The Twenty-second Amendment bars President Obama from running for a third term, but he believes his time in the White House would have made him a better candidate than on the previous two occasions.
Still pretty young for a president at 55, Obama discussed what he’s learned in his eight years as POTUS on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast back in June 2015, which I was driven to listen back to this week perhaps because it’s hard to imagine Donald Trump ever sitting down in a guy’s garage to discuss comedy, politics and rebellious youth in a relaxed, conversational way.
“I was talking to somebody the other day about why I actually think I’m a better president and would be a better candidate if I were running again than I ever have been,” Obama told Maron, “and it’s sort of like an athlete - you might slow down a bit, you might not jump as high as you used to, but I know what I’m doing and I’m fearless.
“You know, the longer you do something the better your instincts are.”
Obama also reflected on what he’s learned about communicating with the public, saying that it’s important for a president to “recognise that it’s not enough just to be right or to get the policy right, it’s also important to be able to communicate it in a way that is easily digestible for the public that you can move the needle of public opinion.”
He agreed with Maron that being president can often amount to “middle management” and that the whims of Congress unfortunately leave one somewhat restricted in affecting change, but was proud that under his leadership the US has now “got millions of people who have healthcare who didn’t have it before [and] the lowest uninsured rate that’s ever been recorded.”
Though the interview came long before the Trump v. Clinton election, some of what he said also seemed to speak to why we have found ourselves in such a polarised political situation.
“The problem is there’s this big gap between who we are as a people and how our politics expresses itself,” he said.
“Part of that has to do with…a media that is so splintered now that we’re not in a common conversation.
“There is a profit, both for politicians and for news outlets, in simplifying and polarising.
“All those things have combined to make our political institutions detached from how people live on a day-to-day basis.”
Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America is scheduled for Friday 20 January 2017.Reuse content