Friday, July 13, 2007

A Bush report card

A teacher rates the president

The current president of the United States is at a low ebb in the political polls. His popularity is now tied with Nixon's lowest rating. It can't be a happy time for the White House. With Republicans edging away from their enormously unpopular leader, where will Mr. Bush find support? He need only look at the letters published in The Bee. Although the newspaper has announced it gets very few letters in favor of the president or his policies, every so often a prime example comes in through the transom.

From the July 9, 2007, Letters to the Bee, there's a presidential report card provided by math teacher Walt Andrews:

Hey, chill, all you Bush critics

June was a good month for W and America if you look at what his presidential responsibilities are.

Lets see: He gets an A for national security, A for the economy, A for employment, A for the War on Terror against al-Qaida, A for terrorists captured, A for terrorist plots uncovered and foiled, B on refugees processed, B+ for the number of airline companies coming out of bankruptcy post 9/11, A+ for historic Dow/S&P highs post 9/11, A+ for the number of first-time homeowners, B- on immigration and, finally, C on picking cabinet members and staff.

Looks like to me he doesn't have anything to be ashamed of—he at least earned his pay last month. That can't be said for a number of the pundits, editorialists and Bee letter writers. Get a grip and a life; George will be gone in January '09 and then we will have plenty of time to pick on the next president and his team.

In the meantime, fly the flag every day, not just on July 4 and Memorial Day, pray for all our combatants, uniformed or not, and enjoy all the benefits and privileges that they and all those who went before them have earned with their blood and sweat.

—Walter Andrews, Folsom

Right after this letter was published, it was reported that al-Qaida had recovered its pre-9/11 strength and was exhibiting greater signs of activity than seen in many years. So much for George's A in the war against bin Laden's terrorist group. An interim report on progress in the war in Iraq could not be spun by the White House into anything better than incremental progress in eight of eighteen benchmarks, none of which was fully met. That A is looking really questionable.

What about that wonderful news concerning first-time homebuyers? That certainly sounds like cause for celebration. That rainbow, however, contains a lot of red. Foreclosure rates hit a 30-month high in May and the new June results show that foreclosures are still running 87% above a year ago, despite a small improvement relative to the previous month. Even if the president were really deserving of an A+ for first-time homebuyers, does it detract from his grade when we consider how many of those new homes end up in foreclosure? I think it does.

When you get right down to it, the bulk of the evidence leads up to an unavoidable conclusion: Walt Andrews, an adjunct professor of mathematics at American River College, is an easy grader.

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