-- International Relations: This is the one field to which community-organizing skills should be transferable, since it ought to involve the construction of strategic alliances. There's no need for the U.S. to be everywhere when allies can do the job -- particularly in cases where new geopolitical realities have rendered America's interests much less direct, and where other nations have more pragmatic regional influence. Obama passed the ball to regional power Russia during the Syrian conflict, albeit only after taking America to the brink of war.
He has effectively offloaded management of Middle Eastern and African conflicts to European allies while focusing on more economically imperative interests. Despite America having claim to oil-rich Arctic territory, Obama seems content to let Canada lead North America in that turf war with Russia. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered a remapping of Canadian Arctic claims, with Putin responding by ordering military reinforcement in the area. Although some might label all of this a lack of leadership on Obama's part, it could just as easily be labeled as a leveraging of strategic alliances. Time will tell. For now, the community-organizing background gets the benefit of the doubt.
Grade: B-minus (subject to periodic review).
-- Economy: Here's where a community organizer can behave like a kid sitting in the backseat with a toy steering wheel, thinking he controls the car. The U.S. economy is controlled by market forces on a global scale, beyond the reach of any president who might try to meddle and make people believe that he's doing so for the benefit of the masses. Even with taxpayer-funded government bailouts, the funding still ultimately comes from the consumer. It's nothing more than a shell game with the taxpayer's wallet. Calling on Congress to increase unemployment benefits, or crowing about General Motors being profitable post-bailout, or claiming on the White House website that you're "putting America back to work" is the equivalent of taking credit for the fact that everyone gets a day off work on December 25.
Grade: Not applicable.