Dismantling the Obama Legacy: Governed by Personal Passions?
I was just contemplating a phenomenon that various people have observed: that Trump seems to have a deep-seated urge to dismantle everything he can about the Obama legacy. Again and again, he seems to operate by the maxim, “If Obama implemented it, I’m going to stomp it into the dust.”
(One even hears as an answer to the question, “Why didn’t Donald Trump stick with tradition and re-appoint Janet Yellen to head the Fed, since by all accounts she has done an excellent job?”: Yellen was appointed by Obama, and for Trump that is reason enough not to re-appoint her.)
Obama, of course, should be absolutely irrelevant to Trump’s decisions. Trump is the pilot now, and he should be choosing our direction based on where the nation should go.
But it’s clear that, for Trump, Obama remains all too relevant. It seems that Trump is driven by some strange personal passion directed against his predecessor. (Is it because Obama was America’s first African-American president? Is it because Obama once deftly humiliated him at the National Press Club dinner?)
(But it should be noted, it was Trump who made war first. Obama’s skewering of Trump in his stand-up comic talk at that dinner occurred only after Trump had become the leading purveyor of the racist birther lie– i.e. that ugly weapon the Republicans were using to delegitimize Obama’s presidency in the eyes of a Republican base already so crazed that they could be led to believe even something so incredible.)
The war against Obama was the route that Trump thus chose as the way to gain standing with a highly toxic part of the Republican base.
Now that Trump is president, his war against Obama continues. What is changed is that now Trump can wield the powers of the presidency to strike at Obama. Wielding executive actions, he has set about dismantling Obama’s accomplishments. like a vindictive conqueror gratuitously burning down the city that he has just conquered in battle.
It would seem that some sort of emotional need drives Trump’s war, because there’s no way that his campaign makes rational sense in terms of the president’s task of serving the good of the nation.
When Personal Passions Prove Powerful Enough to Create an Unnecessary War
And then it occurred to me that this picture presents something very alarming– given that Donald Trump is the commander-in-chief of American forces, and given that his conduct as President has led people to worry more than they have since the 1980s about the frightening possibilities that there might be a nuclear war in our future.
What is alarming is what Trump’s perverse War on Obama suggests about his decision-making: that Trump can make decisions of consequence to wage war for his own emotional purposes.
Which raises the disturbing question: Is it possible that Trump might make a decision for war against North Korea on some equally inappropriate a basis — involving his own personal, ego-needs — as must be involved in Trump’s drive to continue his war on private citizen Obama?