Well, if you thought that January 2017 would be the end of the Obama imprint on American politics, think again. Yes, he’ll be gone. Yes, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Yes, he’ll be working with a Republican Congress. But Barack Obama won’t be too far away, and he said that he’s probably going to head back into trenches to oppose Trump once he makes his exit:
President Obama is rethinking his plans to withdraw from the political arena after he leaves office next year, hinting to friends and supporters that he wants to add his voice to the shellshocked Democratic activists and elected officials who are now angrily vowing to oppose Donald J. Trump’s presidency.
White House aides say they expect the president to try to refrain from criticism during the transition because of his belief in the importance of a courteous and dignified transfer of power. But while the president holds out hope that he might influence Mr. Trump, he has made it clear that once out of office he will not remain silent if Mr. Trump goes too far in undoing his legacy.
“I’m going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen,” Mr. Obama, who will be living a few miles from the White House next year, told a meeting this past week of Organizing for Action, the group that maintains his political movement. “But that’s not so far off.”
Dozens of liberal advocacy groups, which have received a flood of donations and new members in the chaotic days since Mr. Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, are gearing up for years of clashes with Mr. Trump. After eight years of advocacy on behalf of the Obama agenda, they are racing to recast themselves as bulwarks against Mr. Trump’s expected assault on an array of Democratic policies.
Now, let’s not be shocked by this. This is Professor Obama, folks. He probably would’ve taken a few weeks off, then lecture the rest of the world about how America sucks if Clinton had won the election. Obama was never going to retreat into the dens of solitude the way George W. Bush did after 2008. Allahpundit had good reasons why Obama is going to be different: a) he’s our first black president, so him being the first at bat, leaving out Congressional Democrats, to take a swing at Trump’s supposed assault on American civil rights; b) he’s popular; and c) the media still loves him. That’s the perfect recipe for Obama to launch an assault against Trump should the time call for it. And it’s going to happen, given that the GOP is set to repeal his Affordable Care Act that has done nothing but brought premium hikes and economic misery to America’s working class.
Also, in another round of firsts, Obama took unprecedented steps to drag Hillary Clinton across the finish line to victory; he failed. So, as a makeup, and as a favor to his party, he sort of needs to stay in the game—much to our annoyance—to possibly increase his party’s chances of possibly retaking Congress in 2018. Popularity, friendly media, and someone who actually resonated with enough working class voters to ensure that these rural counties, which mostly flipped this cycle, didn’t run up the margins when he ran against Romney in 2012. Additionally, it also sort of helped Obama that Romney was considered an alien by these folks, or worse—a representation of the people who had laid them off. If a Trump administration fumbles the ball, doesn’t honor its promises, especially when it comes to manufacturing jobs, then Obama would be a great surrogate for Democrats hitting the midterms in the Rust Belt areas. After all, these folks are not die-hard Republicans; they’re swing voters much in the vein of the Ross Perot army, who will boot Trump in four years if he turns out to be a disappointment. I think Trump knows this. I think Republicans know this. They control this town now. Not being able to deliver is no longer the fault of Obama or Harry Reid. The onus is now on them. At the same time, Trump supports government-mandated childcare, closing loopholes in our tax system, and shifting the party away from a free trade disposition. It’s a sign that this year’s GOP was comprised of a more blue collar base, where childcare is an area of concern and free trade is blamed for the bleeding of American jobs. How will the GOP establishment make peace with that rift?
It could lead to a Boehner situation, where more Democrats support the Trump agenda than Republicans. Yet, should Trump be successful in some of the cornerstones of his agenda, despite some Republican opposition, which is most likely going to come from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and the like, then it could be an odd situation indeed with Obama and Trump possibly campaigning for their respective allies on the Hill, albeit supporting some of the same things. The GOP base’s collar got bluer for this upcoming session of Congress and that momentum which swept them into power could very well shift to the Democrats in two-to-four years. It’s something to be considered, but for now—all eyes are on Trump, his agenda, and his appointments. We’ll see when Obama gets back into the swing of things, but it’s coming. It’s definitely on his to-do list.