Conflicts between narcissistic, ambitious, above-the-law personalities predictably follow a tragic — though funny to normal people — trend. The relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton never stood a chance of being anything but textbook Shakespearean: the proximity to power of “ME!” personalities can be tracked by an inverse relationship with their grasp on how grownups are expected to behave after the age of, say, 25. At this point, both have descended to headgear-and-forehead-zit levels of maturity:
“Fine, I leaked the f-in’ email server story. But she totally started it.“
He’s hot stuff, she’s all that. Was never gonna work. Despite her being the best chance for Obamacare, open borders immigration, and the other pillars of his “change” to survive the next few years and become established as historical legacy, he has transparently been sandbagging her campaign. He simply needed to lash out; that’s what faded messianic types do when the flock shrinks.
But it’s a mistake to consider that Obama has heretofore been hostile to his possible predecessors without any thought of what those actions mean for his accomplishments.
He can’t silently bear watching his self-possessed greatness be torn down. He must see to it that he be recalled as the root force behind progressivism’s charge. He needs his work to remain intact, and he will likely spend the coming years telling us about his historical role.
This is the path that leftist leaders take, pre-history to Woodrow Wilson to Jimmy Carter.
They don’t expect to fail, they inevitably do, then they employ the contradictory defense mechanisms of blaming everyone else for their failure while simultaneously preaching that they were ultimately somehow successful, perhaps in “a larger sense.”
The next president does matter to him. While he obviously has begun the process of ego defense — see his attack on Fox News yesterday — this is not a man who accepts that the writing is on the wall for his legacy. He still has hope that nothing will get rolled back — and perhaps he is right about that. And he also knows that it matters, as part of that fight, who wins the White House next.
Which makes his recent behavior mystifying.
Supporting Clinton was never going to happen; the damage and conflict is too severe. But he has also had public tiffs with Elizabeth Warren, and frankly, he couldn’t even sell the false image of having a congenial relationship with anyone else with the slightest hint of dark horse potential.
Of course, the best interests of each possible Democratic candidate lie in separating from Obama. He knows this. Heck, he’s been through it — an entire nation of Democratic congressional candidates have actively avoided his cooties for an entire campaign season. Three times.
But this time is fundamentally different, as he had the emotional buffer of still being in office to cushion the prior three seasons of being persona non grata among his nominal allies. For 2016, his ambitions require that he be more diplomatic. He was never going to be able to support Hillary, but I don’t buy that he dislikes all the others to the degree that he would prefer the possible fallout from cutting them down to the rational benefit to his internalized greatness of a successor Democrat.
It’s primary season, of course he would never openly endorse. But shouldn’t a guy like him, in a position like this, at least be offering collegial praise to all the possible contenders?
Since he hasn’t, I believe he may simply have resigned to the calculation that a Republican will win.
The only explanation that makes sense: he’s already moved on to the “I was perfect, my ideas were perfect, you folks just weren’t good enough to deserve me” phase of leftist leaders. He has identified the community organizing, extra-governmental path as the best chance of keeping his policies intact, and has given up on the possibility of a like-minded successor as a viable option.
Which implies that he’s “gone rogue” from the party, a terrible implication considering the damage he can still inflict over the next 18 months.