Politics & Policy

Presidential Performance Review

Mr. Obama, your performance has been unsatisfactory.

Memo From: Performance Review Committee

Employee: Barack Obama

Employee Code: USAPOTUS0044

Contract Term: 4 Years

Recommendation: Do Not Renew (“Shoebox”)

Dear Mr. Obama:

It is with a measure of regret that I must recommend to the review committee that our firm decline to renew your contract, based on non-performance of the following deliverables:

Deliverable 1: National Security. This is the key deliverable for your role in our organization. Failure here is critical, and, while there will be inevitable setbacks and unforeseen developments, your performance here has been substandard. While I have frequently recommended to the management a more restrained policy on overseas matters — a position you endorsed during your interview process — you have managed to combine the worst aspects of your predecessor with the worst aspects of the opposing view. For example, you used the firm’s military and diplomatic pressure in service to what I think we can agree turned out to be the wrong side in Egypt and Libya, and your deployment of military assets to Uganda and the Congo is, in my view, a proposition with zero profit opportunities for the firm, horrific as that conflict is.

On the other hand, an attack on the firm’s representatives in Libya is an attack on the firm itself, i.e., precisely the time for using military force, and, more important, for taking proactive steps to prevent it in the first place — especially when such steps have been specifically requested. You don’t sit around in the executive suite and watch it happen while doing nothing — and you don’t run off to Vegas on the company jet afterward, either.

Worse, you compounded your mistakes in Benghazi by spending two weeks offering our shareholders misleading information about the nature of the episode, a firing offense. If your record were otherwise immaculate, I would still be recommending your termination to the committee for this mistake.

Deliverable 2: Public Safety. Under your management, violent crime is up 18 percent — the first such increase in 20 years. Your “Fast and Furious” project has caused serious damage to the balance sheet: one dead federal officer, more than a hundred dead civilians, a seriously cheesed-off next-door business partner, and zero cartel convictions — the lattermost being, if I understand your business strategy, the whole point of this mess. Your performance reports here have been remarkably obstructive, which is why you should have on our advice terminated Eric Holder.

Deliverable 3: Energy. When interviewing for this position, you said, and I quote, “We could have headed off $4-a-gallon gas.” We’ve seen gas prices above or near $4 for most of your term, and above $5 in some parts of the country under the management of your associates. Energy production on the firm’s lands is down substantially year-over-year.

Deliverable 4: Balance Sheet. During your interview, you proposed cutting the firm’s current operating deficit in half. In fact, the firm has acquired trillions of dollars of new debt under your management, along with new unfunded liabilities that our accountants are still trying to work out. When you were presented recommendations from a committee named by you and your management team, you refused even to consider implementing them. You are on track to add another $1 trillion in debt this year.

Deliverable 5: Growth. The first and second quarters of this year saw 1.2 percent and 2 percent growth, respectively, well under the firm’s historic average and less than half of your own team’s assumptions.

Deliverable 6: Human-Capital Deployment. We lose money when our people aren’t working. On the day you were hired, we had 65.7 percent of them on the job; today we have only 63.6 percent. We understand that the recession presented challenges, but if you had kept pace with prior post-recession human-capital deployment, we’d have 6 million more workers on the job today.

Deliverable 7: Retained Shareholder Earnings by Unit. Household incomes are down in real terms by $3,002.96 since you’ve been on the job. In case you haven’t been informed, we were hoping to get them moving in the other direction. Losing money for our shareholders is not our business model.

Deliverable 8: Cost Control. Welfare expenditures are up 32 percent since we hired you and your team. Instead of paying our people to work, we’re paying them not to work. As you might say, this is “not optimal.”

On a personal note, I’d like to say that the first time I ever had to fire anybody, I felt really bad about it. She was a nice young woman in her first real job, courteous, well-liked, always on time, and eager to do a good job. She had, unfortunately, been hired for a position that required more than her talents and experience enabled her to deliver. This is also true of you, with the exception of being courteous, likable, and punctual. If I could, I would fire you twice.

Alice from personnel will provide you with a shoebox in which to put your Nobel medal and other personal items; I’m told you won’t need a bigger box for that Churchill bust. Fortunately for you, we have a generous severance package and benefits, even in cases of gross nonperformance of duties. Please see to it that Mr. Biden gets the message — he hasn’t been answering his phone for two weeks now, and, frankly, we’re a little worried about him.

I’m also issuing a reprimand for the committee that screens our applications and hired you in the first place.

Shoebox. Out. Now.


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