Your Year-End Grade

As a holiday present to himself, on a TV holiday special with Oprah, President Obama gave himself a first year grade of B+.

This he earned, apparently, by stacking up a sky-high unemployment rate, points higher than the worst case scenario forecasts and assurances he himself made in promoting his stimulus spending spree.

Maybe he earned that grade by allowing an emboldened Iran to openly accelerating nuclear weapons development, hold U.S. hostages and putting them on trial, and even invade Iraq. Or for doing nothing while the Mid-East conflict worsened without even a semblance of a Mid-East peace process.

He might also have gotten his B+ for sitting patiently while China lectured us on fiscal responsibility, then turning around and recklessly multiplying the federal deficit. By utterly failing to honor so many specific campaign promises that, if written on 3x5” cards and laid end to end they would circle the globe. Remember: “No lobbyists creating policy.” “Transparency.” “Health reform negotiations that would be aired on C-Span not behind closed doors.”  

All that, and  he gave himself a B+. Imagine if he had actually accomplished rather than imagined anything positive. A+ wouldn’t be enough.

On that basis, we have other grades to hand out.

To Tiger Woods, a B for fidelity. For Gov. Sanford and Sen. Edwards, A-. 

To Adam Lambert, B+ for subtlety and restraint.

To the Cleveland Browns a duplicate Super Bowl trophy, a declaration that they are co-champions, and an A for effort. Whoever actually wins the Super Bowl will share the honors with the woeful Browns. Better yet, maybe we should stop keeping score in these games altogether and just have a Czar of Good Intentions hand out year-end grades.

To Bernie Madoff, C-.  After all, everything was fine, until it wasn’t.

To ACORN, B for community service. If they hadn’t let their rampant criminality be exposed by amateur hidden-video, they’d get an A. If Obama was as hated by the media as Nixon was, instead of its tarnished, propped up darling, the ACORN scandal would be Watergate. Of course, under the Obama grading system, the media gets an A, not an F, for investigative journalism.

Perhaps the criticism of the president’s B+ is harsh. After all, he did win the Nobel Peace Prize while expanding his war of choice. He has moved forward a health care reform program that includes nothing he promised while campaigning, creates a plethora of instant taxes but delays benefits for years, and threatens destruction of the entire health insurance industry.

He has traveled more, made more speeches, more TV appearances than, I’m confident, any two former presidents combined ever fit into their first year. Nobel Peace Prize?  Seems like he ought to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

So. Don’t settle for your two front teeth or snow on the 25th or some other small gift this year. And despite whatever bad behavior and epic failure you may have been responsible, reject lumps of coal. Go up on the roof and nail a piece of wood over your chimney. Who needs Santa? Give yourself an A+.

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 13 books. More information about Dan can be found at, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at

Like this article? Sign up for “The Balance Sheet,” BMI’s weekly e-mail newsletter.