For all the gooey talk about President
What we can't measure, not completely, not yet, is the inspiration he's given to millions of people -- particularly to African-Americans -- who years ago couldn't dare dream that a black man would ever be elected president.
And we can't measure what his presidency has triggered in the minds and imaginations of the young. It's all part of his charm that offered hope for future generations, and the long lines of proud families waiting to see him speak Tuesday night in
But Americans have an obligation to assess the past, before the historians rewrite it all. And if you look back, you might remember that he was an unknown, presented to America as a transformational figure from
His mouthpieces from
And they offered him up as a messiah, though later his
And now, eight years later, consider:
And Trump will be the next president, having won a remarkable election in state after state by running an anti-establishment campaign of referendum, first against the Bush Republicans and later against Obama and his proxy,
You can talk about Obamacare as his legacy, although that will be undone. You can talk about the symbolism of his politics, but that will fade, at least in
But there is a part of his legacy that is just beginning: Trump.
Obama prepared the ground for him, watered and fertilized it with his failed and questionable policy, like Obamacare, which, according to Obamacare guru
And all the shrieking by the talented Meryl Streep and other theatrical personalities of the wounded left won't change this.
Disappointment follows him, too, a sense of things that could have been, but weren't, an understanding of promise unfulfilled.
Yet I don't think that's entirely all his fault. He had a willing partner in the American news media.
Mr. Obama understood what he was doing. His strategist,
And so Obama played the political messiah to defeat Clinton in 2008. And journalists were his apostles. All that pent up white liberal media guilt and childlike yearning was perfect for him and he knew it.
Yet with so many thrills running up and down the legs of American journalism, it all became just too much. A messiah wouldn't disappoint. But a man couldn't help but fall short.
And was Obama not compared, in glowing terms, to
"Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers," began an Obama profile written by
"The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games," wrote
Chiseled pectorals. Jesus.
No one could live up to all that, and to the president's credit, he understood this more than most.
Yet for all the media holy oil drizzled over his forehead by the high priests of American journalism, the fact was that Obama's passive-aggressive nature, honed in the
You could see it when he'd bow low to the emperor of
He could have done more for the inner cities, but that wasn't in his political DNA. He wasn't about to threaten
And he wouldn't challenge
He was a man from
He's still in the game.