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Douglas Andrews / Nov. 19, 2020

Obama's Come a Long Way From 'Hope 'n' Change'

In his wordy new memoir, the former president tells us how disappointed he is with us.

It’s been a busy week for kingmakers. James Clyburn, the man who single-handedly breathed political life into Joe Biden’s corpse in the South Carolina primary, was out there comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. And Barack Obama, the man most responsible for the political life of our current president, was out there lamenting how disappointed he is with the rest of us.

But don’t fret: As our 44th president tells us, “I’m not yet ready to abandon the possibility of America.”

Whew. Big of him. But we can’t let our guard down. He’s still waiting “to see if we can actually live up to the meaning of our creed. The jury’s still out.”

Perhaps you’ve heard: Obama has a new book out, a third memoir titled A Promised Land, and he’s deigned to sit for a few friendly interviews to hawk it. For those keeping score, this one weighs in at 2.4 pounds and a door-stopping 768 pages — nearly as long as his previous two memoirs combined.

Our former president laments a lot of things, including the election of his successor by 63 million racists — a successor whom he claims “promised an elixir for the racial anxiety” of “millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House.”

Those racist rubes were prey, he says, to “the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican party — xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward black and brown folks.”

They’re odd, though, Obama’s obsessive claims of racism. Perhaps some therapy is in order. After all, this irredeemably racist president of ours did pretty well with non-whites two weeks ago. As Josh Hammer put it, “For four years now, Democrats and their media allies have tarred President Trump as a reprehensible white supremacist leading a dying party. The Trumpian, populist GOP, they claimed, was doomed to become a regional rump party, whose electoral prospects were tied to a shrinking share of bitter, downscale whites. … Team Trump and Republicans nationwide made unprecedented inroads with black and Hispanic voters. Nationally, preliminary numbers indicated that 26 percent of Trump’s voting share came from nonwhite voters — the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960.”

Beyond the native racism of the American people, Obama admits to having been caught off guard by the media that exists beyond his mainstream Praetorian Guard. “Part of what I write about is the degree to which the media changes in a way that I did not fully anticipate,” he told Oprah Winfrey during a cupcake of an interview. “You couldn’t even see it, but it started just as I’m getting elected — the importance of mainstream, the old network. Walter Cronkite, Nightly News, New York Times, Washington Post, them being sort of the curators and the gatekeepers for what’s acceptable and what’s not.”

Indeed. We’ve never seen a president treated so harshly by the media. It’s a wonder he made it through eight years.

If you’re thinking of buying the book, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s bargain-priced at $45 — which, at around 300 words per page, works out to around 5,000 words per dollar. Like we said, bargain priced.

Kidding aside, Obama claims to have written it “for young people — as an invitation to bring about, through hard work, determination, and a big dose of imagination, an America that finally aligns with all that is best in us,” but he clearly priced it for their well-heeled parents.

To this point, Obama served as president for eight years, and he’s now apparently worth some $40 million. But isn’t he the guy who once said, “I do believe, at a certain point, you’ve made enough money”? Why, yes, he was. Clearly, $40 mill isn’t enough money. Near as we can tell, Obama’s only source of income aside from the $400,000 annual salary he drew as president is the money that others have been paying him to talk about himself — either through books or speeches or Netflix deals.

Is this a great country or what?

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