As a former high school teacher, I am a tough grader. No self-esteem business here. Just a fair assessment of what has been accomplished in President Obama's first 100 days in office.
The report card is divided into three subjects: leadership, foreign policy and domestic policy, which is where we will begin.
I give President Obama a B on domestic policy. Faced with a declining economy, the president has stopped the bleeding, at least on the surface. The panic talk has died down, and the stock market has stabilized. The wild card is the spending spree, which could become an even worse problem than the recession if the Obama administration continues to run up massive debt. The country could go into bankruptcy, but that's down the line.
As for today, Mr. Obama has backed away from raising taxes immediately and has moderated his stance on social engineering, so he gets a B.
On foreign policy, the president gets a C. His strategy is clear: try to make the world like America again. The problem is the reason many countries don't like us in the first place. Historically, we hold evil accountable, the old Axis of Evil equation that President Bush defined.
The world is largely cowardly and shortsighted. That's why Iran, North Korea, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the other bad guys are allowed to do so much damage. President Obama spent a lot of time overseas apologizing for America's actions, when we remain the champions of freedom. So while Obama's foreign vision is clear, it may not work. The jury is still out, but while deliberations are underway, the president stands with a C.
Finally, the leadership factor. Most polls show that more than 60 percent of Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing — about the same number as approved of President Bush 100 days into his administration. That is to Mr. Obama's credit.
However, "Talking Points" believes there is some doubt among those supporting the president. His waffling on the interrogation debate was weak. His appointments have generally been left-wing individuals, some of whom are crazy left, like Rosa Brooks in the Defense Department. That kind of ideological play will hurt the nation in the long run.
So the president gets a C+ for leadership. He appears to be in control, but sometimes does not seem to understand the unintended consequences of releasing classified memos and breaking down effective anti-terror policies. The president needs to be more cautious in this life-death area and more forward-looking on national security.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Sports Illustrated cover girl Bar Refaeli, from Israel, is raising money to combat breast cancer. Here's the deal. If you buy her new "little black bikini" for $120, 10 percent will go to Boarding for Breast Cancer, a charity that promotes early detection. The Hurley clothing company is behind this venture. Ms. Refaeli is their spokesmodel, and we think she is also a patriot.
On the pinhead front, I know it isn't fair, but Paris Hilton is once again front and center. TMZ asked her about the swine flu:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TMZ PHOTOGRAPHER: Are you worried about the swine flu, Paris? Have you heard of the swine flu? It's a new flu that's killing a lot of people in Mexico and everything. Are you concerned about that?
PARIS HILTON, SOCIALITE: I don't eat that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
I have no idea what that means, but it sounds vaguely pinhead-y.