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Whitewashing the Black President's Legacy

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

As President Barack Obama's White House days run out, it's time for his obsequious courtiers in the liberal media to announce his glorious "legacy." On Dec. 7, CNN devoted a two-hour prime-time special to the Obama legacy. It was hosted by Fareed Zakaria, a journalist whom Obama had invited to the White House so he could soak in Zakaria's wisdom and expertise -- in other words, so he could flatter a journalist into giving him softball coverage.


Mission accomplished.

Just as it began nine years ago, Zakaria started by celebrating the president's race, the gauzy references to Kenya and Kansas fusing into one glorious body. Forget what Obama did . The first legacy was simply who he represented.

And for that he'd been victimized. In CNN's eyes, Obama's central crisis was the "fierce, unrelenting opposition" of Republicans and their latent racism. Obama's former senior adviser David Axelrod claimed, "It's indisputable that there was a ferocity to the opposition and a lack of respect to him that was a function of race." CNN pundit Van Jones agreed, saying, "I can't name one thing that this Congress supported this president on in eight years!" The left never had the intellectual nuance (or the political decency) to acknowledge that one could oppose Obama because he's a socialist. Period.

At the show's end, Zakaria concluded: "Presidential legacies also exist above and beyond laws and policies. We remember John F. Kennedy for energy, vitality, elegance and intelligence that he brought to the White House. And in that sense, Obama has left an indelible mark.

"He and his family occupied the White House with dignity, grace and good humor. He ran an administration that was largely scandal-free ... and did it all the while under a microscope because he looked different."


At a time when liberals are warning about the democracy-gutting potential of fake news, there is no faker news than the declaration that Obama's time in office was largely scandal-free. In the two-hour special there was no mention of Benghazi or IRS harassment, and no time given to Solyndra or Operation Fast and Furious. Some scandals -- the failure of Obamacare, the courting of Islamist Iran -- were cast as "signature (achievements)."

How this network still includes the word "news" in the title is beyond us.

Most spectacularly, Zakaria didn't utter one word about the national debt. It almost doubled from $10 trillion to an inconceivable $19 trillion in just eight years. Obama fans complain that it's not all Obama's fault, but CNN and Zakaria didn't think that's a legacy, or at least as much of a legacy as, say, Obama holding a "beer summit" with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

The dourest note that Zakaria hit in the two hours was -- you guessed it -- that troublesome President-elect Donald Trump. He may erase much of what Obama thinks is his enormous legacy. Zakaria admitted that Obamacare has problems, but so what? He is so pro-Obama that it doesn't matter whether it's actually a complete failure. He said: "I would argue that even if Donald Trump finds a way to repeal and replace it, it remains a historic achievement. Barack Obama did what seven presidents failed to do -- he made health care a fundamental right. It's the signature achievement of a consequential president."


This is socialist logic. Enshrining a right to health care never guarantees comprehensive health care. Ask the people of Fidel Castro's Cuba. Hillary Clinton lost in part because working-class people couldn't afford -- and didn't want -- Obamacare. That is his legacy, too.

Conservatives will define Trump's success by measuring how many of Obama's failed policies are reversed, and whether untrammeled federal government overreach is slowed in any way. We can count on CNN to oppose that agenda every step of the way.

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