Yes, I’ll admit I felt sympathy for ex-President Obama. Never enough to vote for him, mind you. I’d feel sympathy for any politician thrust by fate into a comparison with President Trump. Now I wish there were a way to get that sympathy back.
It’s not enough to allege that Obama fell short of Trump in nine out of 12 key areas of government. The entire Obama presidency is a full-blown embarrassment compared to Trump’s. Obama did his time. He rules the Free World no more. I was willing to let it go at that. But that was before Obama trashed the sacred tradition that previous presidents should be seen – and seldom even that! – but never heard criticizing a sitting successor. This maxim should require no reminders, given the startling success of Trump stacked up alongside the multiple failures of Obama. Obama’s broad-daylight attempt to hijack credit away from Trump for America’s economic well-being is the most egregious case of political larceny ever attempted.
I was a witness. It was pitiful. At least Trump’s ego-acrobatics are fun and funny, and a good time is had by all. But when he stood up before all those innocent young people at Illinois University, Obama showed us an ego in great pain, unable to come to terms with his own inadequacies.
“It didn’t start with Trump,” intoned the ex-president. “Trump was a symptom. Not a cause!” Those words cut so deep I didn’t even have to write them down. An analogy begs to be unfurled.
Imagine a football team with two quarterbacks. Let’s call them Barack and Donald. Barack throws six interceptions in a row, the first four of which are run back for touchdowns for the opposing team. Then Barack throws an incompletion, and they take him out of the game.
Donald comes in and throws six touchdown passes. And it’s pretty clear to all the fans what the quarterback prospects are for the team, though out of politeness not much is said about it. And the team with Donald as quarterback zooms off into a wildly successful season.
But wait! Barack calls a press conference. He has something to say. Barack is irked by all the buzz among football fans about how well things are going now that they’ve discovered who’s who among their quarterbacks. He’s beyond irked. He’s got his own view as to who’s who among quarterbacks, and he wants the world to know it.
Listen to Quarterback Barack: “After an admittedly slow start, the last three passes I threw were not run back for touchdowns. That’s progress! And that last one wasn’t even intercepted. It was incomplete. That’s a lot better than intercepted! So, you see, our recovery didn’t start with Donald. Donald is a symptom that things were getting much better. Donald was not the cause. Clearly, the improvement started during my administration as quarterback – and don’t you forget it!”
I’d be hard-pressed to say which Obama move is the more offensive, breaking the tradition that former presidents lay off attacking sitting presidents, or throwing such an infantile credit tantrum in hopes to convince a few stray onlookers that Trump is somehow running away with the bouquets for our good economy when the praise and glory righteously belong to Barack Obama.
Sorry, Barack, but the man on TV just told us that the best among your eight years was not even as good as Bill Clinton’s worst! I’m big enough to forgive presidents of both parties for quite a wide variety of infractions, but this attempted hijacking of credit that has Trump’s name all over it tells us more about you than you should want known, and leaves your most ardent admirers conflicted. In fact, your conduct brings to mind a revealing moment here on the home front during World War II.
In those days, all apparently able-bodied men not serving in the armed forces were considered guilty of dodging the draft until proven innocent. There were good reasons why many courageous American men did not wear the uniform and instead fulfilled their duty as civilians. There were many instances of military-age men in civilian clothes who tried to start conversations and acquaintanceships with women and were asked, briefly, bluntly and up front, “What are you doing to help the war effort?”
In one such case, in a dockside Baltimore bar, an apparently able-bodied man in civvies was told by an attractive woman whom he’d offered a drink, “Not so fast! Tell me what you’re doing for the war effort.”
“Well,” he said, “Do you know those big aircraft carriers?” “Yes,” she replied. “My company,” he told her, flushed with pride, “makes the paper clips that hold the blueprints together!”