Obama Presidency

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Empty Chair.

Obama's win was almost inevitable. Very rarely does the party in power able to hold it across administrations (unless there's assassination/death). In the entire 20th century we had Coolidge->Hoover, Reagan->Bush. That's it: both extraordinary Republicans ending during an economic high. The others Harding->Coolidge, FDR->Truman, JFK->Johnson were all because the former died in office, and so the next guy got the pity vote, or was just continuing his own administration. Throw on top an economic crisis under Bush, a media blatantly in the Democrat camp, a war that was going on too long, an old grumpy Republican versus an energized young minority Democrat, and it should have been a far bigger blow out than it was.

I was never an Obama fan, for reasons proven out over time. But when he won in 2008, I told some of my friends working on the campaign, "Good" and was sincerely not upset. They seemed shocked knowing my politics, but I explained that Truman lead to Eisenhower, Johnson lead to Nixon, Carter lead to Reagan, and Obama would definitely result in the huge Republican/Conservative backlash. If you want to destroy Democrats/Progressives, just give them everything they ask for -- and the public will be horrified. The lash will lead to backlash, and Obama was likely to result in a conservative revival the likes the world hadn't seen in generation. They were scornful at the time, and while I thought he would only be a one term President, it still proved completely prescient and almost embarrassingly obvious.

Obama had one history, and his past completely clashed with his campaign, and either was sort of a win. Let's call them realObama (Obama from his books and "accomplishments") and fakeObama (what the Campaigner promised).

Fake Obama Real Obama
FakeObama was this confidence artist offering the impossible: fixing our healthcare without it costing a dime in deficits, spending trillions on social programs while balancing the budget, all while promising to be a loving uniting moderate force-feeding radical reform on everything, without upsetting anyone. RealObama was an unaccomplished divider that slacked into our best colleges on an affirmative action ticket, and varied from completely forgettable in Columbia, to popular but unremarkable in Harvard, community organizing, or Illinois Senate, and he'd only parlayed that in the national senate based on being a pawn to the most questionable associates in the dirties state that almost always ranks dead last.
If FakeObama governed, he was going to be a second term Bill Clinton moderate, who wouldn't do or hurt much (and stood a better chance of handing the reigns to another Democrat), but that moderate centrist also wouldn't be the radical change agent or be able to deliver a fraction of what he promised... and that would teach the generation that over-hype and over-promises of the left were nothing but hot air in an empty chair. If realObama governed, he was going to going to be an inept and forgettable President (a community organizer) that pushed too hard on the wrong things using a cult of personality instead of competent policies, that would made things worse, alienated the other side, deadlock everything, and he'd burn out quickly, and be nothing but an empty chair. The consequences of his policies would quickly be erased/fixed by the next guy as they became another "new deal" that had no hope of succeeding more than the last 3 had, and he'd teach a generation the hard lessons of progressive overreach.

Or course, there's some combination of both, but the Obama we got looked far less like the FakeObama (the Campaigner) than the Democrats had promised, and far more like the RealObama that the right expected and warned against. What we never got close to was the delusion that the left saw Obama as -- someone that united us, got things done through charm and consensus or anything close to persuasion or compromise. Of course the left blames the right for that, but if he was 1/2 the leader they promised, he could have succeeded, so excuses (and finger pointing) are the refuge of failures. So I sort of knew or at least suspected that America would get nothing but Jimmy Carter in blackface. None of his ideas were that new: they all sounded like what Carter (or other Democrats) promised/did, and didn't work whenever they've been tried. A prettier face and a little more charm than Carter wasn't going to change his destiny to lose a fight with a swamp rabbit of his own making. He seemed way too self absorbed to be able to make a good history, and he had no long term friends or allies of any repute to show he could build relationships, let alone relationships across party lines. So he didn't disappoint me, just all his followers.