Yes, yes, I know we should all wish that Obama’s post-presidency could begin right away, but setting that aside, I’ve been wondering for a while now what Obama will do after he leaves office. He’s still relatively young, and is likely to be around for quite a while. His announced intention to make his home in Washington DC is going to make for all kinds of delights.
My prediction: he’s going to be more outrageous than Jimmy Carter, and more egregious than the Clintons.
One reason he is going to be outrageous is that, from a far-left point of view, he is a disappointment. Recall my comment here the other day that the left’s current dyspepsia is a result of their panic that things aren’t going their way, that the world isn’t simply bowing down before the supreme goodness of the “Lightworker” Obama. So Obama is going to need to prove his bona fides with the left after he leaves office and the insatiable left tallies up their disappointments (and especially if we have a Republican president and a Republican Congress in 2017; they were supposed to rule unchallenged for a generation, remember?)
Exhibit one comes today from Thomas (What’s the Matter With Kansas?) Frank, writing at Salon:
. . . In the interest of restoring some balance to this tragic situation, allow me to kick off the speculation about the Obama legacy. . .
Another prediction that I can make safely is that the Obama Presidential Library will violate one of the cardinal rules of presidential museums: It will have to be pretty massively partisan. As I noted last week, presidential libraries usually play down partisan conflict in order to make the past seem like a place of national togetherness and the president himself like a man of broadly recognized leadership, but in order for Obama’s presidential library to deliver the usual reassuring message about himself, it will have to stand convention on its head. As president, Obama has been reluctant to take the reinvigorated right too seriously. But as legacy-maker, I predict that he will work to make them seem even crazier and more unstoppable than they actually are. . .
My own preference would be to let that disillusionment run, to let it guide the entire design of the Obama museum. Disillusionment is, after all, a far more representative emotion of our times than Beltway satisfaction over the stability of some imaginary “center.” So why not memorialize it? My suggestion to the designers of the complex: That the Obama Presidential Library be designed as a kind of cenotaph, a mausoleum of hope. . .
I must say this will be fun to watch.