By Maureen Dowd – The New York Times.
WASHINGTON — “Please stop smiling,” I politely asked Barack Obama as I passed him in Boston’s airport.
It wasn’t just any smile. It was that infectious, magical grin that helped him deflate the Clinton machine and win the White House as a novice senator, a smile full of charm and promise that we didn’t see all that often after 2008.
No answer was forthcoming since I was only talking to the former president’s glossy image, cuddling with the glamorous Michelle on the cover of People.
But there is something disorienting about seeing Obama look so genuinely blissful, cavorting around the world with celebrities and billionaires, while so many others freak out about his successor.
As TMZ put it Friday, when it published pictures of Obama grinning and golfing at St. Andrews in Scotland: “Barack Obama’s not just on vacation — he’s on the most EPIC vacay, and it’s starting to feel like he’s rubbing it in your face.”
If everything is as dire as Democrats say, if the very Republic is in peril and the leader of the free world is unstable, if President Trump is trying to trample on Obama’s legacy and gut Medicaid and rip up the social safety net, why is Obama acting so jolly and carefree?
Publications have worn out the word “luxe” describing Obama’s new jet-setting, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, golfing, memoir-writing, buckraking life. It is odd to watch the ex-president avoid any direct criticism of Trump while Democratic officials and former Obama advisers tweet and cable-chat all day, every day about Trump being a danger to democracy.
It’s a resistance in search of a leader.
“We’re beyond grief and into disbelief,” David Axelrod, Obama’s old guru, told me. “I feel like a 6-year-old has gotten controls of the 747 and we’re all strapped in our seats hoping either he’ll land the plane or somebody else will co-pilot. But meanwhile, we’re just getting jerked around in turbulence on a constant basis here. It is just debilitating.”