Barack Obama is a eugenicist
Obama's autobiography allows a fresh look into the Oval Office
There are things that belong together. For example Barack Obama and "Yes, we can!". The bearer of hope and his slogan from 2008. The saying, Obama hides in his memoir, initially didn't appeal to him at all. The idea came from David Axelrod, the campaign strategist. It sounded cheesy to his ears until his wife Michelle, in whose ears the slogan didn't sound like kitsch at all, convinced him otherwise.
Almost four years after leaving the White House, the former president presents "A Promised Land", a book of memories in which he not only looks back on his political career, but also reflects critically. Sometimes as ironic in tone as if he had not been the main actor on the Washington stage, but an occasionally amused observer of the political scene with all its human weaknesses, all its vanities.
President is just a job too
He wanted to pull the curtain aside a bit and make it clear that the presidency is just a job - with successes, disappointments and tensions in a White House, in which crap is also sometimes built, as elsewhere. Obama also writes in straightforward frankness about the doubts that repeatedly befell him in office.
Time and again, he admits, he asked himself whether he was really the right person for the Oval Office. Whether he applied for an election office because he wanted to satisfy his ego. Whether he was jealous of the success of people who had achieved more. Whether he sacrificed his family for a career.
We know that Obama thinks carefully, values disputes, and calmly weighs the pros and cons. His appearances at the White House Correspondents ’Dinner, at which those in power have to prove their ability to ironically, have long been legend. Reflection and humor also run like a thread through his memoirs.
"Wisdom or Weakness?"
“What for?” He comments on the Nobel Peace Prize, which he was awarded in his first year in office. The honor shows him how high the expectations are and the gap between them and reality. In what precarious position he took over the helm of state after the crash of the financial crisis, he sums it up by reproducing what a friend says to him: The USA has been around for 232 years, he quotes him, "but they are waiting until the country falls apart before they entrust it to a brother ". With the brother, "a brother", the first black president is meant.
After the crash, Obama describes, he aimed for structural change, but his advisors advised against him - especially against holding those Wall Street bankers accountable whose casino mentality had caused the crisis. Leftist idealists did not like that, but in part the disillusionment was probably based on a misunderstanding. "I was a reformer, conservative in temperament. Whether I demonstrated wisdom or weakness, others may judge." The Republicans, whose course of deregulation contributed significantly to the collapse, would have unscrupulously begun to exploit a widespread feeling of helplessness.
It started with Sarah Palin
The arc that Obama draws extends from the beginning of his life as a politician to May 2011, until the moment he meets in Kentucky with the Navy Seals who stormed the Osama bin Laden estate in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In order to review what he has experienced with adequate attention to detail, he explains the time span, saying that a book is simply not enough. Originally around 500 pages were planned, now it has become 700 for the first volume alone, without his second term of office being taken into account. That will be dealt with later.
But what Obama is already scrutinizing is Donald Trump. And the fact that a New York building contractor, ridiculed by more serious competitors for his bragging rights, made the leap to the highest office of the state.
It started with Sarah Palin, the populist governor of Alaska, who ran for vice presidency in 2008. At that time it quickly became clear to him, writes Obama, that she had "the slightest idea" on any topic that had to do with governance. The vast majority of Conservatives, however, did not mind. Whenever there were doubts about Palin's competence, this was interpreted as "evidence of a liberal plot".
"Deep Rooted Fear"
He characterizes the total opposition of the Republicans, who were then even more unwilling to cooperate with him under the influence of the Tea Party, with the sharpness of the observer, who does not allow himself to be fooled by word bubbles. "This emotional, almost instinctive, reaction to my presidency had nothing to do with political or ideological contradictions. It was as if my presence in the White House had awakened an ingrained fear, as if my opponents believed that the natural order of things was dissolving. "
Trump, he adds, understood this when he claimed that Obama was not born in the United States and therefore not a legitimate president. "He promised millions of Americans frightened by a black man in the White House an elixir to treat their ethnic fears."
There is nothing where we can agree
By the way, says the 59-year-old - it is the first time the public has found out about it - of Trump's offers that were politely rejected. At one point, the entrepreneur suggested that the sealing of the well on the Deepwater Horizon platform, from which infinite quantities of oil leaked and contaminated the Gulf of Mexico, be left to him. Then again he offered to build a "beautiful ballroom" behind the White House.
The former president described the relationship with his successor in "60 Minutes" in an almost laconic brevity. Broadcast on Sunday evening, the interview with America's most renowned TV news magazine was part of the opulent advertising program for the book. There is one point where he certainly agrees with Donald Trump: "There is practically nothing we can agree on". (Frank Herrmann from Washington, November 17, 2020)
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