Maybe Obama won’t go away
Saturday, December 17, 2016 9:25 AM
For more than a year, I have had several bets going and made several statements asserting that perhaps President Obama will not vacate the White House on Jan. 20, 2017 if the incoming occupant does not meet with his approval.
January 20th has not come yet, but all indications are that President Obama will comply technically with the requirement to vacate and I will need to pay up. OK. That’s the way it goes.
Recently, however, it appears that rather than disappearing from the scene, Citizen Obama plans to keep an active presence before us through the miracle of modern communications and a compliant media. There has even been talk of Obama lending his name to a new media company.
This will, in effect, keep Obama in the game and make him a good foil for the Left to use to attempt to undermine President Trump. Not that they need a foil – they can do the job quite well on their own. Just look at this story from The New York Times on Dec. 2 titled “An Experienced Choice for the Pentagon.”
It is a story about General James “Mad Dog” Mattis. The first sentence in the second paragraph reads: “If confirmed, General Mattis could bring a voice of reason to a White House that will be led by a dangerously ignorant president who has so far shown too little interest in opposing views.”
In the same edition, The New York Times feels compelled to headline a story “How Trump’s Calls to World Leaders are Upsetting Decades of Diplomacy.” In this story, the NYT breaks down many contacts President-elect Trump has had with world leaders and why they are all wrong and dangerous. Thank you, NYT, for forming our opinions for us.
Put former President Obama in a place where he has a pen and a phone and he will make more noise than ever. And if you think he used the pronoun “I” too much before, just wait.
It is going to be interesting, for Trump has already shown his competency and command of the media himself. He ran a very economical campaign because the media gave him the airtime he needed. They thought they were expending all this free time making fun of him, but he had the last laugh – he won the election. Then he called them all in for a session where, they thought they were going to get a pass and he was going to discuss access during his administration. Instead, he took them to the woodshed.
The only mistake he made in the two days the media was the subject of the media a couple of weeks ago was when he agreed to go to the New York Times' offices. I would never have gone to the enemy’s turf.
Going forward, Trump is going to ignore the traditional media. They may tag along if they like, but he knows how to tweet and he knows how to make YouTube videos. Watch the mainstream media – they will be playing catchup throughout the Trump tenure.
And this will give Obama a platform. The media will be embarrassed that they can never break breaking news on Trump – they will have to find people to react to his tweets and his videos in order to have breaking news. Obama will be the lifeblood of the ersatz breaking news. They will make Obama the breaking news story as he reacts to Trump.
Watch for Trump to drastically alter the daily news briefing from the White House. Why does it exist other than to accommodate technology? It is old fashioned and out of date. If Trump uses it, it will be to his advantage for sure. If he sees no value, he will stop it.
This will be another opening for former President Obama. I predict a major news channel (maybe his own?) will build him a set strangely similar to the White House Briefing Room. From there he will hold court, perhaps not daily, but frequently enough to appear routine to the average observer.
There are two objectives at play here. One is for Obama to stay relevant. He has been on the stage too long and will be loath to leave it. He likes to talk about himself too much. He will want to defend his legacy as best he can.
The second will be for the Progressive Left to make inroads in Congress in 2018 and win the White House in 2020. Obama is on board for this as well.
Yes, Mr. Obama may lay his head down every night in some mansion not at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but there is no way he is leaving the stage.
Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.