Rarely has a man promised so much but offered so little. Let's call it what it is—a tragedy.
Hope and change 🙄
This is just me, but I always saw Obama as another unremarkable post-Cold War President with a pretty typical progressive/technocratic outlook. I never really understood what his supporters loved about him so much, and still don't really understand to this day. I also don't have the burning hatred some have towards him either. He's clearly not as brilliant, farsighted, visionary, or whatever his vocal supporters claimed, nor is he some demonic, traitorous communist or whatever some on the right may think.
I can understand seeing his presidency as a "tragedy" if one had been hoping for some miraculous social-cultural-racial-ideological unification to come from it, but that was never realistic. That was the stuff people projected onto him. So ultimately I guess I don't see his presidency as tragic because in order to be a tragic figure you have to attempt something great, which I'm not sure he did.
I'd only speak for myself, but I think some others with a more small-L libertarian bent, like me, view Obama more as just a continuation of Bush and prior Presidential trends, rather than a markedly different phenomenon. On a fundamental level we're still living in the Progressive era that began 120-something years ago.
OK. But can you be more specific? What is it that President Obama failed to do? Specifically what did he promise but not deliver? The Health Care Act is enormous. Looking back, my gripe was, to me, that he never stepped down from the podium to talk to the common American. There was a residual void that Hillary should have filled (visiting those perceived places suffering in America). Trump came in and tragically appealed to their worst nature.
I'm a Brit and this is what I wrote in 2007 about the impending Obama presidency.
"Good Luck America; Us Brits Have Already Had Ten Years of ‘Change’. But I do wish Barack Obama well. He cuts a personable figure as a political leader. The soaring rhetoric is also appealing, especially when viewed from the land of dull-as-ditch water Gordon Brown. On the negative side, it has to be said, is the vacuous but relentless Change mantra. He always leaves you panting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next sentence; change What? How? Why?"
Malcolm X said it best. (Paraphrasing:) The conservative is a wolf while the liberal is a fox. You can stay away from the wolf, because you can see its baring teeth and you know it's dangerous. The fox will make you think he's your friend, then he'll stab you in the back.
Barack Obama's hidden ego is deeply concerning. He smiles with charisma while sending drones to civilian locations, committing human rights abuses left and right, then crusading against journalists who spoke a little too loud.
People hated Trump because he was "bad" to Americans. Meanwhile Obama was an idol while he was an enemy to humanity.
People don't want leaders. They want celebrities. It's that simple.
Shadi, could it be that we are not disheartened with Obama as much as we are misled by our own perception of what an “Obama” could have been? What should he have been? Might our unexamined expectations be what betrays us? Should a leader, any leader, be the fantastical white knight galloping in on their white horse to save the people? The country? An institution? A relationship? Should a democracy not be a collective job of the people for ourselves?
What are we really looking for in elected officials? Why do we buy into an MTG or Bernie? Maybe we need to rethink what characteristics a servant of the people should embody or what character they should play for the court. The writers' strike in Hollywood might serve the nation, as now we may have to think for ourselves.
I enjoy reading your thoughts.
Healthcare reform was a huge accomplishment and is now pretty much facts on the ground. It would be even more effective if red states weren't cutting off their own nose to spite their face on Medicaid expansion.
Obama failed to prosecute the criminals who were responsible for the 2008 stock market crash that had a devastating impact on so many people, he did nothing to stop the Middle East into spiraling towards chaos that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, he did nothing to bring reconciliation and rebuilding of Iraq resulting in the genesis of ISIS that further destabilized the region, he launched offensive war in Libya, he did nothing to reform healthcare (yes, Obamacare was a sham that helped some while hurting many others in increased premiums and less coverage), he polarized the country by clearly siding with BLM, a fraudulent organization that preys upon racial divisions while scamming its supporters financially as a result Trump exploited the “white rage” and offered explicit actions to undo these divisive policies. He made this country worse than what it was before him, i.e., during Bush’s era, and that’s saying a lot.
The man does love listening to himself speak. I wonder what would have ensued with Russia these last couple of years had Obama not cancelled plans to install missile strips in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Folks evidently expected a lot more out of Obama than he was inclined to give. Except for the banks, that is; they got nice big bailouts while a lot of folks lost their homes to the predatory mortgage industry the banks were profiting from.
Anyway, I was absolutely done giving Obama the benefit of any doubt when he engaged in machinations to make his by-then-ancient VP the 2020 nominee.
He was the DNC's man in office, and he is still when out of it.
Writing about him as eloquently and elaborately as you did, despite your irritation, doesn't make him inconsequential, it would seem to me.
Compare him to other world leaders (the comparison to Trump is rather narrow). How would Obama fare against Berlusconi? Duterte? Idi Amin? These guys were very consequential due to the tremendous cost inflicted on their countries and citizens. They leave behind a record of destruction.
If three memoirs are all that's left of Obama’s legacy, that's still a far better record than marauding plundering philandering murderous leaders across the globe.