Call it over-reach, hubris, arrogance; call it what you will, but for all practical purposes Obama’s presidency and experimentation in transformative politics is over.
Oh sure; we’ll have four more years of strident rhetoric, of evasions, of ruses and stratagems.
Obama’s nothing if not persistent. He wants to be the guy who transformed America -in fact, moved it on the path toward the socialist, state-sponsored model of Europe. He might even be the guy who recognizes that only under a “dictatorship of the proletariat” or some modern version of it, will African-Americans enjoy anything like real power as a minority group that represents only about 13 percent of the population.
But his re-election didn’t change the fact that his power to change things is still limited right now.
Much of his presidency has been the story of Obama not being able to come to grips with that very fact. So instead of using the legitimate mechanisms granted a president to get things done, Obama pushes and bullies from above to try to accomplish what he can’t under the law.
No nation can undergo a permanent revolution from above. Especially a nation that essentially remains one of the most free, just and tolerant societies ever created. Eventually the 99 percent who aren’t bused-in, paid-to-protest, or paid to act as a political commissariat disguised as government employees, asks to be let alone.
At least that’s the way it works in America.
The United States of America today is not the turn-of-the-Century Russia of 1917.
It’s not even Victorian England.
It’s not even the United States of America of the 1950’s.
While racial and gender equality is not perfect in the US, nobody can argue with a straight face that, in the main, everyone doesn’t have a shot at the American Dream. Not an equal shot to be sure, but even Franklin Roosevelt understood that government couldn’t or shouldn’t protect everyone from all the circumstances that life brings.
Obama’s problem, then, essentially, is one that he readily recognizes: “This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my presidency,” said Obama in a moment that could have been sponsored by the Contemporary Freudian Society. “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the emperor of the United States.”
Yes, that is his problem, but it’s our problem too.