After leaving office, Obama may enjoy an unusually strong surge in support. His presidency makes a potentially great story: the first African-American in the White House, who helped the country recover from recession and ended two wars. Obama’s tale fits neatly into the overarching American narrative of expanding liberty. That rosy story has been lost amid the grinding business of government. But after 2016, hope and change could make a comeback. To support Obama after 2016 will be to embrace racial progress, to feel good about one’s country and oneself…

Obama has been a good president. But he could be a great ex-president. With his intelligence, calmness, and good humor, together with his strong and attractive family, he’s a natural fit for the roles of memoirist, humanitarian, professor, and elder statesman.

By the end of the decade, Obama’s personal approval ratings could be 60 percent or higher. Historians may place him toward the top of the all-star rankings. Interestingly, more people may claim they voted for Obama than actually did vote for him. Pollsters routinely find that people misreport their behavior in a bid for social desirability. In the 1964 presidential election, for example, Lyndon Johnson won a crushing victory over Barry Goldwater. Afterward, the number of Americans who admitted voting for Goldwater was 6 percent shy of the real figure. If there’s a wave of Obama nostalgia, expect some non-voters, or even John McCain and Mitt Romney supporters, to say they backed the first African-American president.