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Not A Lot Of Comfort And Joy As Obama’s Legacy Starts To Go Dark

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Not A Lot Of Comfort And Joy As Obama’s Legacy Starts To Go Dark

Obama's legacy

I’m dreaming of a bleak Christmas, my mind full of the ways Barack Obama’s presidency is going down in history. Yes, with every Christmas card I write, as the song goes.

Here’s the thing making Republicans joyful and triumphant, and Democrats dark on the winter solstice: Obama left his legacy undefended on the field. There’s nothing to stop President-elect Donald J. Trump from knocking it down like a house of cards — with pleasure. With every appointment, he makes clear that Obama’s America is under lethal attack. He’s sending in the Marines to run the Pentagon; the CEO of Exxon, with ties to Vladimir Putin, to State; a critic decrying public education to Education; a doctor in the House who aims to dismantle Obamacare; and a climate change doubter to protect the environment.

Each one is a gift.

Give him this. President Obama had a fine arc since the summer of 2015, on foreign and domestic fronts. The Iran nuclear deal and singing “Amazing Grace” at the funeral for nine murdered black churchgoers signaled a greater confidence and command. Yes, I was a believer. The president would end his eight years on a high note, just as he came in, as the answer to our hopes and fears of all the George W. Bush years.

Yet besides the numbing loss of Hillary Clinton, his chosen successor, Obama has faced hard realities: Russian hacking to influence the election, not to mention the fall of Aleppo, Syria’s city in shambles.

James Comey, the FBI director, is our own heartless Ebenezer Scrooge for Christmas 2016. Charles Dickens, get me a rewrite for “The Christmas Carol.” Comey, a pious Republican when he was appointed by a Democratic president — Obama — may have caused the wings of the electorate to flutter just enough to halt Clinton’s closing momentum.

Comey made a big deal about new emails on Clinton’s private server, days before the election, giving a “misdirect” to the public. It turned out to be for nothing — naught! — except it hurt her in a close race. On a wild goose chase, Comey became immersed in the House Republican witch hunt of her, not staying true to the larger duty to the American people. Her enemies could not have scripted his moves better.

Even more egregious, the FBI made no good-faith effort to contact John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman, to tell him about Russian hacking of campaign communications, including his own. Come on. Podesta was outraged to find the FBI made one phone call that went to the help desk. If Comey were doing his job properly, protecting national security, he would have briefed Podesta in person, in the light of day, during the campaign. Comey spent too little time on the real thing, and too much on a false pursuit of Clinton inside the FBI brute of a building.

It kills me that Obama appointed a Republican to the 10-year FBI post. It flatters his vanity to be above the partisan fray. Preening has consequences, causing Obama to leave us with the House, Senate, Supreme Court and White House, all on the other side. I’m sorry, but that’s rough. And rare.

Back to writing Christmas cards. I search for the words to share with a couple in Baltimore whose golden son was paralyzed when he hit a sandbar in the summer in Cape May. I write how resilient they are, that I’ve thought of them often. And, I added, I hope they haven’t lost their faith.

I’m not religious, but play me Handel’s “Messiah” anytime — and my heart will leap when the trumpet sounds, after the chorus sings Hallelujah. My true faith was grounded in politics, in democracy, in the founders and framers. Now it’s shaken as never before. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, authors of the Constitution, played a cruel joke on us. It’s called the Electoral College.

Ironically, they conceived the high-minded system to check the worst impulses of the masses, if they should elect an unscrupulous crowd pleaser. They meant to prevent Donald Trump from taking high office. Instead, they prevented Hillary Clinton from her rightful place, given she won the people’s vote by nearly three million.

Oh, yes, President Obama’s last White House days will go “down” in history — this bleak midwinter. Merry Christmas.

To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

IMAGE: U.S. President  Barack Obama delivering a statement in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst



    1. Sand_Cat December 23, 2016

      Too stupid to even make up your own lies? Have to get our new “liar in chief” to do it for you? You’re just a bad joke.

      1. 1standlastword December 23, 2016

        I’ve blocked him so I can’t read that abuse. You should too! He has never said anything constructive and never will….nothing redeeming down there!

  1. Lone Star Ray December 23, 2016

    Sounds like someone needs a hug

    Remember? – “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” – President Obama to House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, January 23, 2009.

    Remember? – The Dem’s changed the rules three years ago, and only a simple majority is required for presidential appointees except of SCOTUS.

    1. Sand_Cat December 23, 2016

      Yep. When dealing with mindless and malicious obstruction of everything proposed, including GOP ideas and other attempts to work with them and change the toxic division in Washington, rational people sometimes find themselves forced to do dangerous things. Sounds like you need more than a hug. An education might help, but sounds like you were raised on the Gablers’ tripe.

  2. Bill Smith 999935 December 23, 2016

    Elections have consequences. I’ve been there.

  3. Jim Samaras December 23, 2016

    His “legacy” if that’s what you wish to call this failed community organizers policies could have been protected had he actually taken the time to go through congress to accomplish them. Instead he went by executive order knowing those policies would NEVER be passed through the legislature even though the dems controlled everything during his first 2 years. He has accomplished nothing and will continue to be a nothing and the best thing he could do for America is go away quietly

    1. Sand_Cat December 23, 2016

      Did you think that one up all by yourself, Mr. “Thinker”? Your characterization of the first two years is a lie, and not a particularly clever one (no surprise there). They had no chance of passing because they had to beat a filibuster by those who announced in the middle of a national crisis threatening to destroy the entire world economy – brought on by his predecessor, of course – that their number one priority – and only one, as it turned out – was to wreck his presidency, filibustering their own ideas he adopted in an attempt to work with them with as much hypocritical zeal and complete disregard for the welfare of the nation as they showed in rejecting Dem proposals.
      What a pathetic excuse for a “thinker” you show yourself to be in every post!

      1. Jim Samaras December 23, 2016

        You like that thinker thing huh? Are you gay?

        1. I Am Helpy December 23, 2016

          Homophobia such as yours directly corresponds to latent homosexuality. Embrace your sexuality, Closet Jim.

          I hope that helps!

        2. Sand_Cat December 27, 2016

          I love it. You think we share your homophobia, just as you’ve convinced yourself we’re as sneaky and dishonest as you are.
          You’re the “thinker,” by your own designation. No one with any brains would characterize you as such.

    2. dtgraham December 23, 2016

      The Ivy league constitutional law professor did try to work with Republicans in Congress those first two years. The ACA, Dodd-Frank, etc… did go through Congress in those first two years when he had the Democratic numbers, remember? He had to go by executive order after that because the GOP had taken a blood oath of denying him any success at all at the beginning of his Presidency. This has all come out now in books detailing that period, by authors like Michael Grunwald and Robert Draper. Replete with Republican quotes like:

      “For the next two years, we can’t let him succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back”.

      “If he was for it, we had to be against it.”

      “Our single most important goal is to make Obama a one term President.”

      I’ve no intention of doing so, but I could follow you around and tear apart your fact-free, senseless, posts all day.

    3. I Am Helpy December 23, 2016

      Yes, if only he’d listened to you neo-Nazi scumbags you would have not spent eight years trying to make America fail.

  4. 1standlastword December 23, 2016

    Mr. Obama is a decent family man with an exceptional moral fortitude. He’s still married to his first wife, he’s not diseased with a history of addiction to drugs and alcohol, he respects women as much as he does men and I believe he wanted to be everybody’s president: He showed us this over and over again just how much he “NEEDS” to be liked–even by his most ardent enemies who had nothing for him but venom! Even with them, he was patient, thoughtful, intelligent and polite: He’s just NOT a political animal! In fact I’m not convinced he even likes the business of politics.

    It makes sense that he was president after GWB in the same way it makes sense (to me in modern America) that Trump is president after him.

    The People wanted a ‘do over’ after the Bush/ Cheney administrations.

    The nation was pained immediately after the election of Bush and left in much worse pain at the end of Bush’s second term. Obama was the page turned over…a new chapter (?)….no better than that–a whole new book!!

    Obama’ greatest handicap was the whole time all he ever had was (1/2) the governing apparatus to working with him. The other half immediately turned against him and that compounded his many weaknesses and ultimately led to his many short comings and significant failures (the democratic party cracking-up being the greatest).

    The list of his weaknesses as an American POTUS start with race (a major diminishing factor in America) second his erudition (another major factor in America) and his natural authenticity, sense of fairness and equality and love of peace (all major handicaps for a modern American politician)

    With a perpetually hostile political environment nothing Obama accomplished could succeed and everything he tried to accomplished could only be done in half-measure and therefore only helpful to a minority of Americans while injurious to the majority: I’m thinking specifically of his healthcare reform initiative.

    His regulatory reforms were profoundly protective both in the immediate sense on the financial aspect and in the intermediate and long-term with industry.

    His foreign policy was disastrous! That said, it’s hard to envisage how any national leader could construct a foreign policy agenda that benefits our current world community which is why I think the human race is on the edge of a dangerous precipice near tumbling over into a major world war–that is the direction we’ve been going in for decades

    In the end, I feel bad that he was treated so bad. I can’t wait to read his tell all biography and I know history will not be kind to his political adversaries for the venom towards him and the injury they collective inflicted on the America People.

    Happy Corporate Holiday!

    1. Karenrsurber December 24, 2016

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  5. cschicago March 18, 2017

    Obama is a failure as president who divided this country by race, took it from 10 trillion to 2o trillion debt and lied to the american people about Obamacare saying you can keep your doctor and keep your plan. A narcissist in modern definition


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