Barack Obama is probably the most inspiring orator we’ve had in office since Kennedy (Reagan was really good at reading the cue cards, but his stuff was just drivel and you know that half the time he had no idea what he was saying).
But when it comes to actual achievement, his legacy is one of caution– so much caution that it looks an awful lot like political cowardice. His lasting achievements were:
- To further entrench the corrupt oligarchy that delivered Clinton a nomination despite clear indicators that she would not win a general election
- To preside over the massive increase in wealth inequality while letting many financial criminals go unpunished
- To allow corporate dominance in government to continue unabated
- To retain and strengthen the veils of secrecy surrounding the government and its surveillance activities
- To refrain from boldly and forcibly address gun violence, institutionalized racism, Republican obstructionism or really anything else, and
- To fully commit the US to a policy of unsupervised targeted assassination using drones.
The office comes with an awesome amount of power, as will doubtless be demonstrated in the coming months. We will be witness to just how much.
But yeah, super inspiring speeches from an elegant, self-possessed and obviously intelligent man.