It looks as if we have officially entered the world of the post-Obama presidency. President Obama’s recent speeches and remarks make it obvious that he is not making any serious effort to govern or to drive world events. Except for covering the basics, he seems to have taken something like an early retirement.
We can look back at his West Point speech, which may go down in history as his first post-presidency speech and the endpoint of an Obama foreign policy. During that speech, the president’s reflections on his foreign policy consisted of making excuses and trying to explain himself instead of conveying any forward-looking policy.
In a campaign-style event last week, the president revealed even more of a state of mind that suggests he has checked out. He told the audience that he is “finding lately that I just want to say what’s on my mind.” That sounds more like an idle comment from a retired, unengaged former president than something a president in command would say. Obama then went on to petulantly declare that the reason for his failures is that Republicans “don’t do anything except block me. And call me names.” Can you imagine any other president in our history making that excuse? Remember, President Ronald Reagan had a divided government every day he was in office, but he still managed to work with Congress to pass major legislation.
And on Monday, the president made a speech declaring that he would be issuing more executive orders on immigration because “our system is so broken, so unclear, that folks don’t know what the rules are.” Was he talking about Obamacare? Anyway, his statement was ironic coming from a man who treats the law as mere guidance. As I’ve said, an executive-order presidency actually suits Obama, especially in his state of early retirement. He doesn’t have to convince anyone of anything; his staff writes the orders and he can just sign them and pivot to making a speech in front of an adoring crowd.
It is one thing to be a lame duck and struggle to be effective; it’s another to just quit trying. It’s alarming to think this president has two more years in office. Let’s all hope for the best.
Ed Rogers is a co-host of The Insiders blog, offering commentary from a Republican perspective. He is also chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with Haley Barbour in 1991.