3 Reasons 'Obama Day' Is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea
On Saturday, Illinois celebrated its first annual "Barack Obama Day," a holiday on the 44th president's birthday in his home state. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law after Obama's birthday last year, making Saturday the first official celebration.
While it is good for Illinoians — and Americans — to take pride in the fact that the U.S. had its first black president, 2018 is a premature time to celebrate the man who vacated the office less than two years ago. There are many reasons why Rauner arguably should have waited.
Here are 3.
1. It's only been 19 months.
An official state holiday means a great deal. It may seem small, but the official government of Illinois has marked out a day to celebrate this living man.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Lydian king Croesus once asked the wise Athenian lawgiver Solon if he was the happiest man alive. Lydia may have been the country that created coinage, and Croesus is proverbially rich — "rich as Croesus" is still a meaningful phrase. Even so, Solon warned that no man should be counted happy until he is dead. Croesus was defeated by the Persian King Cyrus, and burned at the stake.
The Roman Catholic Church will not consider anyone for sainthood until they have been dead and two miracles can be attributed to them.
These examples are extreme, but true happiness and the value of a legacy take time to evaluate. President George W. Bush left office in 2009 with a very negative approval rating, but by 2017 it had increased significantly. Obama's own approval rating was very high at the end of his presidency, but the people may change their ideas as time goes on.
Even if America does not always look fondly on Obama's policy legacy, it will always be proud of the fact of a first black president. Nevertheless, it would be wise to wait — especially when Obama's direct successor is in office. Otherwise, people will weaponize the "holiday" into an attack on the current president.
2. Liberals still try to deny Obama's scandals.
Perhaps because President Donald Trump is so bombastic, liberals insistently deny Obama's history of scandals. The former president himself has insisted over and over that he did not have a scandal. Obama's personal life was above reproach, but the man presided over scandal after scandal.
First there was Solyndra (and Solyndra 2.0). Then tea-party groups were unfairly targeted by an activist Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In fact, a 2013 study found that the IRS targeting may have cost the tea party as much as 8.5 million votes in 2012, larger than the margin between Obama and Mitt Romney. American heroes died in Benghazi, Libya, and the Obama administration knowingly lied about it. Under Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attempted to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients.