Obama reflects — and seems to be really reflecting — on the race to succeed him

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Barack Obama comes across as sincere, although you never know what kind of filter a guy like him is able to apply and still seem to be expressing his true thoughts and feelings.

Glenn Thrush of Politico scored a long and interesting interview with President Obama, the full audio of which is posted online. It’s 40 minutes long, but if you have the time and like Obama, I recommend it. If you intensely dislike him, that’s a long time to listen to him and you should take your blood pressure medication in advance.

I’ve read, seen and heard many Obama interviews over the past eight years, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard him this relaxed and reflective. The current news has made him nostalgic for the months he spent as an upstart underdog candidate in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, and he seems to be enjoying those memories.

Obama also comes across as sincere, although you never know what kind of filter a guy like him is able to apply and still seem to be expressing his true thoughts and feelings. A lot of the discussion is about the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders race for the Dem presidential nomination. Obama seems to be determined not to put his thumb too heavily on the scale in that one, so he’s probably being cautious.

On balance, if you weighed every syllable, he seems to be complimentary about Clinton (who was, after all, a member of his administration) and he suggests that Sanders’ singular focus on issues of economic inequality neglect the complexity of the job of president. (I would note that Sanders talks plenty about foreign and military policy, but usually only when he’s asked.)

Thrush does a good job drawing Obama into the nostalgia of Iowa/2008. (Thrush covered those caucuses, but was assigned to the Hillary Clinton campaign.)

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 01/27/2016 - 03:23 pm.

    Just wondering

    if you’d like to re-phrase your title, Eric. You do mean “competition,” right?

  2. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/28/2016 - 10:07 am.

    really reflecting?

    Is he torn about a candidate who is a truthful socialist or a candidate who is a disguised socialist?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/28/2016 - 01:17 pm.

      Definition of ‘socialist’

      Someone who advocates the public ownership of all property (some early Kibbutzim met the definition).
      I’m not sure that any American politician in the past eighty years has met this definition; certainly not a major party candidate. You’d have to go back to Eugene Debs in 1912 (remember the Wobblies?).

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/28/2016 - 02:47 pm.

      Through the Looking Glass

      I think we all know that Senator Sanders is a self-described Democratic Socialist. We have been aware of that for sometime now, so the reminders are unnecessary.

      I take it you have decided you won’t criticize Hilary Clinton for her close ties to Wall Street?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/28/2016 - 03:24 pm.

        And his descriptions of ‘Democratic Socialism’

        are closer to European Social Democratic parties than European Socialist parties.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/29/2016 - 11:25 am.

      Socialist as pejorative

      In turning ‘socialism’ into a pejorative, the right has erased meaning from the term. It’s kind of funny, in a sad way, like how people hate the ACA, but like most of its components.

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