Great line. Does anyone believe it? We elected a national savior from the left in 2008, now we’re weighing whether to elect one from the right. The guy making this point has expanded the powers of the presidency beyond even what George W. Bush was able to do, from intervening in Libya’s civil war without congressional approval to striking a nuclear deal with Iran without Senate ratification to issuing an unconstitutional executive amnesty of millions of illegals. He ordered a delay in the implementation of ObamaCare’s employer mandate and didn’t even pretend that he had the legal authority to do it. His second term has encouraged an insane yet seemingly widespread belief on the left that when Congress takes too long to act on the president’s priorities, he gains some sort of additional legal power to act in their absence. And he’s done all of this with the near-total acquiescence of members of his party, who believe, as partisans do, that their guy can be trusted with extraordinary power because his intentions are good. We do look to be ruled, as long as it’s our own side that’s doing the ruling. Given the intensity of partisan divisions, in fact, I’d say most of the public prefers a ruler. How else are you going to keep those jerks across the aisle in check?
But O got away with this because Trump is such a crass authoritarian (a “homegrown demagogue” as Obama put it, lumping him in with fascists, communists, and jihadists) that it’s irresistible to play the high-minded small-d democrat when drawing contrasts with him. That’s a decent play for anti-Trump votes of various stripes. But what about the great mass that cares less about who’s a demagogue than who’s going to bring back jobs? Byron York is right:
These are the wrong-track numbers for the last ten polls in the RealClearPolitics average of polls: 67, 70, 67, 71, 73, 69, 79, 68, 60 and 66.
And yet, in spite of clear evidence that a majority of Americans believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, the president exhorted the nation, “Thank you for this incredible journey — let’s keep it going.”
Obama spoke as if broad areas of American life are better than ever, even if there remains work to be done. When Obama said, “My time in this office — it hasn’t fixed everything,” the millions of voters who believe the country is on the wrong track might have seen that as a significant understatement.
The happy, prosperous, optimistic America that exists in Obama’s head must be a wonderful place to live. Or rather, I should say, the America that exists on his teleprompter: In his head Obama no doubt fully understands that Trump became viable politically because the last eight years weren’t good enough to enough people, just as his own viability became possible because of the manifest failures of the Bush years. Hopenchange helped craft an appetite for rule by Trump, inescapably. What you’re hearing here is a man who’s staring into the widening headlights of that legacy, knowing that his only hope of averting a crash is Hillary Clinton, and praying that he’s still persuasive enough to just enough people that he can will a decisive number of undecideds into believing this. Even when everyone knows it’s not true.