There has been a long-standing unwritten rule that former Presidents do not criticize current sitting Presidents. If I recall correctly, the only one who flagrantly violated the rule in question was Jimmy Carter. The man could never shut his mouth, criticizing every President from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Now, President Obama is signaling he’s not going to keep his mouth shut as he vies to see who between him and Donald Trump is the bigger narcissist.
In a podcast with David Axelrod, the President didn’t hesitate to say he’d open his yap:
He said part of his post-presidential strategy would be developing young Democratic leaders — including organizers, journalists and politicians — who could galvanize voters behind a progressive agenda. He won’t hesitate to weigh in on important political debates after he leaves office, he told Axelrod.
“At a certain point, you make room for new voices and fresh legs,” Obama said.
“That doesn’t mean that if a year from now, or a year-and-a-half from now, or two years from now, there is an issue of such moment, such import, that isn’t just a debate about a particular tax bill or, you know, a particular policy, but goes to some foundational issues about our democracy that I might not weigh in,” Obama went on. “You know, I’m still a citizen and that carries with it duties and obligations.”
Oh, thank you so much for adhering to your “duties and obligations.” It would have been nice to see more of that over the last year years.
Obama believes he has an obligation to speak out because of the sense of self-importance the media mostly instilled in him. I was having a conversation with somebody several weeks ago, and this person was bemoaning the fact the GOP would not work with Obama to make changes to the ACA to “fix” it. I told him the President believes the rules by decree. “This is what I want. Make it happen.” I explained this is not how things work in a representative republic. If there are changes made to the law, then everything is on the table not just what the President wants.
For too long the media has given Barack Obama cover to use his pen and his phone whenever Congress wouldn’t give him precisely what he wanted. His signal that he will be happy to opine on the policies of President Trump, is a manifestation of the long leash for which the media allowed him to behave as though his word was enough to become the law.
The media will happily oblige like panting dogs.