Barack Obama’s Report Card in 2012 Election Campaign

Liz De La Torre

As the 2012 reelection campaign begins, President Barack Obama’s leadership capabilities are truly being tested. With a damaged economy and high unemployment rates, it is no surprise that Americans are now demanding that change be made and voices heard. The question remains as to whether Obama has taken enough initiative to improve the United States’ government and the well-being of its citizens.

Yahoo! News recently published a “report card” for the president, similar to how one would receive a transcript. But these grades do not reflect the attractive promises of the 2008 newly-elected president. Since his inauguration, Obama has faced many challenges, and this report card measures how well the president has addressed these issues.

Political Identity: C. Obama’s plans for the country are still unclear. No one could forget his 2008 campaign slogan “Change,” but what exactly does he want to change? What resources must he utilize to achieve these goals? There seems to be so many important issues facing the country that many are unsure which obstacles Obama will choose to challenge. “Even liberals don’t seem to know precisely where Obama wants to lead them. It’s not a question of goals; it’s a question of guts. Where will he fight?”

Campaign Team: A. Obama’s experienced reelection team shows great promise. They often do not let small disagreements cause division within the campaign; this, ultimately, makes them a strong group, capable of withstanding various political beatings by their GOP opponents.

Leadership: C. In a Gallop Poll conducted from March 25 to March 27, fewer than half of those surveyed believe that Obama can handle the government, reports Yahoo! News. In fact, the number of individuals who see Obama as a leader has steadily declined since his election in 2008. “His advisers will say that Obama wants to fix problems and is a pragmatist, and that external events have made it all but impossible to chart a straight course and follow it.” However, blaming his predecessors will not help Obama become a better leader; smart, calculated, and creative proposals will pave a new path for the Obama administration.

Attributes and Values: A. Americans see Obama as trustworthy and honest; they know that he wants what is best for the country and its people. Being a likable candidate will only increase Obama’s election campaign successes.

Organization: A. Obama’s campaign will be, without question, sufficiently funded. Whether it is from outside sources or volunteerism, Democrats have little to worry about in the financial circuit.

Position Relative to His Opposition: B. The Republicans who plan on running for the 2012 election lack the organization and support clearly evident in Obama’s reelection campaign. “The all-but-declared Republican candidates (Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty) all have significant, if resolvable, flaws.” reports Yahoo! News. Floppy potential candidates such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Donald Trump only weaken the GOP’s already unstable political platform.

Domestic Issues: C. The economy, although improved, remains in an extremely delicate stage. Rising income taxes for the wealthy and high gas prices only enhance the tension felt by many Americans. Not enough, it seems, is being done to address these domestic issues; and “the GOP’s ability to portray Obama as a tax-raiser” only worsens the situation.

Foreign issues: B. Obama receives an average score in this area. Although the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have continued, they are on a much lower scale. espite torn opinions involving U.S. forces in Libya and the continued use of Guantanamo Bay, Obama “promised to repair America’s relationship with the world and raise its standing.” He has succeeded in this area.

Relations with Party Base: B. Views about Obama vary across the political spectrum. While progressive elites believe that Obama no longer values Democratic principles, three-fourths of liberals approve of Obama’s performance as president, according to Yahoo! News. However, a Gallup Poll conducted showed that support of Obama has declined among Latino voters (from 73 percent to 54 percent now), as well as younger voters (ages 18 to 29). These numbers need to be higher, says Yahoo! News. But despite a decrease in support by the Democratic Party, “fewer than two in ten” Democrats wish for a strong challenger against Obama in the upcoming 2012 election.