Doing the Right Thing

It seems that President Obama finally woke up. His dream of “one America” – the fictional country he described in that famous speech of his – is just a memory as he strides into the final two years of his presidency, alone and unafraid.

The mild mannered professor stepped into a phone booth and emerged as a superhero.

Let the bad guys beware.

His decision to end the cruel and unfair Cuban embargo has enraged the American supremacists who have mistreated Latin America for so long, supporting bloodthirsty dictators and exploiting the resources of neighboring sountries as if they had some kind of sovereign claim to them.

Let the Jeb Bushes and the Ted Cruzes – and even some Democrats like Robert Menendez – rage and fume. The new Obama isn’t about to mind them.

They speak for the Cold War generation. The President speaks for the majority of today’s Americans. And he is fortified by the knowledge that he is doing what’s morally right.

While the old Obama settled for compromises like Obamacare, the new Obama is shooting for the stars. And he is doing it his way.

The executive order to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation is another example of the President’s new approach. Of course, it is galling to those Americans who would rather have a permanent underclass, cowering in the shadows, to exploit. But, while the old Obama might have heeded their protestations, the new Obama has ignored them.

For the past four years, the President has tried to reason with such people, tried to effect change through negotiation and persuasion. But he learned the hard way that you can’t reason with bullies, especially when their lack of intelligence renders them immune to logic.

In Bloomberg Politics today, Lisa Lerer puts it this way:

Liberated from campaign politics, Obama is seeking to cement his legacy as the transformational leader he promised to be eight years ago—and in the process he’s angering  lots of people in Washington. Where he once looked to Lyndon B. Johnson, a president known for achieving sweeping change through legislation, he’s now far more interested in the legacy of the Roosevelts, two administrations that pioneered the strong use of executive power, those who’ve spoken with him said.

America’s first black president isn’t running for reelection. The Constitution decrees that he ride off into the sunset in 2016. So he is free to do the right thing, and if other people don’t like it, they can lump it.

This new approach seems to be working for him.

As Ms. Lerer observes:

The decision to go his own way has allowed Obama to regain control of a second term hobbled by domestic mismanagement like the bungled roll-out of the healthcare website and foreign crises such as the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Of course, the President’s power is limited by the Constitution. But he seems prepared to use what power he has in the pursuit of a better America, a better world. History will applaud him for it.

Click for the Bloomberg article.

Click for more on reaction to the President.