flips over our boy Obama. I cant walk to the mailbox, but I can do a back flip. Bottom line, Im still mad at Bush for losing eight years of research, eight years of my life. Theres a selective morality here400,000 embryos exist that are going to be destroyed or frozen indefinitely. These embryos are purposefully created in a test tube, knowing most of them will die or go into cold storage. So use them to cure a bunch of ills. To cure me! If we had a cure for M.S., it would be huge. A lot of other diseases too. This is just huge.
President of Grand Traverse Area Right
Id have to give him an F on the life issues. Hes definitely not in line with what we believe. I think the stem call reversal really concerns us a great deal. If he looked at the issue closer, the adult stem cell research is far more promising and has actually brought about more cures, whereas the embryonic stem cell research has a big fat zero behind it. We are talking about human life at its earliest stages; it is still human life. Thats a real concern to us. Its a slippery slope. Theres a new program called Snowflake Babies where (frozen) embryos are adopted out. I cant say how many or not, but (using embryos that would otherwise be discarded) doesnt make it right; it doesnt justify what theyre doing.
Owner of Martin Company Realtor in Glen Arbor
I think hes doing a great job. I dont expect things to change over night. The housing market is at a standstill, so the question is what will break that loose? Theyre talking about a huge tax credit for first time homebuyers, and I think thats a very positive thing. Its that part of the market that needs help. I think its time we do some things for people who are not in the upper five percent of the earning bracket. Weve gotta take care of the people who are doing the work everyday. The middle class people have to be helped, and I think Obama understands that.
Gail Gruenwald, Executive Director of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
On Great Lakes issues he gets an A, and thats for beginning the process to fully fund federal commitments to protect and restore the Great Lakes. That means things like funding the Asian Carp barrier near Chicago, to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. It means wetlands restoration within the Great Lakes basin. It means supporting funding for waste water treatment plants and storm water facilities, which keeps pollutants from entering the Great Lakes. Hes also supportive of regulating ballast water that comes in on freighters. Because of his residency in the Great Lakes basin for so many years, he cares passionately about the Great Lakes.
Editor of the Traverse City Record-Eagle
I think filling his cabinet and the administrative jobs has really set him back, and has pulled a lot of his focus off maybe more important things. Its been a struggle for him to get people in place. The good thing, the positive side of that, is I think it indicates there is change; people who had some issues previously would have just been seated, and I think people are viewing it differently now and not necessarily going with the status quo in terms of public service.
Chair of Charlevoix County Republican Party
In my opinion, the most important job of the President is to be the Leader (capital L) of the country. I grade a leader on their ability to inspire. President Obama has not yet achieved his potential in this area.
If President Obama was more inspirational, both Democrats and Republicans in Washington would begin to work together in a manner that the vast majority of voters were looking for in this last election. To be considered for a high grade, President Obama needs to inspire and lead Congress beyond the current blame game mentality. The economy is falling off a cliff and it seems little has changed in the way narrow parochial interests drive the legislative process.
Sorry, Mr. President. I know you will be disappointed with your grade of C. My advice would be to study President Reagans speeches, focus on communicating the big picture, and you will become a better leader.
Sells manufactured homes for Sun Communities
Hes inherited an extreme amount of problems that occurred before he took office. There hasnt been a day he hasnt tried to make a change and help. I think hes doing a great job.
Its taking too long to get things done that hed said he was going to do. He hasnt been in office that long, but he hasnt gotten enough done. Hopefully with more time
Retired from Leer Corporation and TC Iron Works
Hes doing the best he can. You cant expect miracles. Bush put us in a hole 10 feet deep; hes gotta dig us out. Thats just the way it is.
Chairman Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC)
I think hes doing great. Attitudes are already changing within the EPA and Corps of Engineers. Theres a whole new attitude shift. Of course, these agencies have always been sprinkled with environmentalists, but theyve been kind of in hiding in all these years, and now theyll have a chance to come out and do some good things. But it will take awhile.