Barack H. Obama seems to have found his second wind as a private citizen. Same with Michelle Obama.
The two of them hardly ever are photographed without big smiles on their faces. The former president is enjoying his time away from the spotlight, as is the former first lady.
Oh, this fills many of us with wistful thoughts. If only we could get him back. That can’t happen. The U.S. Constitution limits presidents to two elected terms. Barack Obama did his time. Now he’s out among some of us.
Sure, he’s making a ton of scratch making speeches. He is kicking a lot of his post-presidential income back to community projects near and dear to his heart. He is following the course set by many of his predecessors.
George W. Bush has taken up painting, has biked with wounded veterans (including in Palo Duro Canyon) and has opened his presidential library in Dallas; Bill Clinton is hard at work on his Clinton Global Initiative Foundation, also making speeches and getting mixed up in politics from time to time; Jimmy Carter builds houses for Habitat for Humanity and teaches Sunday school in Plains, Ga.; George H.W. Bush is in poor health, but he, too, enjoys retired life.
I suppose it would tempting for Obama to fire back at his successor, Donald Trump, who seems to need a foil; he relishes the notion of dismantling many of his immediate predecessor’s successes and he does so while firing off broadsides via stump speeches and tweets.
Therein lies one of the many differences between Obama and Trump. The current president simply cannot stand being criticized; the former president might not like it, but he maintains his silence … mostly.
As much as I would like to have Barack Obama back in command of the situation, I know — and appreciate — his sense of freedom from the rigors of serving in the nation’s highest public office.
I wish him well. I also hope he doesn’t disappear. Many of his countrymen and women still enjoy listening to his soaring rhetoric far more than the trash talk that pours forth from the guy who succeeded him.