You have to admit that President Obama has conducted himself with a surprising amount of restraint in the days since the election. It would have been easy (and doubtlessly tempting) to keep swinging at President-elect Trump, but Obama’s done the country and the office right by his attempts at unity. Maybe he’s just in shock, still unable to fully grasp what just happened.
Either way, Obama hinted this weekend that he might not be so silent once free of the constraints of the presidency. Speaking in Lima, Peru on Sunday, Obama said that while he respected George W. Bush’s post-presidency grace, he thought there might come a time when he felt compelled to speak out.
“As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes,” Obama said.
In the immediate future, however, Obama said he was planning to get out of Washington for a while.
“My intention is to, certainly for the next two months, just finish my job,” Obama said. “And then after that, to take Michelle on vacation, get some rest, spend time with my girls, and do some writing, do some thinking.”
What must really be going on in his head these days? He can try to rationalize it all day long – blame it on his FBI director, blame it on Hillary Clinton’s poor excuse for a candidacy, blame it on whatever – but this was sure as hell not how he wanted to ride off into the sunset. Job approval ratings or no job approval ratings, this election was a giant middle finger to the Obama years.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe Obama has more in common with Trump than most people would think. Maybe this election proved that Obama’s two victories had less to do with the Democratic Party and more to do with Barack Obama, a guy who still knows how to get a crowd pumped. Maybe there’s a huge portion of the electorate that simply wants a president who can excite them about America once in a while.
Let’s just hope that Trump, unlike Obama, is as good a president as he was a candidate.