Before the Right jabbers (what about the huge debt, the broken tax pledge, the paucity of overseas accomplishments?), the Left yammers (Guantanamo hasn’t been closed, gays aren’t serving openly in the military, too many policies cater to business interests!), and the media chides (POTUS and party poll numbers are down, Washington is more partisan than ever), look at the two key metrics that underscore Obama’s accomplishments. It is too early to assess the ultimate measure of victory — whether the President’s actions have been prudent and beneficial, domestically and internationally. But by Election Day, 2010, Obama will have soundly achieved many of his chief campaign promises while running a highly competent, scandal-free government. Not bad for a guy whose opponents (in both parties) for the White House suggested he was too green in national life to know how to do the job — and whose presidency began in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis that demanded urgent attention and commanded much of his focus…

Health care’s passage is of course the White House’s signal achievement, accomplished without revealing the administration’s full cognizance (thanks to internal polling and focus groups) of the legislation’s stark unpopularity among the public. But beyond health care, Obama acted decisively to stop the world from going into economic depression, after inheriting a mess from his predecessor. Quibble all you wish about the dimensions of the stimulus law or the administration of the TARP or the Detroit bailout, but the actions taken were professionally handled, apparently necessary, and, so far, constructive. Strikingly underrated by the Washington press corps are Obama’s gains on education policy, including a willingness to confront the education establishment on standards for both teachers and students. Overseas, Obama has snagged an arms reduction deal with Russia, managed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq exactly as he promised, eliminated numerous terrorist leaders through an aggressive targeting operation, and laid the groundwork for dealing with Iran and, perhaps, North Korea.