Soon-to-be-former President Barack Obama has been busy. He sprints through the final days of his term like a bargain basement, determined to have something significant Trump can’t undo. To that end, the president has devoted last week to bridge-burning with our allies.
It began when a UN resolution was passed that condemned Israeli settlements on the West Bank. The U.S. historically vetoed anti-Israeli bills like these but they didn’t this time. No explanation for the about-face on U.S. policy was given to the public, but Secretary of State John Kerry gave Israel a patronizing lecture that contained a few clues. “You can be Democratic or you can be Jewish, but you cannot be both,” he said. Note: This is the only documented instance of John Kerry saying anything interesting on record. Who cares if it’s nonsense?
Planned talks for a 2-state solution collapsed two years ago, and it didn’t trouble Obama until last week. His refusal to stand by Israel is more likely a byproduct of his icy relationship with Netanyahu.
Trump sent a tweet calling Kerry a traitor and inexplicably referring to him as “the worst import from Vietnam”. He appeared with Don King for a mini-press conference (because why not?), and the boxing promoter waved small U.S. and Israeli flags. Trump said relatively little about Kerry except his speech “spoke for itself.”
The Israeli government responded quickly: “We have ironclad information that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Secretary Kerry of supporting terrorism, which was unfairly harsh. Kerry doesn’t originate ideas or map out strategies. His only skill is reading in grave, statesman-like tones; he probably thinks the West Bank settlement is a condo community in Georgetown.
Let’s move on and I’ll remind you the media has been slowly, painfully advancing through the stages of grief ever since Clinton’s loss. They have been stuck in the Blame Phase for quite a while, unable to align on who is at fault, other than it definitely isn’t the candidate.
One new refrain that President Obama has even repeated is that Clinton lost because the media was too hard on her. Give. Me. A. Break. If you were conscious in 2016, we can agree the coverage was uniformly negative toward Mrs. Clinton’s opponent (“Trump is Hitler! The Sky is Falling!”) and ignored negative stories about the former Secretary or devoted disproportionately small coverage to them.
During the email hacking scandal, Democrats was successful in making the story “Who Hacked the DNC Email” instead of “Look at the Duplicity Exposed in the DNC Email”. Party officials immediately accused Russia of the hacking and tipping the election to Trump. Now 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred.
Why doesn’t the media ask a sensible question like, “Why do we have 17 intelligence agencies instead of one effective organization?” or “Didn’t these agencies also agree there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which allowed the Bush Administration to start a war on false pretenses?” The media’s concern about substantiating stories and requiring evidence apparently does not apply in this case.
Seemingly from nowhere, President Obama accused 35 Russian diplomats of spying and meddling with US elections. He sent them home, probably expecting Putin to reply in kind by expelling the US diplomats. The Russian president shrugged it off though and said he’d work it out with Trump, rendering Obama irrelevant. I don’t think he could have chosen a response that would have aggravated the president more if he had tried.
Remember, in addition to disliking Putin personally, Obama and Clinton were obviously moving toward a second Cold War with Russia.
Sometime amidst these diplomatic overtures, Barack Obama was interviewed by David Axelrod, host of the The Axe Files, and it was exactly the sort of raw journalism you would expect when the host interviews someone who pays him millions of dollars for political advice.
The president said he could’ve won a third term against Trump. CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Axelrod later how Obama thinks he could win a third term when the election was an angry reaction against elites. “He doesn’t accept the election was a verdict on him,” Axelrod said. So… maybe it was a verdict on the Democrat who did lose this election?
16 days until the inauguration, and it’s shaping up to be awkward. Barack and Michelle Obama will attend of course and so will the Clintons, as another former president and first lady. Will Hillary lose it during the ceremony?