Way to Go, President FAILURE!
Recently, Matt Drudge ran a poll on his vaunted web site posing the question: "can the Obama Presidency be saved?" with an astonishing 70%+ of respondents answering NO. I wish I had taken a quick screenshot of this, as I did back when the same 70%+ of people declared Sarah Palin the winner of the VP debate back in October 2008. Laughable.

Or at least it would be, if the stakes weren't so high. Even Drudge, the paragon of misleading headlines and questionable content, disappeared the poll after a very short period of time, likely because he realized how absurd a contention it is to declare the Obama presidency 'failed' after only 6 months and exactly zero evidence to back such an absurd claim.

The jury is very much out on the Obama presidency, and the issues at hand have not been resolved in any way. The economy is still in a tenuous position. Healthcare will be addressed fully in time, though the final outcome is far from clear and not guaranteed to be a 'home run.' Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan/India, North Korea, Iran, Palestine, China, South America, Cuba, and Russia are all foreign affairs issues in flux, and our directions in these affairs has barely been fleshed out, let alone the policies and consequences that will come to pass.

The issues are multitudinous, and overwhelming: don't ask don't tell, housing and credit, the stock market, prisoner abuse scandals, the environment, education....

Terrorism and global strife hang over everything like a wet blanket on fire. Obama has not been perfect, by any means. But as he returns from his first week of vacation, let us consider his successes.

His first Supreme Court nomination, despite minor hiccups, is now a Supreme Court Justice, and revealed him to be a pragmatic decision maker whose selection was based on experience, jurisprudence, and a desire to recognize, substantively, the growing diversity of the country he governs. Harriet Myers she is not.

Now, it is unfair to compare Obama's actions against those of his predecessor, in that Mr. Bush governed at a different time, with a different mission and mandate. That is no excuse for him, generally (though sometimes it is), but to lambast Mr. Bush at every turn is unproductive, even when it is so easy. Quickly: we no longer torture prisoners with no regard to global convention... there are other fair examples of comparison, but to me, that single object is enough to catapult the current administration above the previous.

That being said, unlike my friends towards the left, I am not thrilled to see CIA 'torture' investigations move forward. These investigations are somewhat of a waste of political capital and set a dangerous precedent. That being said, two things: I think that Obama and Holder are moving forward with these investigations against their own desires, almost forced to do so by the horrendous nature of the things that were done; and the things that were done were so terrible, at times, that recourse must be sought. I wish this were not the case, and in a large majority of situations, I am sure we will not see charges brought. I don't believe you will see the soldiers and CIA men who water boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed brought to trial, nor should we, necessarily. This may be torture, but in the end, do these men and women deserve to be raked over the coals for following orders and doing what they thought, at the time (and perhaps correctly) was the best thing to do to protect the country? Should officials be held to the fire for decisions made with these same motivations in hand?

This is where the page rips apart, as the saying goes. They should not be held accountable for these things. However, administration officials and underlings should very much be held to account for actions which went beyond this basic construct of information gathering maneuvers. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George Bush personally created an atmosphere which allowed for the unnecessary, absurdly awful atrocities of Abu Ghraib to spew forth. And the soldiers that crossed lines, broke legs, killed people, built pyramids, and the like must be held to account, despite the regrettable position our government put them in, by creating an atmosphere of lawlessness and exploiting their weaknesses. I don't want to see Mr. Bush on trial any more than the next guy (at least not for this... yet). In the end, I don't think Obama or Holder or anyone else in the administration does either. But the severity and breadth of the crimes committed demands inspection. Hopefully, these investigations will be precise and concise, and we can all move on in short order.

Still, it is by no means the political hot potato that Mr. Cheney has implied. In fact, if anything, these moves damage Obama politically. The right is aghast at the thought of taking these men to task (and the consequences it could wreak on future security) and the left is offended that more is not being done. As is often the case, they are both right AND they are both wrong.

The President has had successes. Some folks look to the stock market to gauge the mood of the country. Under 8000 at the time of his inauguration, having slid considerably in the months preceding the election, it is @ 9300 as I write this, with the strongest six month turnaround since the Great Depression. Had you asked people, especially detractors, where they thought the stock market would be seven months into Obama's presidency, predictions of doom and gloom would reign. True, the economic recovery is far from over, and the stimulus package has not been proven completely successful, yet. But signs of growth and recovery abound, save for the unemployment numbers (typically the last to recover in a downturn).

Even so, there is likely a long way to go. Rumblings of a coming commercial realty collapse abound, and indications of extended stagnation are prominent. "This" is the new normal. While most are eager to pass today's struggles off as the "Obama economy" most rational thinkers understand that this is not yet a fair assessment. The fear is, of course, that the real 'Obama economy' will come 20 years down the road, when we are still paying for the actions of the past six months. But this is an irrational fear, as we are all well aware that economic prediction is somewhat of a fool's errand. Yes, 15 years from now could reveal an America broke and struggling, with crumbling infrastructure, rampant un-payable federal and personal debt, failing medicine and education, and collapse of life as we know it. But just as likely, if not moreso, is the possibility of an America recovered and re-strengthened, rededicated to leading the world through innovative and lucrative approaches to energy, internet, medicine, education, and the like. I attribute this possibility less to the Obama Presidency and more to the general overarching "American spirit."

Has Mr. Obama been perfect? Very much, the answer is no. But conservatives who attack his every move are disingenuous and misguided, and oftentimes so full of hatred and vitriol as to be completely and utterly frightening. Liberals who complain that the President has abandoned them are missing the point. Some groups are justified. Gay Americans feel slighted by the President's soft pedaling on their issues, but I think time will prove him to be very adept at moving those social issues forward.

Overall, I give the President a solid B+ for his first months in office. I'm tempted to offer an A-, but we'll stick with B+ for now. Where his Presidency will go from here is anyone's guess, to some extent. But he has worked incredibly hard, been relatively open and honest in his pursuits, and has enacted solid policies which reverse the awkward, untenable course of the past 8 years. Mr. Obama is not perfect. But he is earnest, and so far, I am more than willing to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt in his actions. His is the toughest job in the world, and he is clearly dedicated to it, and to the American people. He has the next 3.5-7.5 years to determine the course of this Presidency, and to create a lasting legacy for good or ill. But those who ache for his failure, plead for it, and beg for it to come quickly really must sit down in front of a mirror and ask themselves exactly how they define patriotism, and how that definition fleshes out against their boisterous ignorance.