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NOVEMBER 16, 2009   

Obama so far: pass or fail?

As President-elect Obama became President Obama, the news seems to have gotten more negative. Certainly to be expected from the Republicans and their ilk, but I'm often surprised by liberal/left commentators who seem to focus on his shortcomings and ignore his accomplishments. A couple of times I tried to respond with a list of good things he's done but my list is usually pretty short.

Dr. Robert Watson, Coordinator of American Studies at Lynn University put together a list of 90 items. Here are my Top Ten, chosen from Dr. Watson's article, A Grade for Obama.

1. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq;

2. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants...) after years of neglect;

3. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out;

4. $789 billion economic stimulus plan;

5. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards;

6. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols;

7. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions;

8. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy;

9. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production;

10. Attempting to reform the nation's healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more underinsured.

Try this yourself: look at Watson's entire list of 90 items and pick ten that matter the most to you. It may be harder than you expect. While the results of many initiatives are still in question, Mr. Obama has tackled a lot of issues, including reversing many of the worst decisions of the Bush/Cheney era.

As of November 16, 2009 polls seem to indicate that the public may be starting to see this, as shown by a slight upward trend in the President's job approval rating.

Note: the chart from Pollster.com is "live" on the Internet, so what you see today may differ from what I saw on 11/16/09.

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