Both conservative and liberal pundits give Barack Obama lower marks than the B-plus the president gave himself

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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If Democratic strategist Donna Brazile were a teacher grading Barack Obama’s first year in office, she’d give him a B — half a grade lower than what the president recently awarded himself.

Brazile said she’d like to see Obama “use a little bit more of his political capital to really force Congress to do something about jobs and to spend less time worrying about his approval ratings.”

The discussion Sunday on ABC’s public affairs show This Week on how to evaluate Obama’s first year in office was prefaced with a clip of Obama telling Oprah Winfrey he would give himself a B-plus grade.

“And I’m liberal and I grade on a curve,” Brazile said Sunday morning while on the roundtable. “But I would like to see health care pass — I agree with him — I’d like to see our troops come home from Iraq, I would like to see our plan in Afghanistan work so that our troops can come home.”

But Tucker Carlson, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, told ABC senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, who was hosting the show, that he would award the president a D grade because of “a level of political ineptitude I did not expect” from Obama.

“From day one, from the first day of legislation — the stimulus — he has shown much less cleverness than his campaign showed in 2008. Letting that Congress write that legislation was a rookie mistake and that’s been followed by a series of rookie mistakes,” Carlson said.

Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation said she would award Obama a B, and noted that there are still a number of actions he needs to tackle with the intensity he had during his presidential campaign — including financial reform and taking on lobbyists.

She was pressed by Tapper who said, “I’m amazed you gave him — with all these things you want him to do — I’m surprised you gave him a B.”  Vanden Heuvel responded that she believes Obama has still has the potential to have a successful presidency.

“If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive he would march on this White House because he would say, ‘Don’t escalate the war in Afghanistan, get on the side of working people,’ because if you don’t, you’re going to undermine the reform agenda and the possibilities of a great presidency.”

Conservative columnist George Will said he’d give Obama a B-minus.

“In his anti-terrorism policy, he has essentially extended the Bush policy,” Will said. “And in domestic policy he has done in one year what it took Lyndon Johnson two years to do between 1965 and 66, which is revitalize the Republican party.”