A mist of lies hung over Obama’s final press conference. Slippery and boringly professorial as always, he said commuting the sentence of one of the worst traitors in America history was a just decision because Manning “took responsibility” and his sentence was “disproportionate.” He said the commutation doesn’t “contradict” the recent bleating of the Dems about leaking and the horrors WikiLeaks supposedly unleashed upon the election. He even resisted the suggestion that he has been a strong critic of WikiLeaks. Asked about the boycotts of Trump by his party, he evaded the question and attempted a weak joke about the weather. (There was, of course, no mention of his wife’s subversive tweet giving a shout out to John Lewis on Martin Luther King Day, which signaled her support for his anti-Trump antics.) About his retirement plans, he said that he will continue to espouse progressivism but stay off any “ballots.”
Most of the questions about his controversial last-minute decisions were pointless, given his unwillingness to offer any straight answers. He spent most of his time restating the obvious and passing off platitudes as profound political advice for the next administration. The superficiality of his legacy can be seen in the amount of time he devoted to talking about “LGBT” issues and keeping his pronoun use regarding Manning consistent. To the extent he showed any passion, it was on those issues and dispelling the “fake news” that Democrats want ineligible voters to vote. To the last question (which he gave to the Los Angeles Times), a fittingly touchy-feely question about how he explains Trump’s victory to his daughters, he replied with equally gauzy gibberish about teaching them “resilience” and “hope.” He tried to put a chipper spin on it all — “I think we are going to be okay” — but it all sounded as empty as his presidency.