A king is no king without a court, and Obama has not lacked for lackeys. The system of checks and balances is written into the Constitution, but it is the everyday behavior of Americans of good will that makes the system work.
That system broke down under Obama, and the blame starts with the media. By giving the president the benefit of the doubt at every turn, by making excuses to explain away fiascos, by ignoring corruption, by buying the White House line that his critics were motivated by pure politics or racism, the Times and other organizations played the role of bartender to a man on a bender.
Even worse, they joined the party, forgetting the lessons of history as well as their own responsibilities to put a check on power. A purpose of a free press is to hold government accountable, but there is no fallback when the watchdog voluntarily chooses to be a lapdog.
The sycophancy was not lost on other politicians and private citizens. Taking their cue from the media, they, too, bit their tongues and went along as the president led the nation astray and misread foreign threats.