After seeing many posts praising the outgoing president, I want to put a few words out as to why, even though I am not happy that Donald Trump is now our President, I will still be celebrating today.
A. Arrogance and trust. I get why Barack Obama has such adoring supporters. At least half of what I think makes a great leader is the ability to inspire and rally people around a cause. He excels at this and is one of the most gifted orators I have heard. He is extremely effective at knowing what people want to hear and also how they need to hear it. That is important. He is able to inspire hope, trust and excitement. Even if the cause happens to be one my Libertarian heart believes is harmful, I respect his prerogative and those that follow his lead. Obama admires Reagan and has expressed a desire for a progressive version of the Reagan movement. The problem is, Obama’s carefully chosen words have too often been exactly opposite what he intends to do and knows to be true. That is not political spin. It is raw lying to the very people who trust him the most. There are the well-known examples concerning Obamacare – people keeping their doctors and plans – plus more harmful deceptions like trying to cover up his policy and response failures that lead to the bloodbath in Benghazi. Documentation exists revealing they knew all the above were lies every time they said it. It is tempting to go on with the list, but the point is that after eight years of beautiful words, he has failed to rally people around what he believes and was actually doing. That is not what Reagan did. That is just cheap, slimy, old-fashioned politics. Insulting and unnecessary. I don’t mind spin at all, but the raw arrogance that leads someone to think he or she has no obligation to be honest to his or her own supporters, nor the rest of the public, is just sick, unnecessary and extremely disappointing. This happens to be one of my biggest concerns about the incoming president as well. Eight years of this is enough for me.
B. Stubbornness and failure.I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said: “Great innovations should not be forced on a slender majority – or enacted without broad support.” From the beginning, Obama refused to work with the minority. His signature policy piece, Obamacare, was rammed through a Democratic congress without adequate support from congress or the people. Backroom payoffs and pressure were eventually exposed and the bill was only passed using a trick that even Bill and Hillary refused to use in the ‘90’s. After the Democratic party lost multiple elections throughout the last eight years, Obama retaliated by trying to shut congress down by asserting he would veto anything he didn’t like…public support or the perspective of others were no concern to him. His agenda, his plan, his laws or nothing. Outside of making some of Bush’s tax law permanent, TPP and a few small issues, he acted on his own. Executive order after executive order in defiance of the will of the people and, in some cases, of the law itself. That is not leadership, it is dictatorship. He now has a paper-thin legacy and will watch as a few quick signatures erase almost everything he forced. If he was more willing to work with the opposition, as every president before him eventually did, he would have the broad support and an enduring legacy. He took his slender majority and tried to dictate the law. That is over. His stubbornness is the reason he has no legacy.
C. Attacks on privacy and the abuse of power. Obama’s secret NSA program to spy on almost all Americans (thank you Edward Snowden!), spying on the press and bullying reporters with the weight of the federal government, The IRS scandal pressuring opposition non-profits, removing Americans’ right to make their own decisions in a free market (ACA’s insurance requirement), the firstname.lastname@example.org email list, the firing of IG’s to prevent investigations, and on and on and on. Policy disagreements are fine. Slowly curtailing rights and liberty and throwing the weight of government down on those who oppose are both disappointing and a little scary. I am also concerned about this with the new president.
In the end, if you are a Progressive or centrist Democrat, the Obama years have decimated your party at the federal and state level. The massive outcry of anger against Obama’s policies have sparked a new movement of Libertarians, Conservatives and centrists that continues to grow. I celebrate today because the American system has shown again that it can survive a failed president who tried very hard to establish a more dictator-style Executive Branch. I celebrate that Barack Obama’s reign is over. I only hope that I do not need to re-write this four years from now about the new administration. I am willing to give President Trump the same chance I gave former President Obama. His transition has been surprisingly impressive, but that means almost nothing. A new clock starts today and, perhaps, better days are ahead. We shall see.
Also published on Medium.