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Obama's speech in Philadelphia was powerful, America needs more from him

by Hayes Brown - msnbc.com | Story Source    Thursday October 22, 2020 - 4:47 AM
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* US Presidential Election *
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Obama's speech in Philadelphia was powerful, America needs more from him
Barack Obama finally hit the campaign trail for his former vice president, Joe Biden, on Wednesday night, after four years of mostly shying away from the political spotlight. But while his razor-sharp speech was a welcome reminder of how great a campaigner Obama is, maybe he doesn't have to spend the rest of his post-presidency as a warmup act.

At the start of the Trump administration, Obama seemed to vanish overnight. We'd catch glimpses of him from time to time, memes of him having a great time on Richard Branson's yacht, a scene that clashed with the horror show of everyday life for the rest of us. He and Michelle got a Netflix production deal, and he would drop the occasional Spotify playlist or give an address to young people every now and then. But it's only in the last year that he's finally made a fuller return to public life.

Obama delivered his sharpest attack on the Trump administration since he turned over the keys to the Oval Office in 2017.

In his drive-in speech to Black voters in south Philadelphia on Wednesday night, Obama delivered his sharpest attack on the Trump administration since he turned over the keys to the Oval Office in 2017. But being who he is, he ended on a hopeful note: "We can't just imagine a better future. We've got to fight for it. ... What is best in us is still there, but we've got to give it voice, and we've got to do it now."

Hearing him back on the stump, I feel called to paraphrase Wes Anderson's film "The Royal Tenenbaums": Everyone knows Obama said "this is my last campaign" in 2012. But this essay presupposes ... what if it wasn't? What if it turns out that with the accomplishments of his presidency threatened, the best way to protect and strengthen them isn't just to get Biden elected? What if making good on promises unfulfilled and policies now broken means Obama's returning to government service and fighting for that future himself?

Obviously, the 22nd Amendment keeps Obama from running for a third term as president, which is as it should be, no matter how many times President Donald Trump hints that he'd like to change it. Taking up a position in a future Cabinet could raise troubling questions about the line of succession, as well as create some awkward situations after he'd held the top spot. But that still leaves two whole branches of ...

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