Barack Obama enjoys a plus ninety percent approval rating with Democrats. With such a high approval rating with his base (rivaling Trump’s own approval rating with his own), you would think that Obama’s legacy would be “infallible” or at least critiqued with profound context. Yet, in the race to be the most “woke,” it’s been quite the contraire. Even pundits have questioned why some are running against Obama’s legacy or why Obama’s critique of the twitter “firing squad” is met with a visceral “firing squad,” ironically on twitter. This very loud, but small, reaction makes me question, are these reactions due to broken promises? (Guantanamo Bay anyone?) No. Is it due to a complete change in Obama’s beliefs or “ideology”? No. That never happened. It’s due to a complete misunderstanding of who Obama is and what he is all about. He’s been the same person the ideological Left has refused to officially meet and accept.
Yes, the party has moved further Left. And reflecting on Obama’s legacy from a farther Left point of view, many may feel betrayed. But they shouldn’t. Obama never campaigned or promised “Big Structural Change.” The “Change” he was preaching for was more aspirational than a concrete promise. As he stated after winning, “This is not change — this is a chance for change.” David Gregen to further note, “He understands that this is an opportunity, it’s not change itself.”
I didn’t grow up viewing things through ideological lens. Neither did my parents — religion was our ideology. However, as I look back and become more politically
woke aware, I realize that Obama never broke his promise to the Left because he never campaigned on far-left ideas that are popular today. In fact, if you look at his campaign through ideological lenses, we have no choice but to conclude that he is even to the right of the last Democratic presidential nominee (Hillary Clinton) on many issues. As has been noted by the experts, “Obama was the more conservative.” Need proof? Hillary Clinton’s campaign on governing, “It’s not a question of transcending partisanship. It’s a question of fulfilling it. …then we can move the country out of this Republican era and into a progressive Democratic era, for a long period of time.” Obama, “…there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America.” And there it is, Obama’s “change” was bipartisan. A theory he campaigned on and governed by since 2004.
Don’t get me wrong, I have legitimate gripes with President Obama. The push for bipartisanship has really put us at a lifetime of disadvantages. But is that a reflection of the Democratic electorate falling in love with the concept of unity? Or is it the pressure of the first Black president to act in a manner that isn’t “radical” or “threatening” to the American public (aka wypipo)? Maybe, it’s both.
His excessively conciliatory manner often leaned heavily into (here comes another “woke” concept) respectability politics. For instance, at a Morehouse graduation ceremony, which to many is considered the upper echelon of Black education, he seemed to criticize Black men for bad decisions rather than congratulating them for overcoming obstacles their white counterparts didn’t have to face. Nevertheless, this Cosby-esque form of respectability politics isn’t anything new from our Black Boomer president. After all, this is the talented-tenth Morehouse here.
Well, if Obama never campaigned on far-left notions and even had old guard views, how is it that the Left now view Obama as a finger-wagging fraud? Maybe it’s the public perception of Black candidates being more liberal than they actually are? But there was literally nothing about Obama the evoked revolution. Hell, there was even a public backlash to a satirical piece in the New Yorker with Obama fist-bumping Queen Michelle Obama with a blown-out afro. (That image was more of an indictment of the Right’s perception of Obama than on the Obama presidency.) Or maybe it was the naivety of the many believing in a post-racial America since they elected America’s first “magical negro”? Well, he never promised such things and the weight of being the first Black president would probably never allow him to achieve those things. Therefore, any critique of Obama’s tenure and legacy from a radical Leftists/ideological perspective with a strong sense of betrayal is null and invalid. As the famous Maya Angelou quote goes, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” And Obama has always shown us who he is. I guess the “wokies” just never believed him.