New York Magazine’s hagiographic profile of former President Barack Obama’s life after the White House offers no consideration that President Trump has succeeded in any aspect of his presidency, instead describing the Republican presidency simply as morally bankrupt American Armageddon.
“Perhaps an America that survives Trump will appreciate that his predecessor did not stoop to his level,” writes Gabriel Debenedetti. “But Obama’s disciplined restraint could also prove a poorly timed abdication of leadership.
“‘The reason this is different than other post-presidencies,’ says Princeton political historian Julian Zelizer, ‘is this is kind of a crisis in governance.’”
By mid-July, Obama will have visited every continent but Antarctica since leaving office. At each stop, from New Zealand to Italy, he’s met with local heads of state or allied former leaders, almost always in private. He’s been careful not to appear to be playing at international diplomacy, but people close to him believe his presence is often intended as a reassurance that the world isn’t about to end.”
Debenedetti also fails to mention that the Obama administration’s approach to a Republican Congress — stonewall rather than work with duly-elected legislators — could have very well contributed to the fractious climate in Washington today.
“’Even when we were in the White House, he wasn’t interested in discussing the day-to-day of politics, whether it was Speaker Boehner or Speaker Ryan or Leader McConnell, or whatever was the news of the day,’ says Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers. ‘Wasting time on things he can’t control is not of interest to him. Getting sucked into a conversation over someone who he has no ability to influence? What’s the point?’”
Debenedetti also failed to mention that this stonewalling is in itself a form of obstructionism that arguably undermined America’s civic fabric, even if it was conducted in a less bombastic manner than other politicians.
“If one philosophy governed his political activity in the final stretch of his presidency, it was articulated by Michelle at the 2016 convention: ‘When they go low, we go high,’” Debenedetti writes.
“Built into that code of conduct is his famous long-term optimism about historic progress as well as a confidence that his empathetic approach to governing will ultimately be more successful than dishonest tactics or mean-spirited politics.”