Obamateurism of the Day

After almost a year in office, Barack Obama gave himself a “good, solid B-plus” for a grade. Many of us at the time wondered exactly what criteria the President used to give out that grade — and whether Obama had benefited from grade inflation, too. Jim Geraghty discovered Obama’s formula for grade assignment, but notes that it still doesn’t add up:

Now, let me tell you why I thought it was so important to run — even though Michelle, she wasn’t so sure. (Laughter.) And why you guys got involved. I just want everybody to remember. We ran because we believed in an economy that didn’t just work for those at the top, but worked for everybody — where prosperity was shared, from the machinist on the line, to the manager on the floor, to the CEO in the boardroom. We ran because we believed our success isn’t just determined by stock prices and corporate profits, but by whether ordinary folks can find a good job that pays for a middle-class life — where they can pay the mortgage, and take care of their kids, and send their kids to college, and save for retirement, and maybe have a little left over to go to a movie and go to dinner once in a while. (Laughter and applause.)

“Find a good job”? Unemployment’s at 9.1% with reduced civilian workforce participation. “Middle-class life” has gotten more expensive, thanks to big increases in gas and food prices. “Pays the mortgage” is a real laugher as foreclosures continue to roll across the US, and we may still have to deal with a collapse in commercial real estate. Jim runs down the rest of the claims, and comes up with a grade somewhat short of “a good, solid B-plus.”

Seriously — “finds a good job” and “pays the mortgage” in this market as grounds to claim success? It’s time to start that daily economic briefing again.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!