The former president has been contradicting himself. He must think radicalism is now a winning strategy.
It is often said that the Democratic Party has moved significantly to the left since the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, which might explain why Mr. Obama’s remarks at John Lewis’s funeral service last week sounded like an attempt to stay relevant.
It wasn’t long ago that the former president was trying to steer Democrats in a more moderate direction. Back in 2018, amid calls for “sanctuary cities” and the abolition of immigration-enforcement agencies, Mr. Obama insisted that “national borders matter” and that “laws need to be followed.” He also urged fellow liberals to cool it with the identity politics. We have to “engage with people not only who look different but who hold different views,” he said. “And you can’t do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start. And you can’t do it if you insist that those who aren’t like you—because they’re white or because they’re male—that somehow . . . they lack standing to speak on certain matters.”
Alas, we heard a very different Barack Obama last Thursday in Atlanta, where he turned a eulogy for a civil-rights hero into a stump speech and offered his blessing to any number of progressive causes. Among other things, he now wants the Senate to ditch the filibuster—which he supported and employed as a senator—and grant statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, two liberal bastions that could be counted on to elect more Democrats.
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