Obama might speak out as a former POTUS? Bad idea


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.

Follow your boss’ lead, 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.

3 thoughts on “Obama might speak out as a former POTUS? Bad idea”

  1. President Obama is not just the current President of the United States, he’s also a Nobel laureate. As a president, he stands in direct opposition to the policies being put forward by the President-elect and is a powerful symbol of, and speaker to, the issues of reason, diplomacy, fairness and equity in America. I feel he has a right, when he becomes a private citizen, not to abandon the causes he fought so long and so hard for during his tenure and, indeed, his whole adult life. I can’t imagine a better man to help fight the hard battles we face to preserve our union.

    1. Agree with you. My point, though, is that the world is full of like-minded individuals who can continue that important fight. I just don’t believe the immediate past POTUS needs to join the chorus.

      1. I understand, John. My reasoning, though I may not have expressed it clearly, is that his standing as a past president and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate makes him uniquely qualified, if not required, to speak out on these critical issues. Few individuals I can think of have his gravitas or his (non-hysterical) reasoned responses to current issues. (An example would be his recent interview with David Remnick for the New Yorker.)

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