Finishing Up in the Oval

In what is supposed to be the nation’s house of compromise, consistent discord and legislative procrastination seems to prevail. The upcoming 2016 election season has already begun leaving most politicians in a frenzy with prominent members of Congress seeking the Presidential nomination off on their personal campaigns. That leaves us with really just one ace in the hole. A president with no more campaigns to run.

Earlier this year, when President Barack Obama said, “I have no more campaigns to run,” a significant number of Republican party members joined their hands together to applaud the announcement. But the President had just one extremely sly response: “I know, ’cause I won both of ’em.”

Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The comment produced a media eruption, with viral videos feeding off the source, but aside from the “pipe bomb” replays of the comment on YouTube, it brings us back to the statement the president made. It’s true: we have a president who no longer has any campaigns to run. It’s true: his only agenda is to be the commander-in-chief, the leader of the free world, the President of the United States of America. It also begs the question: how does a President make use of such an opportunity? With such power, such responsibility, and at such an opportune time, how can one best make use of one’s skills?

Well, the President answers for us. Push Medicare—only for the Senate to push back the vote for two weeks. Act on climate change—only to not grasp the attention of the media long enough to even make the trending section of Facebook. (It was sadly beaten out by Hugh Jackman’s hint at his final stint as the Wolverine.) The point being, as the 44th President of the U.S. ushers in the 45th, he has the perfect opportunity to exercise a power significant beyond belief. But exactly because of the events stated above, it will barely be perceived.

In the 21st century, with hacker groups running rampant and a smartphone with constant network access in the hands of virtually everyone over the age of 13, power is most significant and effective where it is least perceived. As President Obama prepares to end his second and final term and step out of the Oval Office, his final push for his policies, the last nails he drives into the legal legacy he leaves in his wake, will perhaps be the most significant moves he might make through the entirety of his two terms—and no one will ever know.

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