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ANALYSIS: No One Cares About Obama Anymore

AOC praises Biden's 'impressive' progressive achievements as lib pundits anoint him the next FDR and Obama's legacy withers to dust

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• April 26, 2021 5:35 pm

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No one cares about former president Barack Obama anymore, least of all the Democratic Party's most fashionable influencers. It's almost as if his presidency never happened.

Last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office "have been impressive" and "exceeded" the expectations of trendy young progressives such as herself. Historians, journalists, and other liberals have anointed Biden the next FDR or LBJ—a once-in-a-generation "transformative" leader.

Not that long ago, it was Obama who was considered a hot young progressive and was hailed as the next coming of the 20th century's most transformative leaders. The similarly fawning coverage of Biden, the former running mate whose presidential ambitions he repeatedly sought to discourage, must be utterly humiliating for Obama and his excessively large ego.

Biden, meanwhile, just "loves the growing narrative that he's bolder and bigger-thinking than President Obama," according to the short-form gossip blog Axios. And why shouldn't he? As New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd argued, the former vice president was often treated horribly by Obama and his loyal cadre of insufferable bros, who considered dropping Biden in favor of Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2012 election. Politico wrote in 2014 that, among other things, Biden resented being "managed into a box by Obama's cocky campaign team."

In eight years, the Obamas never invited Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill (Ed.D.), to the White House living quarters. The former First Couple, millionaires many times over, didn't contribute a single dollar to Biden's presidential campaign last year. That shouldn't come as a shock, given the lengths to which Obama reportedly went to stop Biden from running for president—first in 2016 and again in 2020.

"It had stung Biden badly in 2015 when Obama made clear his preference for Hillary Clinton," journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency. "Adding insult to injury, Obama's advisers told Biden aides back then that they didn't think he could beat Clinton. They pressured him to get out of the way."

Biden was especially insulted because he thought, correctly, that Hillary was a "terrible candidate" who would be easy to beat. Hillary's devastating loss to Donald Trump did little to change Obama's mind about 2020. He continued to worry that Biden would "embarrass" or "dishonor" himself on the campaign trail and urged him not to run, telling his former running mate, "You don't have to do this, Joe."

Behind Biden's back, Obama reportedly told Democrats that the former VP "really doesn't have it" and warned them not to "underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up." Being the political genius that he is, Obama and his closest advisers "seemed to be enamored with" Beto O'Rourke, the failed Senate candidate whose disastrous presidential campaign flamed out months before the Iowa caucuses.

Nevertheless, Biden was one of the only candidates who stood up for Obama during the Democratic primary. Obama's name was rarely mentioned during the Democratic debates, and most of the candidates implicitly attacked his record on a host of issues, including health care, immigration, and trade.

That dynamic has largely persisted since Biden took office, with Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) retroactively bashing the "small" and "measly" stimulus package Obama championed in 2009 while touting the "big things" Democrats planned to accomplished under Biden.

No one cares about Obama anymore. His legacy is nonexistent. It's as if his presidency never happened, doomed to be overshadowed by the transformative leadership of the former running mate he despised.

Tough break, bro.