Why Is It That Democrats See Barack Obama as a Successful President?


President Barack Obama addresses the crowd at the Cannonball Flag Day Celebration in Cannonball, N.D. on Friday, June 13, 2014. (Kevin Cederstrom/Forum News Service)

“Barack Obama Urges Democrats to Try to Sound More Like Him in 2018,” reads a headline from Jim Geraghty at National Review today.

His column touches on the rising tide of Democratic outrage politics in the Trump era, and he notes that former President Barack Obama is urging Democrats to shift their tone back to what it was when he was in office.

“All these people are out here kvetching and wringing their hands and stressed and anxious and, you know, constantly watching cable TV and howling at the moon, ‘What are we going to do?’ Their hair is falling out,” Obama is quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “The good news is that if you act, if we act, then the majority of the American people prefer a story of hope.”

Our friends on the left have been clamoring for Obama’s return to prominence in the national political debate. “Where Is Barack Obama?” a recent New York magazine headline asked over an article where it was suggested that the former President has “virtually disappeared from public life.”

But is Obama really the talisman of political success Democrats need right now? While it’s true that Obama was successful at getting himself elected to the White House twice, what else did he accomplish?

His policy legacy has already been watered down and, in many instances, outright overturned since President Trump took office. Politically speaking, the Obama era was a disaster for the Democrats. “In the past decade my party lost over 1,000 state legislative seats, nine U.S. Senate seats, 62 House seats and 12 governorships,” former Democratic U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan wrote recently.

Here’s what those numbers look like in graphical form, per the Washington Post:

In summary Barack Obama brought his political movement few lasting policy accomplishments and political decimation at the national, state, and local levels.

Do Democrats really want to sign up for more of that?