Dear Commons Community,
New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, has a piece today on Donald Trump entitled, “Chieftain in Spite.” He describes Trump’s obsession with Barack Obama as the reason why he has made such a spiteful attack on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) through an Executive Order last week. Here is an excerpt:
“It must be cold and miserable standing in the shadow of someone greater and smarter, more loved and more admired. It must be infuriating to have risen on the wings of your derision of that person’s every decision, and even his very existence, and yet not be able to measure up — in either stratagem or efficacy — when you sit where that person once sat.
This is the existence of Donald Trump in the wake of President Barack Obama. Trump can’t hold a candle to Obama, so he’s taking a tiki torch to Obama’s legacy. Trump can’t get his bad ideas through Congress, but he can use the power of the presidency to sabotage or even sink Obama’s signature deeds.
In fact, if there is a defining feature of Trump as “president,” it is that he is in all ways the anti-Obama — not only on policy but also on matters of propriety and polish. While Obama was erudite, Trump is ignorant. Obama was civil, Trump is churlish. Obama was tactful, Trump is tacky.
There is a thing present in Obama and absent from Trump that no amount of money or power can alter: a sense of elegant intellectualism and taste.
The example Obama set makes the big man with the big mouth look smaller by the day. But I believe that this nonadjustable imbalance is part of what has always fueled
Trump’s rage against Obama. Trump, who sees character as just another malleable thing that can be marketed and made salable, chafes at the black man who operated above the coarseness of commercial interests and whose character appeared unassailable.
America — even many of the people who were staunch opponents of Obama’s policies — admired and even adored the sense of honor and decency he brought to the office.
Trump, on the other hand, is historically unpopular, and not just in America. As The Pew Research Center pointed out in June: “Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations.” Trump is reviled around the globe and America’s reputation is going down with its captain.
All of this feeds Trump’s consuming obsession with undoing everything Obama did. It is his personal crusade, but he also carries the flag for the millions of Americans — mostly all Republicans — who were reflexively repulsed by Obama and the coalition that elected him.
Trump has done nearly everything in his power to roll back Obama’s policies, but none are as tempting a target as the one named after him: Obamacare.”
Charles Blow has it right. Trump is ignorant, churlish and tacky and an embarrassment for the United States. Obama was a beacon of hope and justice for America around the world.