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...And Then What?

Well, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Ten days into his administration, he was nominated. Not even months later, he wins. And for... what, precisely?

Words.

That's what it all boils down to. He won it not for anything he did -- because that list is humiliatingly short -- but because of what he has said.

Oh, and a bit for who and what he is, too.

As astonishing as it was to most everyone (even his most ardent supporters), it is of a piece with so much of his life. I don't recall ever knowing of anyone with such an extensive list of achievements, and such a slender record of accomplishments.

The distinction is tremendous. Obama had a remarkable rise in politics, only losing one election in his entire life, and overcoming tremendous odds all along the way. He has achieved so much, so quickly.

But what has he accomplished? What has each of those victories done, besides set the stage for his next victory? What great deeds can he point to and say "that is where I left my mark, that is the place where I made a difference, these are the people whose lives I bettered?"

As troubling as this is, it bodes even worse for the future.

What will be Obama's legacy? What will he leave behind to future generations? Or will he be content to be known not for what he did, but who and what he was?

For example, Jack Kennedy was the first Catholic to become president, and Ronald Reagan the first divorced man. But those are hardly the things for which they are remembered for their turns in the Oval Office. Indeed, they are usually far down the list in discussions of their presidencies.

What will history say about Obama, apart from "the first black man elected president?" I suspect that the elaboration of that will be as empty as the justifications given by the Nobel Prize Committee for giving him the Peace Prize.

Back when he and the First Lady were lobbying for the Olympics, I was struck by one element of Obama's appeal: he spoke of how proud he would be to attend the games in the waning days of his second term.

We are still well short of the first year of his current four-year term. But here he was, speaking in a matter-of-fact way that he would serve out a complete term, be re-elected in 2012, and serve out the majority of that second term to see the 2016 Games.

And from there, it's just a short step to consider January 21, 2017 -- the day that we can be certain that Barack Obama will no longer be our president.

When that date occurs, Obama will be 55 years old. And while I'm no actuarial expert, I feel comfortable predicting that he will, in all likelihood, have another 30 years of life ahead of him -- ex-presidents seem to have a remarkable lifespan. Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan lived to 93, Richard Nixon to 81. Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush are both 85, and neither seems to be in any rush to pass on.

What the hell will he do then?

For most of our history, former presidents were content to quietly fade into the woodwork. Oh, there were a couple of examples -- John Quincy Adams becoming a firebrand in the US House of Representatives, William Taft becoming the only man to ever head both the Executive and Judiciary branches of the government by serving as Supreme Court Chief Justice -- but for the most part, ex-presidents just strolled off into the sunset.

Jimmy Carter followed that model at first, but later became quite active in various causes -- and became a minor pain in the ass to two of his successors. Bill Clinton, who also was relatively young when he left office (54), quickly discovered he missed the limelight and started getting his name back in the headlines again.

What will Former President Obama do in his retirement?

I suspect that he'll continue to do pretty much what he's done all his life: talk a lot, do very little.

Oh, and continue to collect awards and honors and praises for his policy of being "all talk and no action."


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Comments (19)

Consider the source of the ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Consider the source of the award. A bunch of old liberal, elite-ist do nothings from a country that stands aside when things get rough in the world. No surprise here. Obamalala the big "O" is a big Zero and the Nobel made it Obvious.

Arafat, Gore and now Obama.... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Arafat, Gore and now Obama.........
This award stands in such contrast to those bestowed in the sciences where a truly significant and long standing body of individual or collaborative work of the deserving recipients can be cited. No matter how much the Norwegian Committee, the DNC, or the White would like to spin this, an award given based on mere intentions is a purely political reward. I am assuming that if other Nobel awards could be bestowed on the basis of mere intetions, Obama is at the very least out of the running for the prize in economics.

"What will history say abou... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"What will history say about Obama?"

America's first "Affirmative Action" president. And just as disappointing. Long on talk, short on achievement. There will be no second term.

He's not planning on retire... (Below threshold)
epador:

He's not planning on retirement, JT. He's planning on being Oneness for Life.

He does seem to have a poor... (Below threshold)
jim m:

He does seem to have a poor grasp on exactly how long he is allowed to be president since he has said previously that he will be president for at least "8 to 10 years".

Otherwise I am sure that George Soros can find some use for him.

I think the Nobel Prize is ... (Below threshold)

I think the Nobel Prize is an honor for the President, he was very gracious about accepting it.

I would be very gracious to... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I would be very gracious too if someone gave me a prestigious award for things I haven't done yet.

Sheesh!

Hussein was truly awarded t... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Hussein was truly awarded this prize by his "peers." That is, elitist, arrogant, self-important, America-hating leftists. The prize was awarded by way of strong recommendation that he continue to destroy the American military and economy while denigrating the country at every turn. "Keep it up, dear brother", should be emblazoned on the friggin' base.

But but but - Don't you kno... (Below threshold)
Madalyn:

But but but - Don't you know it was for the "inspiration" of Obama. Good Lord, I can inspire a lot of people to do good and bad, and I don't get a friggen peace prize. I deserve one just as much as that idiot.
Madalyn

What will Former P... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
What will Former President Obama do in his retirement?

Secretary General of The United Nations

He thinks he can be preside... (Below threshold)
Madalyn:

He thinks he can be president for up to 10 years? He thinks there are 57 states? He does a lot of thinking that has no logic behind it. About as much logic as there is substance to him.
Madalyn

I think when Obama is out o... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I think when Obama is out of office he will go around healing the sick, turning water into wine.

I think this guy has had his wallet in the public trough his whole life, hasn't he? ww

The Cup of Sugar Test... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

The Cup of Sugar Test

I have been reading this blog for a while now and I don't think many will disagree that is mostly a place for whiner babies. It is not a place for conservatives to express philosophic disagreements with liberals but I was hoping that one commentator would take up the torch and explain to me the cup of sugar.

It is an iconic image in American media of the neighbor asking to borrow a cup of sugar and the neighbor gives the sugar.

What conservative principle either gives the sugar or allows the neighbor to ask for the sugar?

WC.Conservatives b... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

WC.

Conservatives believe in Limited Government. Interactions between people is fine. If you want to ask a neighbor for sugar and they want to give it to you then that fine. Just like if someone wants to donate to charity with their own money that fine. What most conservatives do like is the Government coming into your home taking the sugar through force of law and giving to the neighbor.

Now let us apply the example to BHO he is in the Kitchen see he is out of Sugar and talks about with his wife, he calls his friends and talks about it. He then wins an award for talking about the sugar shortage.

Bush is sitting at home see he is out of Sugar get up goes to the store and buys Sugar. He now has solved the problem. He get no credit because he took action instead of just talking about it.

The conservative principle ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

The conservative principle is being neighborly - that you loan the sugar so you'll be able to borrow sugar sometime if you need it. You cannot lend or borrow what isn't there. You're also under no obligation, if someone asks to borrow a cup, to go out and buy sugar immediately if you don't have any. Most definitely you aren't obligated to go and take out a loan to buy the sugar.

The liberal response is that you should give all your sugar to the government, so they can waste half and then dole the rest out to those who need it more than you do, and then take out loans to buy MORE sugar, making sure that the taxpayer's stuck with the bill.

What's the matter, WC? Running out of talking points that actually make sense?

"I would be very gracious t... (Below threshold)
914:

"I would be very gracious too if someone gave me a prestigious award for things I haven't done yet"

Not Me...I'd be embarrased.

"What conservative principl... (Below threshold)
914:

"What conservative principle either gives the sugar or allows the neighbor to ask for the sugar?"

Do on to others as You would have them do unto You.

WC,Simple. The prin... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

WC,
Simple. The principle is that the neighbor with the sugar expects to be repaid either in sugar or in a similar act, in the future.
He is under no obligation to give it again if the first neighbor turns out to be unreliable.

A high trust society.

Remember what else he told ... (Below threshold)

Remember what else he told us? That unemployment rates will drop? How can Obama explain this:

Since the recession began in December 2007, private sector employment has declined 5.74 percent, while government payroll has grown 0.83 percent.

I've had enough. I joined the Free Enterprise Nation and I encourage you all to do the same.

www.TheFreeEnterpriseNation.org




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