Obama's Sand Castle
His interview with "60 Minutes" reveals more about his own perspective of himself.
On Sunday, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired its exit interview with Barack Obama as they reminisced on his time in office. As the interview went on, it became increasingly clear that Obama rarely second guesses himself or his decisions. When asked what surprised him most upon taking office he answered, “I was surprised and continue to be surprised by the severity of partisanship in this town.” Seriously? The number one contributor to the partisanship over these last eight years has been Obama.
As Charles Krauthammer commented, it was Obama who tried to govern the nation by pushing a hard “social democratic” agenda onto “a country that is 80% non-liberal.” That’s a recipe for partisan gridlock if ever there was one. And yet Obama remains mystified as to how to “crack the code” of the nation’s polarization.
Ironically, the answer Obama gave to a question on how he would advise Donald Trump provides the solution to “cracking the code.” Obama said, “The one thing I’ve said to [Trump] directly — and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country — is just make sure that, as we go forward, certain norms [and] certain institutional traditions don’t get eroded, because there’s a reason they’re in place.” If only the constitutional scholar had taken his own advice and the Constitution seriously.
In one of the more telling moments, interviewer Steve Kroft asked if Obama regretted his “red line” statement warning Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons on his own people. Instead of owning the fact that it was a mistake because he never followed through, Obama obfuscated, hemmed and hawed and then, incredibly, said, “Regardless of how it ended up playing, I think — in the Beltway, what is true is Assad got rid of his chemical weapons.” Talk about revisionist history. Certainly, Obama doesn’t want to own his mistakes and miscalculations, but fortunately that’s not something he gets to decide for himself.
So, what should one think of Obama’s time in office? Of course opinions will vary, though Krauthammer put it well, saying that Obama may have done a lot, but his accomplishments are “all built on sand.”