If you didn’t vote for Joe Biden for president, and the former vice president actually takes office on Jan. 20, you’re probably worrying yourself over the prospect that it’ll turn into a de facto third term for Barack Obama.
Well, if you listen to Barack Obama, you needn’t worry: It’s definitely going to turn into a third term for him.
Granted, when he appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” late last month, Obama didn’t say it in as many words. He couldn’t, because portraying Joe Biden as the Dmitry Medvedev to his Vladimir Putin might seem a bit … off to Americans. In fact, the way he phrased it meant that it mostly flew under the radar for a few weeks.
However, in an interview he did with late-night TV’s most obsequious Democrat booster, we were treated to some grade-A unintentional honesty.
Asked if he missed his old job when he looked at the headlines from the Trump administration, Obama mentioned that there were plenty of people who wanted him to have a third term. Alas, there was that pesky 22nd Amendment in the way, limiting him to two terms.
But wait! There’s a catch.
“If I could make an arrangement where I had a stand-in, a frontman or frontwoman, and they had an earpiece in, and I was just in my basement in my sweats, looking through the stuff, then deliver the lines, but somebody else was doing all the talking — I’d be fine with that,” Obama said.
“Because I found the work fascinating. Even on my worst days, I found puzzling out these big, complicated, difficult issues — especially if you’re working with some great people — to be professionally, really satisfying. But I do not miss having to wear a tie every day.”
There seems to be a genuine loathing among us conservatives when talk-show hosts or other entertainment figures bring Democrat politicians on for interviews and treat them with uncritical adoration. I’ll never get this, because if you want to hear Barack Obama say the quiet part out loud, the best chance you have is when you’ve got Stephen Colbert sitting across from him with puppy-dog eyes, feeding Obama softball questions at the same time he’s feeding his ego.
The exact situation Obama is describing would be difficult to pull off — although given his former second-in-command’s reliance on the teleprompter, Obama feeding Biden lines while the 44th president was in the basement in his sweats isn’t as far out of the question as you might imagine.
In a more general sense, however, the idea that a potential Biden presidency could be shaping up to be a third-term for Obama is something even the media is doing a grimace emoji over.
Biden has been crystal clear on two public policy goals: Signing back on to the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement. Both were signature moments (literally) of the Obama administration. Neither actually accomplished what it was intended to do: The Iran deal did nothing to deter Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in the long run and the Paris accord will do little to reduce climate change.
When it comes to specific personnel, Biden wants to nominate Anthony Blinken — who played a role in plenty of Obama-era foreign policy disasters, including military intervention in Libya — as his secretary of state, according to The Associated Press. John Kerry, who ran the State Department during the second Obama administration, is in line to be Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate.
Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman under Obama, is Biden’s choice for the White House press secretary. Obama’s secretary of agriculture was former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Biden’s secretary of agriculture, if all goes as planned, according to CNN, will be … former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Obama surgeon general Vivek H. Murthy is set to become Biden surgeon general Vivek H. Murthy, CNN reported.
Ron Klain was Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president. Biden wants him to be his chief of staff again, this time for a more attractive office. Susan Rice, former national security advisor under Obama, is Biden’s choice to head up the White House Domestic Policy Council, the AP reported.
NPR noted that as of Saturday, of 16 Biden cabinet picks, 12 were Obama appointees. The best thing that could be said at this point is that Ben Rhodes, Obama’s unctuous deputy national security advisor and foreign policy bro, hasn’t yet been offered a job by Biden, although you get the feeling that might be just because no one’s reminded Biden yet.
One can express some happiness, I suppose, that Biden hasn’t gone the other way and chosen Rep. Ilhan Omar for a potential secretary of state. However, there are other competent liberal careerists that could fill out a cabinet who weren’t part of the 44th president’s team. A potential Biden administration is being filled with talent curated and nurtured by former President Obama. And, rest assured, they’re going to be answering his phone calls if they come — or rather, when they come.
Just before Obama got a bit too candid about that de facto third-term, Colbert and the former president had another curious back-and-forth. At about the 5:40 mark in the video above, Colbert mentioned that Michelle Obama had requested he stop calling her the former first lady or “madam first lady.” It’s just “Michelle” from now on.
“Mr. President, is there anything you’d like to say to me?” Colbert asked, implying maybe it was time for “Mr. Obama” or “Barack.”
“Nope,” Obama responded.
There was an awkward pause. Colbert licked his pen.
“You know what, I take that back,” Obama said. “You don’t have to call me Mr. President. You can just call me president.”
Yes, I get it. It was a joke. So was the third-term quip. Obama the comedian probably should have read the room a bit better.
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