Along with former President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama is one of my favorite presidents since I’ve been old enough to vote. However, unlike many presidents before him, President Obama seems to want to go into his presidential retirement with a fiery agenda.
Sitting down in a lengthy interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Obama said:
“There are things that in some ways I suspect I’m able to do better out of this office… (because of) institutional constraints there are things I cannot say.”
Obama goes on to clearly delineate between the responsibilities of the job as president and his personal beliefs. He tells celebrated historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, that his institutional obligations have to be carried out in spite of issues he cares most deeply about.
This sounds like a man who will not go into his presidential retirement quietly, or lightly. Obama seems unwilling to be relegated to whiling away his days on vacation property in sunny and slower parts of the country.
It’s an exciting proposition. One where his influence can still be felt politically and civically, on a national level and around the world.
In the thorough interview Obama did with Goodwin, the president goes into how history has played a large role in guiding his presidency.
As well, President Obama suggests what we need to look for in future presidents. Doris Kearns Goodwin asks him this:
“So, that brings us to the question of temperament, which is probably the greatest separator in presidential leadership … How would you describe your temperament and why it’s fit for this office if, in fact, you think it is?”
Obama responds with:
“Well, whether it’s fit for this office or not is up to historians like you to determine. I think it’s fair to say that my temperament is – steady – and on the buoyant side.”
Goodwin then asks this:
“So when you think about the importance of that part of temperament in a president, how do you view what’s happening with Donald Trump right now?”
Obama answers with this:
“Well, you know, I see Trump as a phenomenon of an expression of certain fears, certain resentments, that have been a running thread in American history… But there is a reason why George Washington is always one of the top three presidents… It’s because he knew when it was time to go. And he understood that part of the experiment (of democracy) we were setting up was this idea that you serve the nation and then it’s over, and then you’re a citizen again. And that ‘office of citizen’ remains important, but your ability to let go is part of the duty that you have.”
I can’t wait to see what Obama has in store for us once he enters the ‘office of citizen’ in 2017.
Check out this hilarious video President Obama did for his final Correspondents Dinner:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.