For eight years Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” America yet after just three years of a Trump presidency, the Age of Obama is an increasingly distant and negligible moment in U.S. history.
Clearly, a castle built upon sand and self-obsession does not a lasting legacy make…
How did Barack Obama’s policy legacy turn out to be so fleeting and rickety?
Hadn’t Obama’s ascent transformed a nation forever, stirring the American soul and sending thrills up the leg of the commentariat? Hadn’t his election, as Jesse Jackson Jr., then in Congress rather than on parole, noted, been “so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance?”
Not just anyone can win a Nobel Prize for their “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” before ever engaging in a single act of mediation. Then again, this was a man who had promised to marshal the forces of all mankind, the men and women who’d failed to live up to his lofty expectations for the past 150,000 years, to finally start to “heal” the earth.
Bill Clinton might have felt your pain, but Obama, noted San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford in 2008, was a “lightworker,” imbued with the supernatural ability to intuit exactly what an entire nation was thinking. It was not “merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric,” Morford preached (and gushed), it was that the new president was a “rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment.” (My goodness! Compare that groveling “Obama is God” example to how the media treats President Trump.)
Obama had arrived to sort out the dismal state of human affairs. After years of American conflicts abroad, the progressive Left had finally found a leader to end our wars for oil. Here was a man who would finally inhibit the excesses of Wall Street greed that had driven the nation into the abyss of another depression. On top of all of that, Obama would dislodge the institutionalist’s candidate, moving Democrats past the Clintons forever and into a transcendent new era. He was their Ronald Reagan. Better, even.
Except it never happened. And these days, leading Democrats hardly ever mention the man, and when they do, it’s typically to grouse about something he’s either done or failed to do.