As our 44th president continues holding court with reporters, you can almost hear Old Blue Eyes crooning in the background: “Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few …”
For someone who so obviously has loved being president, these have to be difficult days for Barack Obama. Like the athlete whose time to hang ’em up has come, he can milk his exit for all it’s worth, but he can’t forestall his inevitable goodbye.
He has reveled in the limelight, often in such outrageous fashion that you wondered if he was politically tone deaf. While bloody bodies were strewn by terrorist attacks in Brussels, our commander in chief was at a baseball game in Cuba, doing the wave with the reprehensible Raul Castro, after which he headed for Buenos Aires, where networks captured him doing a tango.
Watching him cavort evoked an image of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.
There he was again last month, yukking it up with Jimmy Kimmel, as if there were no other matters in need of his time, such as terrorism, or immigration, or a crippled economy.
Did it never occur to him that a significant segment of our voting population was becoming increasingly hungry for a no-nonsense leader, a chief executive who’d be like that proverbial tree planted by the water, the one whose roots ran so deep that it couldn’t be swayed by mighty gales.
Did he never sense that undercurrent of restlessness in America?
In fairness to him, how could he? He’s governed in a bubble of detachment, surrounded by star-struck admirers and fawning media, none of whom felt a responsibility to tell the emperor he was unclothed.
Even in this recently concluded campaign, our president seemed to believe he still possessed a magic touch, swinging from the heels in his excoriation of Donald Trump, assuring listeners that they could count on Hillary Clinton to extend his legacy.
Do you think it’s occurred to him, even for a moment, that she might have lost because of that assurance she would be a lot like him?
He thought he had coattails, but in terms of political influence he was wearing a tank top.
But he still loves being president, though he’s looking like the guest who doesn’t want to leave the party.
Gospel singer Jake Hess summed it up pretty well: “We have this moment to hold in our hand, and watch as it slips through our fingers like sand.”
That’s Barack Obama today, watching what he loves most as it’s slip slidin’ away.
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