Finally, we know President Obama’s true legacy – a sore loser who wants to prolong his successful eight-year run of dividing Americans.
Notwithstanding that voters just handed the president a convincing rebuke, The New York Times reports that Obama wants to join the many leftist organizations organizing to fight Donald Trump. He told a group of activists with Organizing for Action that he would join their efforts quite soon -- once he again becomes a private citizen. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, he said he felt “some responsibility to at least offer my counsel” to Democrats working to resist Trump.
Do Democrats want Obama’s counsel? Given that he has presided over a disastrous eight years, it seems unlikely. But then the party of Hillary and Obama is not burdened with introspection. They have looked far and wide for the reasons that a political neophyte interrupted the coronation of Hillary Clinton and have settled on sexism, racism, “fake” news stories and the conservative media. It is the rare voice that timorously points out that maybe voters didn’t want any more of what Democrats had to offer.
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To be fair, and despite the popular impression to the contrary, it is not unprecedented for a former president to criticize his successor. Carter lambasted Bush2, Eisenhower complained about JFK’s domestic policies and Teddy Roosevelt called Taft a “puzzlewit” and “fathead”, laying to rest the notion that name-calling, too, is new to our age.
But Obama will go down as the only president in history to spend eight years vociferously criticizing both his predecessor and his successor. According to Obama, nearly every problem facing the nation, even in the eighth year of his presidency, can be ascribed to George W. Bush. The remainder can be blamed on Donald Trump. That is quite the legacy.
You have to wonder: has Obama ever considered that his party’s resounding defeat in the 2016 election was a referendum on his policies? That, just as in 2010 and 2014, voters decided they didn’t like Obamacare, the Iran deal, the sluggish economy, the liberal social agenda, the sluggish response to ISIS, the IRS scandal and his Justice Department’s slip-shod investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server? That maybe he was wrong on some issues?
Whereas other presidents who have received a “shellacking” in midterm elections make adjustments or shake up their cabinets, Obama has never veered from the north star of his liberal righteousness. He never faltered in lauding Obamacare, skirting Congress, pushing amnesty for people who entered the country illegally, favoring Black Lives Matter, unilaterally imposing crushing environmental regulations and the numerous other unpopular policies that absorbed his attention.
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When the people smacked him hard in the off-year elections, he and his acolytes attributed his shortcomings on a failure of messaging; if only people understood Obamacare better, the White House argued, they would come around to its wondrousness. As premiums rose and doctor choices shrank, he still did not admit its imperfections. When it turned out the Iran deal was foisted on a suspicious public through a series of lies, Obama maintained its virtues, even as many Americans knew better.
Obama has surrounded himself for eight years with people who tell him what he wants to hear – that his every idea is excellent. People who deviate from the script, like former Lt. General Michael Flynn who sounded unpleasant alarms about the threat of ISIS, find themselves out the door in quick order. Military leaders, in particular, have been culled by this president who, according to former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, did not respect his armed forces’ chiefs and in fact rarely met with them.
Donald Trump has been criticized for saying he knows more than the Pentagon brass, and rightly so. But whereas that comment is typical Trump bravado, Obama apparently actually thinks he knows more than his generals and is not above telling them so. As Gates wrote in his memoir Duty, “The controlling nature of the Obama White House and the staff took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level.”
Not only did Obama not take the advice of his military chiefs, he never even met with them. At a recent Congressional hearing, four top military figures testifying on national security were asked whether they had voiced concerns to Obama. Each one said no, they had never met the man. Flynn, recently appointed incoming National Security Advisor head by Trump, was fired in 2012 when he dared to disagree with Obama. Even though he headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, he never had an interview with the president.
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The president is apparently unmoved by the gracious behavior of his predecessor George W. Bush, who rarely criticized President Obama despite the constant drubbing he received from his inexperienced successor. It is traditional that an outgoing president allows his successor some space; that apparently will not be Obama. He is so convinced that he is right, and that Trump is wrong – even before the latter gets rolling – that he will not disengage.
Shame on Obama. This country needs to heal after one of the most vicious elections in our history. Obama should take some responsibility for the divisions that have opened under his leadership. He should call off the demonstrators, and especially those breaking windows and torching cars, and explain how a democracy works. The country did not get to this place by itself; it is Obama’s policies that have angered voters and that lofted Trump to the Oval Office. It is time for Obama to leave the scene.