Barack Obama is sending some signals that he might not leave the public arena once his successor takes office.
The 44th president of the United States might keep speaking out even as the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, begins his term.
Let’s think for a moment about that.
OK. I’ve thought about it. It’s a bad notion. I hope the president rethinks his temptation to keep speaking out.
I have applauded two former presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — for their decisions to stay away from the rough-and-tumble. Both men have declared their intention to stay out of the limelight. They both have said essentially the same thing: They had their time in the arena; it’s time to cede the spotlight to someone else.
I was particularly pleased that George W. Bush remained faithful to that pledge, particularly while former Vice President Dick Cheney kept popping off about President Obama’s foreign policy decisions. I urged Cheney to follow his former boss’s lead: Keep your trap shut, Mr. Vice President.
Barack Obama’s time is coming to an end. He will have plenty of work to occupy his time while he returns to some semblance of a private life. He’s got a presidential library to plan and develop. He can set up a foundation that continues to speak to the issues near to his heart; the state of race relations comes to mind.
Should he provide post-presidential critiques of decisions that come from the man who’ll succeed him? I hope he keeps his thoughts to himself.
As many of his predecessors have noted, we have only one president at a time. The guy who’ll sit in the Oval Office will get plenty of hits from the rest of us out here in the peanut gallery.