Obama, too good for Amer­ica

The Week (US) - - 12 News - Matthew Con­tinetti


Amer­ica has “let Barack Obama down,” said Matthew Con­tinetti. In a new mem­oir, for­mer White House aide Ben Rhodes de­scribes how Pres­i­dent Obama cy­cled be­tween bouts of anger, self-doubt, and res­ig­na­tion af­ter Don­ald Trump’s shock­ing elec­tion vic­tory. Rhodes re­calls Obama ask­ing aloud, “What if we were wrong?” and adding, “Maybe peo­ple just want to fall back into their tribe.” His smug con­de­scen­sion to­ward the tribes of fly­over coun­try, of course, helped fuel the con­ser­va­tive pop­ulism that Trump rode to the White House. Obama was wrong about a lot of other things too, like ram­ming an un­pop­u­lar health-care bill through Congress, ced­ing Syria to Rus­sia, and push­ing Joe Bi­den out of the way so Hil­lary Clin­ton could run to suc­ceed him. Rhodes quotes Obama as mus­ing, “Some­times I won­der whether I was 10 or 20 years too early.” Too early for what? “Fun­da­men­tally trans­form­ing Amer­ica?” Yes, per­haps he was too early for that, given that half the coun­try didn’t agree with him. Poor Obama. “A paradig­matic lib­eral,” he was cer­tain that progress to­ward his pre­ferred poli­cies was in­evitable and ir­re­versible. At least he can take com­fort in telling him­self that he was sim­ply “too en­light­ened, so­phis­ti­cated, ma­ture for his time.”

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