So Standard & Poor’s has downgraded our bond rating from AAA to AA+. In the language of academics this means that the US’s GPA has dropped from 4.0 to 3.98, still worthy of summa cum laude but no longer the best of the best—and a bitter pill to swallow for the smartest kid in the room who heretofore had never gotten a grade lower than 100%. Yes, Mr. President, I am talking about you.
Few faculty would see a difference between the student whose grade point average was 4.0 and the one who achieved a 3.98. Many faculty, in truth, scoff at the whole idea of grades, dismissing them as impediments to learning, inaccurate indicators of a student’s performance because they measure achievement as opposed to effort. And so it will likely be with President Obama: the history-making decline in America’s credit-worthiness merely an assessment of his achievement in office, but no indication at all of how hard he has been working on our behalf. Not to worry, Mr. President, you still get AAA for effort.
You’ve been working so very hard, how can you not deserve top honors? True, your most herculean effort has been to talk out of both sides of your mouth about rich folks who pay no taxes so that they have plenty of dough to fill your campaign coffers. Or maybe it’s your relentless attempts to shave a point or two off your handicap. What matters is that you have been trying.
Learning is complicated. By its very nature it destroys as much as it creates. If you don’t believe me, just look at the economy our president has destroyed and the mess he has created.
Two years into office, President Obama is in his sophomore slump, impatient for Commencement two years hence and dreaming all the while about getting admitted to graduate school in 2012. If he is, just think about what he’ll try then.