My Response to One Analysis and Commentary on President Obama’s Presidency and His Legacy
By Ken K. Gourdin
Analysis of President Barack Obama, his presidency, and his legacy by David Lightman of McClatchy News Service’s Washington Bureau, recently appeared in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News. Perhaps my response misses the mark; perhaps that response is unfair to Mr. Lightman. If so, I will simply link to his piece and allow the reader to draw his own conclusions. It can be found here, last accessed January 17, 2017:
All of that verbosity, and your ultimate conclusions are that the only two reasons Mr. Obama didn’t succeed are: (1) he needed better messaging (Gee, we’ve never heard that from Democrats before! How novel!) and (2) a sizable minority of the American electorate is racist? Really? Come on! As much as I wanted Mr. Obama to be my president, too, I lost most of my hope that that was going to happen early on when I realized he was more interested in demonizing, marginalizing, and silencing his political opponents than in actually working with them to accomplish any real change. Such change requires a willingness actually to get one’s hands dirty, to engage in give and take, to negotiate, and to compromise. But, with an early Democrat congressional majority and with Senator Harry “Dead On Arrival” Reid providing him political cover in the Senate, Mr. Obama chose a more iron-fisted approach.
If I’d had the room (the News has a 1,200 character length limit for comments), I would have noted the irony that in at least a couple of respects, Mr. Obama and President Bill Clinton are mirror images of one another: On the one hand, on a personal level, President Obama is an honorable man, a good husband, and a model father; on the other, apart from campaigning and winning elections, which he loves (who wouldn’t?) President Obama simply doesn’t “do” politics, preferring to remain (or at least to be seen as staying) above the fray and leaving the “dirty work” to others. Meanwhile, President Clinton proved himself to be an absolute moral reprobate on a personal level, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, accomplishing much politically because he relished the give-and-take and rough-and-tumble processes of nitty-gritty politics and reveled in wonky details.
In the end, however, neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Obama was a transformational figure, President Clinton because of his personal failings and President Obama because of his political ones. For more of my thoughts on President Obama’s paradoxical distaste for politics, see here (last accessed January 17, 2017):