Warming Up

Barack Obama may have stepped over some line when he made a thinly-veiled foray into Trump-bashing during a commencement address over the weekend. Fox News went predictably ballistic and got all indignant, but nothing new there.

Yes, #44 probably could have shown restraint and taken a different tact, but let’s take a step back from jumping on that bandwagon and consider the larger moment. As a matter of course, #45 uses his lofty bully pulpit for all manner of self-promotion and character assassination. He routinely hides behind incendiary Tweets he may or may not create on his own. He eggs people on, goading them into retaliation or expecting no response, and counts on them being the ones who end up looking bad.

Mr. Obama has been biting his tongue for a long time. But perhaps because of covid fatigue or an election that grows ever closer, he’s giving some indication that the gloves are coming off. This is risky and I hope he knows what he’s doing, because Trump is well-versed in this mode of give and take (he and his ever-faithful base will probably take that as a compliment).

It’s just that Trump has an infuriating knack for landing on his feet. And those around him are mystifyingly loyal, no matter what he says or does. If someone decides it’s time to go toe-to-toe with him, they better be all in.

Godspeed, Barack. Here’s hoping you are a worthy opponent, and that it’s soon time for the other shoe to drop in this agonizingly long game of West Wing charades.

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