Is President Barack Obama still the President?


September 27, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

barack obama football

Yep, I’m still here, now go long.

I ask only half-jokingly.

You see we, as Americans, as citizens, as voters, frequently allow even our most beloved leaders a fairly short shelf-life. Even after we re-elect him or her to the oval office as in the case of Mr. Obama, we do so with both the knowledge he will serve there for four more years and that he will become largely irrelevant for most of those  years. Lame duck thy name is now Barack Obama.

Please, let me explain. I come neither to bury or bronze the president.

I have dedicated my adult life to studying and working in the field of American politics and government. Both learning of and being fascinated, even amused by its strange culture and traditions. I graduated 20 years or so ago from American University in Washington DC, went to work in our US Congress and recently completed a nearly 2 year DC-based directorship of a large, well-funded research project on our 50 state supreme court justices.

I know the swamp that is our nation’s capitol all too well.

barack obama DC

The swamp looks a lot better at night.

And one of the idiosyncrasies of our nation’s politics writ large is we get bored. And soon after, we get a bit grouchy. And then that’s usually followed by indifference tinged with a political restlessness. It’s not that we don’t know what we want as a nation. No, it’s just that even when we get what at least a majority of folks wanted, we soon want change, any kind of change more. We do this with our celebrities all the time. The ones that stick around a long time know that at some point they’d better have some disease, heartache, rehab, comeback, sex scandal, anything. Just don’t bore us.

Ah, those fickle Americans, as France’s Charles DeGaulle used to say (of course he said it in French so many of us thought he was just thanking us for saving him and his fellow French croissants in WW2). Sacre Bleu.

barack obama degaulle

Who, I ask you, has a prettier chapeau (hat) than I?

The night of the historic election of then-US Senator (IL) and President-elect Barack (no longer Barry) Obama was, clearly, as good as it will ever get for now President Obama. I remember watching him face an adoring, exuberant, frenzied crowd of supporters at Lincoln Park, Illinois the evening of his ascension into the pantheon known as the White House. I turned to a fellow observer, friend and DC consultant and said, “This is it. This is the peak. It will only be downhill from here.”

Nonsense, my friend said. This is just the first step of an incredible journey. America will never be the same.

About a week or so ago, Michael Moore the professional public instigator and red-hot, flaming liberal, declared in all his rotund profundity that President Obama was essentially, a failure. That he (Mr. Obama) will be remembered for being our nation’s first black president and that was it. No less, no more.

barack obama michael moore

We can only get hurt the most by the ones we love(d).

Ouch. Maybe he couldn’t.

But, truth be told the downward drift, even spiral, was already a “fait accompli” the night he addressed and thanked his supporters in Lincoln Park. The heady night he vowed in the shadow of our nation’s emancipator that “This is just the beginning.”

But running for president, being elected president and actually serving as president are three rather distinct heads to one rather ferocious and unforgiving Harry-Potter-like dog.

We get bored. We get grouchy. We grow indifferent.

President Obama is not the first lame-duck president to struggle with relevance and to lose support in his final stretch-run in office. George Washington wrote of an impending loneliness and fatigue, both physically and for the duties of the office. Thomas Jefferson couldn’t wait until he would be “liberated” from office so he could pursue his real interests, which apparently were wine, women and song (isn’t it always?).

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was  a gaunt, barely shadow of his former self prior to his death in office. Dwight D. Eisenhower was nearly a forgotten president in his second term as our collective attentions quickly turned to that tanned, Harvard-boy Jack Kennedy and that shifty Richard Nixon, arch-rivals to succeed good old Ike.

President Carter in or out of his infamous sweater was also seen as a hand-wringing, moralizing irrelevance in his final months in office. And he didn’t even get re-elected so he could soon become lame (duck). We wanted Jimmy to mostly just keep the executive chair warm for that Hollywood actor turned Governor, Ronald Reagan and not get overly “malaised” about it.

barack obama jimmy carter

Jimmy Carter channeling Mr. Rogers. Only one got canceled prematurely.

The former “Bedtime for Bonzo” star, Ronald Reagan, would go on to spend much of his final term trying to dodge the fall-out from the Iran-Contra scandal and enduring what we now know was the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. His presidential naps went from 1 hour a day to well, nearly the whole afternoon under the watchful eye of First Lady Nancy. Though, at least he did stay awake long enough to ask Mr. Gorbachev to take some sort of wall down in Berlin.

barack obama ronald reagan

Before the presidential naps it was Ron “six shooter” Reagan.

Yet, somehow the republic survived despite our growing indifference and the irrelevance of the officeholder.

Sometimes through sheer bravado, bluster or downright bizarre behavior our presidents surprise us in their second term.

Richard M. Nixon gave the nation a version of his own “Italian Salute” by resigning midstream once it was clear he would be impeached for his mafia-style oversight of the petty though disturbing and illegal Watergate crimes.

barack obama nixon

Up yours America. Love, Dick Nixon.

William Jefferson Clinton chose not to rein in his um, wild horses behavior and he did get impeached though not removed from office. (Even before you got real close in 2000 Al Gore, you got really close). It was a political train-wreck but at least we didn’t get bored. The economy even seemed to stay strong despite Bill’s increasing legal, political and marital distractions.Take that presidential scholars who say that presidential power and focus is everything in American politics.

George W. Bush’s second term was shaped almost entirely by outside forces who flew inside our airspace and terrorized us on the eleventh of September. I can’t really recall much of what he did or said for about the last 2 years or so, though, can you? Maybe he got a head-start on his portrait painting.


Yes, even I got bored and No, Dubya did not paint this particular portrait.

Which brings us nearly full-circle back to Barack Obama who it seems has always been good, even great at delivering inspirational speeches but who often seems indifferent himself to the job. He seems truly most engaged and genuinely passionate when playing golf (though truth be told this is the case in about 4 out of every 5 American males). In my frequent travels back to our nation’s swampy capitol I almost always hear the same scuttlebutt-President Obama just doesn’t like to schmooze or mix it up with friends or rivals. “Is he still president?” a politico asked me recently. And he’s a supporter.

This kind of sentiment seems to only accelerate our collective boredom and Mr. Obama’s own growing, political irrelevance. The Hillary watch is already on, right?

Hillary pointing

Stay tuned, yes, you!

Now, that Michelle Obama seems ready and able to throw down with any and all political comers. She’s anything but boring. But that’s a blog for another day.

Still. Maybe it’s not fair to place all the blame on President Obama. Seems we should accept our own heaping portion of blame. And, as always, in a few years when we are growing indifferent with our current president we’ll look back and say, “That Mr. Obama, now there was a president.” It’s just what we do. (Only about 12 more years to go Dubya).

But that’s down the road. For now, let’s face it. We get bored. And then a bit grouchy. And then indifferent.

splendora palin

But you’ll never get bored with me America. Cuz if you do, I’ll just slug you one, Alaska-style. You betcha.










36 thoughts on “Is President Barack Obama still the President?

  1. Brady K says:

    It’s not that I forgot if Obama was still president it’s like the article says, I just sorta don’t care. It’s like a tv show episode I’ve seen already a lot of times and I know all the lines. He shows up on TV makes promises seems like he’ll really get stuff done and poof, episode over back to reality. Him and that fool of a Speaker, both should just go away now.

  2. pycarter says:

    Yes President Barack Obama is still the President of the United States of America and I certainly haven’t heard any complaints from dollars in the bank accounts the big business have made with him being President today. I only hear a lot of chatter from the mouths those lobbying against the best interest of this great nation and it’s people just so it can appear that President Obama is not the President and doing his job. A President has only so much power and can not act without Congress but Congress has to do what the people has elected them to do and not those lobbyist who are lining their wallets and making them rich and and get to work!

  3. Sammy H says:

    I have to admit that yes, I do get bored with presidents pretty fast but I say it’s because of the long campaigns! I am already sick of hearing about Hillary and she hasn’t even said she will actually run for president. Political campaigns in our country go on forever and by the time it’s done I already want change!

  4. vtshipman says:

    Very, very interesting subject to say the least. I believe President Obama is way over his head and that he has checked out. He would not have attacked ISIL/ISIS if the poll numbers were not as high as they are since the beheading of the two Americans in Syria by those scum.

    There are simply way too many scandals that seem to be bogging him down. Now that AG Holder has resigned he will be trying to find another liberal to this position. Obama promised hope and change. Oh and lets not forget about transparency. Ha-ha.

    President Obama is more concerned about helping the less fortunate than he is promoting our strength and values to the rest of the world. We are the big dog and he is holding the leash a little too tight in my opinion. I don’t like war (who does?) but there are times when the big dog needs to be turned loose. He has portrayed the US as being to strong and too rich. I don’t think he wants us to be exceptional.

    He is truly a lame duck who is ready to retire. His interest is in golf and giving campaign style speeches even though he can’t run again (not that he would want to anyway). The mid-term election in November will be interesting. When Congress is controlled by Republicans, we will see him veto almost every measure thus setting up what many dream about in 2016 – an undivided government. Hopefully we can reduce regulation and expand our energy exploration here so we don’t need foreign energy. In all of my 56 years have I ever seen such an incompetent and clueless commander-in-chief. Hail to the Chief. I am ready for him to resign but then we would have to deal with Joe Biden who is well past his prime.

  5. Teddy H says:

    Obama has only 25% strongly approving his job and 55% disapproving with about 25% of those strongly disapproving. Bottom-line is majority don’t like the job he’s doing and it’s time for change we really can believe in.

  6. Rebecca L says:

    Your comment about the adoring faces at the inauguration? It reminds me of the old adage about a new car.

    Q: When did you love it the most?
    A: The moment right before I drove it off the lot.

    We’ve taken President Obama for a spin. He’s not the shiny new model any more. Next.

  7. Theresa L says:

    I thought this Blog was really intriguing and I honestly laughed out loud reading a couple of the lines. Especially the caption under Sarah Palin’s picture…I literally said the caption in an alaskan accent while reading it in my head. When I was reading along, I kept thinking about how awful it must feel to have so much pressure on you as a president. Although, they were the ones who wanted it in the first place, so I guess they have to suffer the consequences of the majority of citizens in America who do not like you simply because they don’t agree with you. Uh hello? News flash America, nobody’s perfect so take a chill pill. I really do not have a credible opinion on the government since I am the last person you will see watching the election or the news, however, I can speak from what I have observed through class and my family. My mom actually just recently mailed me (from ohio) the election form and stamped a post it note on it stating, “please vote this year”. Obviously, I know that President Obama is still the president, however, I do not know much about him other than he likes to play golf from a picture I saw in a magazine and he likes to really inspire young children through speeches that I happen to stumble across when watching television one night trying to find the new episode of Modern Family. I definitely think that each president we have had in office has some quirk about them and we can easily remember them by certain events that occurred or things they used to say. I agree, it is easy to get bored and not have much of an interest to care when we don’t agree with certain things they may say…but come on, the President has to try to please billions of people in the world and is bashed with whatever decision he makes so let’s give him a break. Outside of his position, he’s just a regular guy who has a family and likes to take back a few on the golf course over the weekend.

    • Kudos to Mom for being on the ball…so yes, make sure you vote this year, you’ll get a little sticker that says you voted and everything! 🙂 And your response always reminds me that, especially when I am working in DC for any length of time, just how utterly unimportant most of us really are to the vast majority of Americans, despite what we are “so sure of” amongst ourselves…

  8. Sharriette F says:

    That was quite an interesting perspective. Was Mr. Obama ever the president? Have we really had a president, since George Washington? Who can say. I have come to believe than an entity other than the president is actually responsible for running our country. The president is the front man, the figurehead, for the four or eight years he is granted. He has a job to do and he generally does it well, despite scandals and other ethical head scratchers. Mr. Obama is still our president. He has done what he was called to do with his tenure. Whether or not we agree, his has been a most interesting presidency. I believe he will be remembered for more than being the first black president. He may be married to the first female president. 🙂

  9. Patricia B says:

    I think you just made a great case for term limits of ONE term! Not long enough for us to get too bored – or for the elected president to do much damage. And at least they wouldn’t spend the last three years ot their first term running for re-election!

  10. Brandi S says:

    I think that President Obama is still our president he is just different. He is more down to Earth. He likes to play sports and get out and do some stuff. Being president is a tough job. Of course he will be in the middle of scandals and ridicule because he is the forefront and the face for the country. Everyone wants someone to blame. I think he is doing a great job inspite of all the mishaps.

  11. junior j says:

    People don’t understand power and leadership, they think because you are the president/boss the laws of the land don’t pertain to you and that you can simply say do something and it will be done. But i suppose that is why those people aren’t running a country because they want everything fast and won’t stand up long enough to see the improvements or change through. People want to see the president act with emotion and ignore diplomacy they want to see an argue and combative president but thats not how a president should act or any leader running a country/business worth trillions of dollars. I still believe as long as you are trying you are doing your best and if you support and believe in someone you need to have faith and just continue to encourage and uplift that leader. People are giving up because they want things now and not in increments.

    • B. Alston says:


      You made many points that I agree with. I agree that the President’s cool and calm disposition may be viewed as too passive for many who may prefer to see the Commander-in-Chief be more commanding. But, as you pointed out and I agree, it is not necessary for any President to resort to combativeness and/or unprofessional behavior. It is my opinion that President Obama may have begun to lose his fire and passion that once was during his first election. But, this is to be expected to a degree especially when one must work diligently to convince many strong personalities to see things from your perspectives and to see how working together would accomplish more for the greater good. God Bless America!

  12. Angela B says:

    At this point it is like where is the President and I really think everyone will be happy for him to be out of office. When he began his term everything he said made the people believe he had change for the United States and everything he would accomplish. However as the years have gone on some of the things he has said may have or have not come true. People watch and almost keep record of things that happen and don’t happen per the President. Then they hold him accountable when the outcome of his decisions are not what he said or what the people wanted. Also it seems as the years have gone by for the President more and more things have come to light and the American people really do not trust our government. His ratings have fell low and so have the ones for our government. Now in less than 2 years we will be voting for another elected official for office and once again the cycle will repeat itself. Also something that everyone has to remember is the each President sets the next President up for what they may or may not have to handle. It is kind of a vicious cycle, but it is our government and how it works.

  13. Erich C says:

    Election day is tomorrow, although not for the President of the US but never the less this was a good read as I make my decisions for tomorrow. The governor’s race in Connecticut is between a rich incumbent democrat and a rich republican challenger. I do not really believe the campaign promises of either candidate and I don’t believe that either candidate has a grasp on reality concerning most Connecticut residents. Maybe I will look at this election from another point of view; the lame duck point of view. Since I have not yet decided and I have no favorite, I might base my decision on if I want a lame duck governor or not. The advantage of a lame duck governor would be a less of a chance of messing up the state further. Just holding on 4 more years and wait for better candidates might not be a bad idea.. The advantage of a new Governor is that he would be trying to prove himself over the next 4 years and there is a chance of fixing some of the problems, especially economic ones. After serious consideration I have to believe that people and governments have to try to better themselves and in this case with all things being equal I am leaning to having duck for Thanksgiving, rather than a lame duck for governor. Better than calling him a turkey I guess.

  14. I don’t think the President really gets it: The Democrats abandoned their base and lost focus of their core issues and on Tuesday, the Republicans gained control of the Senate and strengthened their majority of the House. So how does our President respond? In his first public appearance in the wake of the midterm elections, he tells us something we already know: “I’m not running again. I’m not on the ballot. I don’t have any further political aspirations.” Hello, can we say term limits? You cannot run again. Did your advisers not tell you such?

    Is he still President. Absolutely. But he’s starting to sound more like the Aflac Duck in his ramblings, telling the GOP that he wants to continue prioritizing the same stuff he’s talked about for many months: minimum wage, infrastructure, student loans, and early education.

    Let’s wake up. Government, the economy, and immigration are the top problems in our country. Americans want to work. We want our economy to prosper. But apparently the President’s top advisers have been benched as the President tries to play quarterback with a GOP-controlled Congress. I don’t know, maybe he plans to pull off a quarterback sneak during his lame duck session. Oh, scratch that, that cannot be his strategy since he drew a line in the sand today in the wake of Tuesday’s election.

    “Congress will pass bills that I cannot sign, and I’m pretty sure I will take some actions that Congress will not like,” he said, then trying to rally bipartisan support in a kumbaya speech calling for both parties to find ways to work together on issues of great importance to the American people. Did I mention the GOP now controls Congress? I’d send the President a Telegram, but I think they fell to the wayside of the distressed economy a few years back, too.

    Disclaimer: I don’t care what party a candidate hails from, it’s their track record and vision I look at when I vote. And you can take that all the way to the bank, though it might not be worth much until the economy regained some much needed global steam!

  15. imcdpa says:

    Obama is the President still but increasingly marginalized and lacking in power and prestige. He has an opportunity to work together with a different legislative makeup than term 1, but will that lead to production or more inertia? I think the public is tired of the latter, and that goes for pols across the political aisle/spectrum. The Executive Order-as-answer ploy/play is getting a little old. Have some gumption and be a statesman — be the source of power, pride and practical politics that the majority of Americans elected you to be Mr. President. An old adage applies here – lead, follow or get out of the way!

  16. kabaumgartel says:

    I think we do get bored as a nation. It seems like to me that the President is getting all the blame for doing all the wrong things. But, we forget he is a person just like we are. We all make mistakes and we learn from those mistakes. I think it is a good thing that the president can only serve two terms. Its good for him and good for the nation.

  17. Jill V says:

    This of course is just a thought, but is anyone really a leader anymore? True, we get bored. As a nation, we can never be satisfied, although our wants also change daily. I don’t know, President Obama started strong…but just like anyone in politics, it seems the nation is made of a million promises in which only few (if any) are kept.

    So, I think people get tired, they get frustrated, and quite frankly they quit believing in who’s supposed to be leading the country. So again we’ll try another somebody, one who hopefully can get us out of various slumps we see ourselves in today…only to want someone else to lead us tomorrow.

    P.S. I would like to add…I am always hopeful…and I do hope one day my opinions and views and comments could be all of positivity ;)!

  18. Jocelyn D says:

    Interesting, I believe that a president doesn’t really seem to relevant to us as citizens if there is no big events going on which is sad because a lot of times those events is something that is not sending our nation in the right direction. If nothing relevant is going on it is easy to forget about the president because as they are still doing work trying to make our nation a better place we don’t realize some of the changes being made. I believe Obama is still working on the change but how can you keep on telling everyone everyday about change because at this point it is irrelevant we just as people want to see results and I feel that now since he back in office that is his focal point not to keep promoting change but to actually make a change. I feel us as citizens not hearing him say “change” every hour of every day we think “oh he isn’t doing anything but kicking his feet up” which, I don’t think that us necessarily true I think he is working on a process that will get us to where it is better for us as a nation at the end of his term or before.

  19. Tinisha S. says:

    What kind of question is ” Is Barack Obama still the President”? Of course he is still our president, although some wished he never was president to begin with, which is why Congress have complicated his job to make him appear to be incompetent, clueless and irrelevant to the world. Especially after the midterm election in November 2014 the poor president doesn’t have a fighting chance since Republicans have taken over. Of course the President can be as petty as Congress has been by vetoing any bills Congress presents to him, but ultimately in the end American citizens are the ones who suffer. Therefore give the poor guy a break and allow him to enjoy some leisure time golfing since Congress has refused to allow him to be President and do his job. We must remember that yes he his the Chief of this Nation, but the system was not design for him to run the country alone. Therefore, yes we can point blame at President Obama but don’t forget to blame the behind the scene people such as Congress for their parts in achieving or not achieving progress in America as well.

    • LOL well, I posed the question for the very type of reasons of systemic and personal reasons you cite as far as his ongoing presidency is concerned! If Congress has been “taken over” by republican members and Congress speaks for the American people and they also elected President Obama, is it the system or the people who don’t want much of anything to get done in my home away from home in DC??

  20. Okwudili Ogbodo says:

    Is he still not the president? I believe that Obama’s sporting image is a way of trying to create a new perspective about the office of the president. However, I think that the images make him a less of a serious president. As it stands now in relation to his approval rating and his struggle with congress even to tougher image of losing both majority houses to his opposition, I believe that he’s silently praying for his last day in office. Maybe then, his real interest might be similar to that of Thomas Jefferson’s added with sporting activities.
    In reference to “Oh Charlie, in what aspect?” Sara Palin, I believe she made Obama president when she was busy trying to see Russia from under her bedroom.
    In consideration to the great Michael Moor, my only take about his statement is that he should try and take Dr. Rabidoux’s class(es) to really grasp how government works in relation to expectations

  21. Jalesa W. says:

    President Obama is still our President. One thing that I have noticed, time after time, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Everyone seems to pinpoint his relaxation time. There is nothing wrong with the person who has the most stressful job, enjoying leisure time. Have you not seen how much grey hair he has gained since office. People need to learn how to relax. Why is it okay for us to take vacations from our jobs, but he can’t. If i had the financial means, I would probably vacation every month or twice a month…just saying.

  22. Ashley G says:

    I do believe Obama is still our president and I do think he is trying to move a lot of things forward for the people. I do also think that the house is blocking his way in letting things move forward and there throwing a lot of his ideas out of the window. First lady Michelle I think is doing her role by being active and really showing that her focus is on the kids and getting them healthy as well as standing next to her husbands side. With the recent events within local governments I think it is hard to honestly to calm over any type of storm when you have men dying at the hands of local government police. There is no real easy way to apologize for what has happen and how people should ban together because you still have to back your police force. All in all he may still be running his presidency but there are a lot of people trying there best to it away from him each step of the way.

  23. Matt R says:

    Barack Obama has never been my president. Yes, he is the President of the United States of America but since the day he threw his name in the hat for election, I did not agree with his ideals. To this day, more so than then, I do not agree with his ideals. So no, personally, he is not MY president. Is he still THE President? Unfortunately, yes. And I say that, not because I am bored with him, but ever since 2008 when he took office, he has collected (with the help of Congress) more national debt than the rest of the presidents throughout history combined. He has supported things that clearly go against our US Constitution. A lot of people these days feel that he is try to slowly turn us from a Capitalist, to a Fascist, and ultimately, to a Communist society. But, I do agree, a lot of people do become bored with their political leaders, and it isn’t just the president. I cannot even name the past 3 governors of Georgia, although I voted for the last 2. I remember Sonny Perdue, but before him? Not a clue. I know Nathan Deal is in office now, but in a few more years, when the next one comes along, I’ll slowly but surely forget about him and all that he has done. I personally believe it is the pride you feel in those whom you choose to elect that determines whether or not you remember that person. I remember Clinton and his presidency. Yes, it was marred by scandal, but he was an effective president and the economy was healthier back then. As for Obama, it seems like he is too far removed from what the people want and he is trying to push is own agenda and a lot of people feel that way. Perhaps I am biased because I am a Republican and simply disagree with 99% of what Democrats promote. I just don’t believe he is as passionate about America when the cameras are off as he claims to be while the camera is rolling.

  24. Matt R says:

    I’m going to have two posts in a row here. That’s funny. But, I’ll just take a little time to further build on what I said in the post above. It seems like the “President” isn’t on our side anymore, or at least not nearly as much as he should be. He’s treating the ISIS situation like it is nothing to be concerned about. Meanwhile, ISIS has killed many innocent people in Paris and has openly stated that America is the primary target. But what is Obama trying to concern people will as a distraction? Global warming. Well, Obama, I must say, the globe is pretty warm right now in the month of December and the polar ice caps are shown to have more ice than ever. So, next argument that makes no sense on the agenda please? Also, with all the shootings going on in America today, Obama is doing his best to take away the weapons of law abiding citizens. Just for one week, I’d like to see his secret service agents stripped of their weapons, just one week, and see how he likes that. It’s easy to take things away from everyone else when you have everything you need comfortably surrounding you everywhere you go. Sorry, but the rest of America doesn’t have the protections that you have so yes, we need our weapons to keep us safe. The decisions he has made over the past several years, including constitutionally ILLEGAL executive orders, proves that he is not the “President” he is supposed to be.

  25. Zack Saunders says:

    I think a lot of the indifference that you reference is a result of the culture that has been created in the last decade. Politics has become entertainment. We either want huge successes or juicy scandals. Anything in between is equivalent to an episode of Full House. Americans have come to view Washington through the lens of House of Cards. We expect wily statecraft and eloquent speeches mixed with a heavy dose of drama. The real issue is that Americans now have the difficulty of separating politics from entertainment which has led to a certain candidate gaining popularity in the 2016 election.

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