President Obama opened himself up for ridicule in late 2009 by unwisely obliging an interviewer who asked him to assess his job performance using a grade-school metric. Obama infamously awarded himself "a solid B+" for his efforts. When the president was confronted with a similar question from ABC News' Jake Tapper yesterday, he rectified his previous misstep -- at least temporarily:
Tapper: What grade would you give yourself?
Obama: Well, you know I'm not going to give myself a grade.
Tapper: Not even a midterm?
Obama: Other than "incomplete" because the work that we started is not yet done...
An "incomplete" or a "that's for the American people to decide" are the only correct answers in that situation. The trouble with Obama, though, is that his prodigious ego prevents him from sustaining even a front of feigned humility for too long. Indeed, we're talking about a man who wrote two autobiographies before the age of 50. Later in the exchange with Tapper, Obama rolled out this startling boast about his administration:
"I guarantee it's going to be a close election because the economy is not where it wants to be and even though I believe all the choices we've made have been the right ones, we're still going through difficult circumstances."
All the choices, Mr. President? All of them? What about...
The choice to appoint multiple tax cheats to your cabinet, including your current Treasury Secretary?
The choice to keep insisting on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, even though the public opposes this prospect -- which was repeatedly blocked by a Democratic Congress?
The choice to throw a lavish birthday party for yourself, replete with a barefoot Conga line through the White House, as the threat of a national credit downgrade cast a shadow over the country.
The choice to file a lawsuit against Arizona's law that authorizes state and local officials to help the federal government fulfill its woefully unfulfilled responsibilities -- and that your Attorney General admitted he'd never read, even as he publicly denounced it.
The choice to include two provisions -- 1099 reform and the CLASS Act -- in your unpopular healthcare bill that are so unaffordable and unworkable that your own administration has since abandoned them.
The choice of your Justice Department to file a lawsuit to overturn a small North Carolina town's democratically-enacted decision to eliminate party identifications from municipal election ballots, arguing that African-Americans need "D" and "R" labels to determine whom to support.
The choice to sell your failed $800 Billion "stimulus" package as a means to spur "shovel ready" projects -- projects you later joked weren't quite so shovel ready after all.
The choice to appoint a self-described "Communist" who signed a 9/11 Truther petition as your "Green Jobs Czar."
The choice to bow to union demands and cancel a successful inner-city school choice program, despite its soaring graduation rates, improved reading scores, cost effectiveness, and overwhelming parental satisfaction.
The choice to alienate our greatest ally -- Great Britain -- by rudely disposing of a Winston Churchill bust, bestowing the Queen with an iPod filled with your own speeches, giving the former Prime Minister a gift that literally did not work on his own soil, and signaling neutrality over the Falkland Islands.
The choice to authorize, or at least ignore, a federal program that permitted 2,000 guns to "walk" into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, by design, resulting in countless murders -- including a US border patrol agent.
The choice to violate multiple self-aggrandizing "transparency" pledges.
The choice to attempt to freeze out a legitimate news organization you viewed as inconveniently adversarial, a ploy that enraged the entire press corps.
The choice of your Justice Department to not pursue civil rights cases involving alleged minority offenders, and to drop an already-won, open-and-shut voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther party.
The choice to insist on granting mega-terrorists like Khalid Sheik Muhammad with civilian trials in New York City, over loud objections from Congress, city officials, and the public.
The choice to offend our greatest Middle Eastern ally -- Israel -- by extending shoddy treatment to its Prime Minister, and making provocative statements about preconditions for basic Israeli security.
The choice to revisit redundant and political investigations into the US intelligence community, over public objections from a bipartisan group of former CIA director, and despite low morale at the agencies that keep Americans safe.
The choice to introduce Stimulus 2.0 in a politically-timed Joint Session speech, knowing full well it would never pass either chamber of Congress.
The choice to travel the countryside, supposedly selling a plan to create US jobs, in foreign-made buses.
The choice to foist an expensive, failed mortgage bailout program upon the public -- which exacerbated moral hazard issues and actually "added to housing woes," according to the New York Times.
The choice to offer US support to the illegitimate, far-Left leader of Honduras, even as his small country struggled to retain its democracy.
The choice to produce a 2012 budget that increased the national debt by nearly $10 Trillion over a decade, ignored virtually all your own commission's recommendations for entitlement reform, raised taxes by $2 trillion, and was generally viewed as so surreally irresponsible that it was defeated unanimously in the Democrat-held Senate.
The choice to sit idly by while anti-American dictators ranted against our country, later expressing gratitude that they didn't blame you, specifically, for events that occurred when you were very young.
The choice to lie about what scientific experts said, in order to pursue your anti-offshore drilling agenda.
The choice of your Vice President to kowtow to Communist China, flatly stating that he understood, and "wouldn't question," that country's hideous one-child policy.
The choice to schedule troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan along a transparently political timeline, in the face of strenuous opposition from top military commanders.
The choice to ignore the legal analysis of Pentagon attorneys and your own Office of Legal Counsel in order to maintain the US intervention in Libya, which was not approved by Congress.
The choice to offer an apology to Japan for the use of overwhelming, devastating US force to finally end World War II in the Pacific theater, a plan so groveling and unnecessary that Japanese aborted the idea.
The choice of your State Department to extend "condolences" to the family of a terrorist killed in a US strike.
President Obama evidently looks at this list of choices and thinks, perfection. As it happens, the American people have a big choice of their own on the horizon. We'll see whether their performance review is quite as generous as the president's. Feel free to augment my list of cosmically "right" Obama choices in the comments section.