by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Listening to Donald Trump’s recent pronouncements, and you might not expect him to have much in common with President Obama. But Victor Davis Hanson‘s latest column at National Review Online labels them “two of a kind.”
President Obama is said to feel liberated, in the sense that he can finally say what, and do as, he pleases — without much worry any more over political ramifications, including presidential and congressional elections. Obama’s lame-duck presidency has now devolved into the progressive bully pulpit that his base always longed for. Of course, his editorializing and executive orders may worry Hillary Clinton — much as Donald Trump’s pronouncements do his more circumspect Republican rivals.
Trump is a celebrity who tweets and phones his praise of and insults to comedians, athletes, and media kingpins. But so does Obama love the celebrity world. He is comfortable with Jay Z and Beyoncé, picks the Sweet Sixteen on live television, and has reminded us that he’s the LeBron of the Teleprompter, who won’t choke under the spotlights. Both see pop culture and the presidency as a fitting together perfectly.
Would the Chicago community-organizing cadre be that much different from the Trump Manhattan clique? Isn’t big-city know-how key to “fundamentally transforming” the country? Is there that much difference between Trump’s golden name tags and Obama’s faux Greek columns, vero possumus, “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” and cooling the planet and lowering the seas? …
… In his current unbridled commentary and without worry over party politics, Obama has perhaps gone the full Trump — though in the opposite fashion of tossing out politically correct themes of the progressive Left, which lead to little concrete action. So Obama is Trump’s doppelgänger. The two see the world in similarly materialist — though, again, opposite — terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation (“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama’s infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn’t build that, at some point you’ve made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump’s money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he’s never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit.