Government & Politics

Four More Years of Obama? At Least That Many.

He lays the groundwork for his post-presidential activism.

Allyne Caan · Jan. 12, 2017

Barack Obama faced the nation Tuesday night to announce his upcoming campaign. Oh, wait, that was his farewell address. Such a struggle to tell the difference. Far from bidding America the adieu we so desperately wanted — parting would have been far more sweet than sorrow in this case — Obama doubled down on his perpetual campaign and announced he’s not going anywhere. “I won’t stop,” he declared. “In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.”

And we were so close.

Presidents typically retire to their home states upon leaving office. Not this one. “Obama has no plans to quietly recede from the nation’s capital,” Mark Alexander wrote yesterday. “In fact, the Obamas will be taking up residence in a nine-bedroom mansion in the District’s most exclusive neighborhood, and you can be certain that he’ll be out on his front stoop stumping for his failed policies every time Trump endeavors to alter or abolish one of them.” Indeed, last March Obama threatened — er, promised — that America is “not rid of me yet, even after we’re done with the presidency.”

This doesn’t mean simply giving flowery speeches now and again. No, Obama is architecting a massive apparatus (think his Obama for America PAC on steroids) so he can pretty much campaign ad infinitum. In one sense, who can blame him? That’s about as long as it will take to try to salvage his disastrous legacy. Alright, let’s be real. Even eternity wouldn’t be long enough for that.

Still, Obama’s going to try. And here’s how he plans to do it.

First, he’s rebuilding Organizing for Action (OFA, formerly Obama for America). As Politico reports, “No longer about backing up Obama’s agenda in the White House, [OFA] will be a nexus for training activists and candidate recruitment. … [I]ts Chicago headquarters has been filling up with new hires, including several old campaign aides, who are planning to focus on the mechanics of campaigns, from running Obama-style persuasion programs, integrating data and running paid canvassing operations. Though the first goal is designing the program for what they’ll aim to make hundreds of workshops nationwide, there’s already talk about moving toward endorsing candidates.”

But one organization is hardly enough when your failed legacy is at stake.

So, second, there’s also the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), developed, again as Politico reports, in “close consultation with the White House.” NDRC’s name sounds innocuous enough, but its intent is far less so. Basically, NDRC wants to engineer the redrawing of legislative districts after the next census to ensure Democrats get in office. Of course, NDRC spins it more innocently. Its chair — none other than former Attorney General Eric Holder — said, “American voters deserve fair maps that represent our diverse communities — and we need a coordinated strategy to make that happen. This unprecedented new effort will ensure Democrats have a seat at the table to create fairer maps after 2020.”

The genesis of this spin — and of NDRC itself — is that Democrats love to cry “gerrymandered!” whenever election results don’t favor them, which, lately, has been often. Even when data shows voter sentiment, not district lines, is to blame for Democrat losses — well, as we know, facts don’t matter to the Left.

And for Obama, when the party you helm loses 1,000 seats nationwide under your steerage, you’ve got to find a scapegoat. Those doggone district lines are just the thing. So, as White House political director David Simas declared, “Where [Obama] will be most politically engaged [post-presidency] will be at the state legislative level, with an eye on redistricting after 2020.”

If it’s not redistricting, it’s Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, whom Obama’s blames for screwing up his messaging. Thus, there are rumors that Obama might launch some kind of news or information network. As if he doesn’t already have the entire Leftmedia Super PAC at his disposal. And he’s not without experience in this. Remember the short-lived and widely mocked “AttackWatch” website Obama for America launched in 2012?

Truth be told, party losses aside, Obama’s legacy among liberals is likely secure enough. After all, as The Washington Post predicts, despite any temporary liberal discontent with the outgoing Obama, “the mind gravitates away from remembering specific policies or events toward something more impressionistic.” Of course, for the Obama-adoring Post, such gravitationally induced policy amnesia has been pretty much immediate.

Still, Obama isn’t taking any chances. And while during his farewell address, he publicly calmed chants of “Four more years” with “I can’t do that,” internally, he was no doubt digging in his perpetual campaign heels, personalizing his campaign mantra, and forewarning, “Yes, I can.”

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