Giving thanks for the Barack Obama we had — and imagining the one who could have done so much more

With Donald Trump representing a frightening unknown future, more akin to foreign authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Ergodan of Turkey and Abdel Fattah el-Sis of Egypt than anything in American history, Barack Obama looks better all the time — a fact reflected in his approval ratings.

But there’s a good argument to be made that a more forceful, more boldly progressive Obama could prevented this outcome. Not a radically different person, just one more comfortable with the sort of direct confrontation that was central to the teachings of Saul Alinsky, whom he was tarred with anyway.

One trope that’s emerged after Trump’s election, is that leftist attitudes are somehow responsible. A recent Politico article is typical of pieces with this argument that liberal smugness was to blame for Trump:

The attitude extended way beyond election politics. Over the last few years at universities across America, for example, liberal students effectively banned Republicans from delivering commencement speeches by protesting speakers like Karl Rove, Rand Paul and Condoleezza Rice, forcing them to withdraw.

– Salon

Read the full article here.