July 1

It looks like 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.

President Obama (Olivier Douliery/Pool/EPA)
President Obama (Olivier Douliery/Pool/EPA)

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 because 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.  He certainly never whined about being called names by his critics. Neither did Bush 41, Clinton or Bush 43.

And just yesterday, 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 the man who treats the law as mere guidance. As I’ve said before, 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.

Finally, also yesterday at a goodbye party for the White House pastry chef, President Obama nonchalantly said that maybe his chef was putting crack in the White House pies.That quip was met with laughter and obviously some thought it was delightful, but I thought it was in stunningly bad form.  Our president now makes jokes about consuming crack? Really? I guess it’s just what’s on his mind.

Even some of the president’s original supporters here at home will tell you privately they are befuddled by the president’s actions and they have given up on expecting anything good. The latest example is the Billings Gazette’s reversal on their endorsement of Obama in 2008, saying “it’s the number of bungled or blown policies in the Obama administration which lead us to believe Obama has earned every bit of an abysmal approval rating.” Even those who endorsed the president feel compelled to say their endorsement is no longer warranted. The disappointment with this president is rampant.

It is one thing to be a lame duck and struggle to be effective; it’s another to just quit. It’s alarming to think this president has two more years in office.  Let’s all hope for the best.

 

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

 

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.