CHARLOTTE, N.C., January 3, 2017 — Pollster Frank Luntz has made a name for himself with his red line/blue line polls and town hall meetings on Fox News. Over the weekend, however, Luntz departed from his usual style and charged President Obama with “trying to settle scores before he leaves.”
Luntz is right. It would be surprising for our “in-your-face, trash-talking” chief executive to go out any other way.
What is surprising is that people like Rush Limbaugh still describe Obama as “likeable.” Limbaugh would say that he is only repeating what other people say, but the conservative talk show host has said that while Obama’s policies may be troubling, he is “personally likeable.”
That might make sense coming from the mouths of others, especially from Obama’s legion of supporters in the media, but when Limbaugh uses the word “likeable” to describe the president, it is difficult to fathom.
Luntz compared and contrasted the president’s last laps around the country with Donald Trump’s, saying that the president-elect had made a sincere effort to thank Americans across the nation for electing him.
Obama, on the other hand, continues the consistent oppositional petulance that has been a hallmark of his party since November 9, when the Republicans licked all the red off the Democratic candy cane.
Luntz said of Obama’s tour, “(I am) trying to figure out the right language so I don’t get fined by the FCC, a FU tour. I guess that’s the best way to put it.”
The press has been walking on egg shells since the election in its speculation about Obama’s reasons for throwing up his obvious, last minute obstacles to make the transition more difficult for Trump.
Even Fox will not directly say that Obama is having one final fling at the presidential podium, just to make sure everyone remembers he is still in charge until January 20th.
Consider America’s abstention on the UN Security Council’s Israel resolution. That was another slap in the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Obama. John Kerry’s speech after the vote was another spiteful effort to belittle Israel.
Obama made a double play when he told an interviewer that he would have beaten Trump if he had been running. He put down both Trump and Hillary Clinton during the same at bat.
The president has accused Trump of being inexperienced in foreign policy as though he, himself, was a world class diplomat when he took office. Obama may have been partially on the job for eight years, between rounds of golf, but it doesn’t appear that he has learned much during that time except how to be the mouth that roared.
This is just some of what we’ve seen under Obama’s fading leadership. There will be more to come, and it will not be helpful to the new Trump presidency or beneficial to America.
That is what makes the whole “likable Obama” idea so troubling.
Obama has had one thing on his mind since unlocking the White House door for the first time: how to make things better for him and his family when they leave.
It is hard to believe that the Obamas want to stay in Washington for the betterment of the country. Presidents leave Washington when they leave office in order to avoid interfering with the first critical months of a new administration and in order to avoid upstaging the new president. If the media cannot get to Trump, they will make a beeline to Obama to obtain the criticism of the new president they desire, and Obama will continue to hog the limelight.
George Bush got out of the way and kept his mouth shut when he stepped down. Obama will not be able to do the same, no matter how hard he tries, and he won’t try. It is not in his nature.
Journalists are already playing that game: “Trump said this and Obama countered brilliantly with that.” It won’t end.
There will be no honeymoon for Donald Trump, except perhaps, with the American people. He will make mistakes. He is human. And the press will attempt to crush him for it.
The Democrats do not get it. All the American people really want is for somebody to try to do what is best for this country instead of for themselves.
No matter how you slice it, whether you love Donald Trump or hate him, it will not make Barack Obama more “likeable.”
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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