“I have to be quiet for a while,” he said. “And I don’t mean politically, I mean internally. I have to still myself. You have to get back in tune with your center and process what’s happened before you make a bunch of good decisions.”
That was Barack Obama last week, just before he unfurled a torrent of aggression aimed at the American people who opted to repudiate his legacy by making Donald Trump — whom Obama now vows to bullyrag and hector for all his days in office, in a reprehensible breach of presidential etiquette not to mention a tactical error for which Trump will surely repay him with savage panache — his successor.
Obama’s abuses as not just a lame duck but, in the words of Russian Duma member Konstantin Kosachev, a political corpse, were a hodgepodge of the tasteless and petty.
There was his expelling 35 members of the Russian diplomatic corps stationed in America for their supposed involvement as spies in that country’s GRU and FSB intelligence agencies; this was Obama’s retaliation for what has been bandied about as Vladimir Putin’s “hacking” of a presidential election in which the Democrat candidate was beaten by some four million votes in states not named New York and California.
Putin’s reaction to the 35 expulsions was to wish Obama a Happy New Year and invite the children of American diplomats in Moscow to Russian Orthodox Christmas celebrations at the Kremlin. His Foreign Ministry, which had publicly demanded reciprocal expulsions, largely as stagecraft in advance of his “magnanimity,” said that it was best to give Trump space in hopes of improved relations.
There was the administration’s wink-and-a-nod to an atrocious UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a betrayal of an ally which was sharply condemned on a bipartisan basis and repudiated almost immediately by our British friends. PM Theresa May, responding to a speech given by Obama’s gigolo Secretary of State John Kerry admonishing the Israelis for their role in the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs and calling Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “radical” and “right-wing,” was highly critical. “We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally,” the Brits said late Thursday. “We are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.”
More locally, there was the Bacchanal of regulations unleashed by the administration — the total for 2016 ended up being 3,853, which comes to an average of 18 for each of the 211 laws passed by Congress during the year, and an astonishing 97,000 pages added to the Federal Register. Estimates of the economic effect of those regulations run easily into the tens of billions of dollars.
And naturally, there was the stuffing of the federal employment rolls with as many partisan hacks as possible in an effort to poison the incoming administration with hostile bureaucrats.
Not to mention the last-minute lawsuits Obama is having his agencies cook up in order to punish businesses his administration disfavors. Or the 1.4 million acres of land in Utah he turned into a national monument against the wishes of the people in that state, an action that will now unleash a flurry of litigation as Utah’s attorney general has vowed to take the issue to the courts.
There is likely more to come in the two-plus weeks left of Obama’s time in office, though other than making himself a nuisance it’s unlikely any of it will have much of an effect after Trump gets to work.
Nevertheless, this pattern of behavior is instructive, as it points out something many of Obama’s critics have said for a long time; something which is true of the Hard Left generally and of this man in particular.
Namely, that Obama and his ideological compatriots intensely dislike this country and wish to punish it. Laying mines in Trump’s path, at the expense of the country and its allies on his way out of office, can only be characterized as such.
Oh, sure — this charge will be denied. But it’s categorically true, and inarguable after the eight-year Obama experience. We know it’s true, because Obama — and the Left — simply cannot leave America to its own devices. Our alliances must be sundered, our religion and culture maligned and perverted, our Constitution and law abused, our economy distorted and its underpinnings trashed. He and his people will tell us they love this country, but when pressed, what is it they love? It’s Social Security, the civil rights movement, Medicare — what they love is what they’ve done to us and what they’d still like to do. Some of which is defensible or even laudable, perhaps — but very little of it came from the American people outside of what the government, under the direction of good liberals, wrought.
And that Obama’s legacy was rejected by the people makes these final acts justifiable, in his mind and those of his supporters.
It’s disappointing, to be sure, that a man promoted so far beyond his abilities and qualifications by the American people in what can only be described as a desperate act of goodwill should go out this way. But as he makes the transition from the most consequential American leftist of our lifetimes to a failed ex-president who’s ultimately incapable of heeding his own advice quoted above, our reaction shouldn’t be outrage.
Let’s save our outrage for the meaningful. Obama has ceased to fit that description. Instead, as he flails about attempting to assuage his own irrelevance let’s give him what he most deserves, and what he most fears.
Let’s show him ridicule and make him the butt of our jokes. It fits, after all — he’s ridiculous. And so are these last-ditch actions, which only truly amount to an increase in busy work for his successor.