But the short-term verdict on the Calderon administration is decidedly mixed, starting with the fact that voters in the July national elections were so weary of his tenure that they kicked his party out of the presidency and brought back the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
No one knows if drug violence has tapered in the last few months, as his administration claims, because the government stopped providing the officials statistics a year ago. Public corruption persists and the economy for everyday Mexicans is sluggish.
The sale of armored vehicles in Mexico has at least doubled since Calderon took office and the homicide rate has soared, with decapitations and mass slayings so common they often no longer make the front pages of national newspapers — and with local papers often too intimidated to cover them at all.
"Mexico is a long way from having strong rule of law still, and a solid economic base has not necessarily led to the kind of jobs that people hope to have," said Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute, a Washington-based think tank. "It's a well-managed economy but it's not a dynamic economy. And that's the legacy."