Coming attractions: Obama, the presidential kibitzer
Make no mistake: Barack Obama is a loser, having placed his legacy on the ballot and facing its imminent destruction now that the voters have spoken. As a highly skilled performance artist with a sense of timing, he has so far played the gracious facilitator of a seamless transition. But he knows, and the Democratic Party knows, that they have suffered grievous losses from which a recovery may be quite long in coming. And boy, are they ever upset. The Denial stage is fading, and anger lies ahead.
In his McClatchy column, Andrew Malcolm gives us a sneak preview of what’s on our way:
Obama will go off to his rented Washington mansion to make a small fortune on a book and lecture tours. Bush 43 chose silence during Obama’s early years, not wishing to second-guess his successor.
Obama, however, has vowed to speak out often in retirement. Given the current political outlook for dismantling much of his work, Obama will not lack for subjects to complain about.
I have little doubt that Ex-President Obama will be able to command the nation’s airwaves in retirement. He will be angry, and when he gets angry, sometimes he loses his cool just a little bit and gets downright mean and snarky. He loves put-downs.
But he will be facing President Trump, who has not shown himself shy about responding to critics, especially those who get under his skin.
Maybe Obama will be a benign kibitzer offering the “counsel” Mr. Trump said he might seek. But I am not putting any money on the statesman option. I think Obama will be angry about losing, angry about his legacy being destroyed, and angry about no longer enjoying the perks of office.
I suspect that the back-and-forth could become one of the most formidable obstacles to the success of the Trump presidency. So far, President-Elect Trump has shown tremendous growth – or maybe it is just a different behavior pattern for different circumstances from a man who is more adept at situational adaptation than he is given credit for.