The Monitor sent reporters to baseball stadiums to ask people to take part in another national pastime – assessing a sitting president. Here are their critiques of Barack Obama's first months in office.
Fenway Park / Boston
“He’s optimistic. He’s got charisma. He appears willing to say when he screws up. [He’s thoughtful], and would have moved faster if Republicans hadn’t been blocking the stimulus package. We are going to have alternative energy and a solid education plan. I think he has about a 75 percent chance of having about 75 percent of things happen.”
DAVID LITTLEFIELD, owner of the 'sausage guy' cart:
“I think he’s doing great, given all the things that are going on – war, economy, the state of affairs left behind for him to deal with. I hope that he will make the country a more equitable system. Everyone should be able to make as much money as they want to but should [also] bring people up with them and not use people to get there. There hasn’t been a rising tide for all boats for a few years now.
He may have had some youthful faux pas, but the country needs to see a White House with a swing set in the back and a young family concerned about them.”
He’s running our great-grandchildren into the ground with his tax policies.
I’ve worked since I was 14, and I don’t want someone telling me I should share my wealth.
I’m waiting to see what he does in Iraq. We have to do a pullout strategically or our kids will have died for nothing.”
ED and LILL GRABOWSKI, retirees who own a commercial building:
ED: “With the stimulus package and the bailouts he’s given, there’s going to be so much money owed by our kids and our grandkids.”
LILL: “Nationalization is socialism. GM failed years ago. And they should fail now.”
MICHAEL ENGLERT, school administrator:
“My primary concern is the amount of money being spent, that we don’t have, by way of bailouts. I believe that one of the things a bad economy does is weed out either those individuals or businesses that aren’t doing their job well.”
CAROL JACOBS, retiree:
“He may be doing too much. Because he’s taken on so many things that need to be fixed, it’s hard to focus on just one thing.”
RODNEY GARLAND, driver of a hazardous-waste truck:
“I give him … credit [for] trying something [on the economy]. I’m not going to knock him about that. I’d rather he tried than not do anything.”
KAUFFMAN stadium / Kansas city, MO.
FRANK WILLIAMS, emergency medical technician:
”The people that he’s got in his cabinet – to me, he’s picked A-plus people.... But I want to see results. He’s got a lot of good ideas. I just hope they actually pan out.”
PATSY HART, manager of a Catholic church in Omaha, Neb.:
He’s got so many fingers in the pie right now that I’m not sure he really knows how things are going, but he seems very confident. And I like the fact that he made it over to Iraq to see the troops. I like the fact that Michelle is very supportive of the military, since we’re retired military. With all the negativity, people have to give him a chance. Why shoot him down when he hasn’t had a chance to even do anything?
CARLOTTA PARHAM, accountant, Oklahoma City, Okla.:
“I would like to see him be a little more aggressive with the people in the banks and Wall Street, but I think he’s taking his time and thinking about what he’s doing.”
“Of course, I think the fact that he’s bringing our troops home is a good thing. As a mom with young men who might have to go overseas and fight, I think the fact that he’s taken under consideration bringing those kids home is a good thing.”