Eight days before he leaves office, President Barack Obama is not planning to go any farther than a short distance from the White House after Donald Trump is sworn in to replace him next Friday, while his Mount Rainier-sized ego still basks in the glow of audience reaction to his “farewell speech” Tuesday evening.
Obama spent 54 minutes essentially talking about himself to an audience in Chicago, his adopted hometown where it appears he has no intention of settling. Other presidents, according to the Wall Street Journal, have gone home and literally gotten out of town, but not Obama.
Granted, he is sticking to the District while younger daughter Sasha is still in school. But as the Journal article suggested, “the real reason is probably to fight for the preservation of his legacy.”
Richard Benedetto, writing in the Journal Wednesday, contended that there is “no more effective way of doing so than to remain on the battlefield and position himself not only as the de facto head of the Democratic Party, but also the main media voice of opposition to the policies of Mr. Trump.”
Obama may have set a new standard of narcissism, and critics have suggested that a fawning dominant media contributed to that. As Benedetto, a retired White House correspondent for USA Today put it, “His presence in Washington will invite news reporters to seek his commentary and criticism of every move Mr. Trump makes.”
His adoring Chicago audience began yelling “Four more years!” And the president loved it, though he had to acknowledge that third presidential terms are not permitted.
Writing at Fox News, Bill Whalen – a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution – had this observation about the farewell speech spectacle: “Obama chose the moment and the setting (it’s where he gave his victory speech on Election Night 2012) to bask in idolatry rather than say much that will stand the test of time.”
Right now, it appears that not much of what Obama did during his eight years in the Oval Office will stand that test. Congress appears on the verge of dismantling Obamacare, and Trump has promised to rescind most, if not all of Obama’s executive orders.
Trump will fill more than 100 open seats on the federal courts, and also one current vacancy on the Supreme Court. Many expect there will be more vacancies on the high court that Trump will fill, possibly with strict constitutionalists rather than liberal activists.
Throughout this process, Barack Obama will be no farther away than the nearest remote television camera, ready to do a live shot for whatever broadcast journalist is stationed outside of his home, waiting for a comment.