The banking system collapse was averted. The spike of the unemployment rate to 15% was averted. Obama passed a pretty good regulatory reform. Obama passed a pretty good health reform. Obama passed the largest quick fiscal expansion he could get through congress (using Reconciliation would have taken a lot longer).
We are left with a jobless recovery, and with crippled mortgage finance and construction, and a ticking bomb in Europe.
But there was a process by which smart people with strong views argued about substance, and presented real options to the president, who chose.
Aall-in-all we are arguing over whether the economic policy team as a whole deserves a C+ or a B.
[Related -Market Needed a Yellen Bump and Didn't Get It.]
I would say the staff deserves s B. It is not Romer and Summers's fault that Bernanke-in-office forgot that the Fed has a dual mandate, or that Pbama chose to go not with Romer-Summers but with Geithner.
Why Geithner and Ibama thought their do-less policies were best is not something I have any insight into. We are in the lower tail of the distribution as it looked in March 2009, but not that far down in the tail...