My fellow Americans. It has been two years since I stepped down from the job I coveted, felt I deserved, and felt I executed ably, and passed the Presidency on to a successor from the opposition party. After my initial shock at that Election Day outcome wore off, and after I resettled myself and my family into a post-Presidency routine, I took the time to reflect back on my years in office, my accomplishments, and, especially, my decisions. And, I have concluded, I failed you.

My successor, for whom I have nothing but scorn, achieved his shocking victory because of me. Because of my hubris. Because I chose aggressive partisanship over bipartisan unity, no matter my speeches to the contrary. Because I misread the significance of my election. Because I ignored those voters who didn’t vote for me, and those voters who did vote for me but not for the agenda I chose to pursue once in office. Because I ignored the messages of the subsequent elections. Because I insisted on pursuing policies that unsettled a great many of you. Because I went back on my promise to undo the executive overreaches of my predecessor, and instead expand the power of the office even further. Because I set a precedent for my successor to do the same.

None of this would have occurred had I commenced my term as a “bipartisan” President. But, rather than be magnanimous in victory, rather than invite the opposition party to the table, I brashly informed them that “I won” and used my party’s complete control of Congress to pursue a highly partisan and exclusionary agenda. Thus, I set my party up for its first fall, when Senator Kennedy unexpectedly passed away and the good people of Massachusetts elected a Republican to his seat specifically to oppose the American Care Act. Had I invited the Republicans to the table, had they participated, at least in some measure, in drafting the new health care law, I might not have prompted the backlash that cost us our Senate supermajority, and soon thereafter, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

None of this would have happened had I then accepted the rebuke of that 2010 election. The Tea Party movement led to 63 seats being gained by Republicans, and suddenly my agenda faced an opposition party. Again, I could have been magnanimous in defeat, heeding the lesson and walking in the footsteps of my Democratic predecessor, but instead I chose to walk my own partisan, confrontational path. I still wanted to achieve my vision, and felt that I could, by force of will, wrestle that vision into being. My hubris prompted like-kind behavior from the new House majority and furthered the poisonous partisanship that has plagued our government most of this century.

None of this would have come to be had I acknowledged that, when you re-elected me in 2012, you nevertheless left the House of Representatives in the hands of the other party. You chose to give me four more years, but you also told me that you didn’t like what my party had done when it was fully in charge. Again, I failed to understand that I was elected President, not King, and that I had a co-equal branch of government alongside me. I knew better. Indeed, I warned of the executive branch over-reach of my predecessor. But, when it came my turn, I failed to walk the walk.

None of this would have taken place had I heeded my administration’s dismal track record at the Supreme Court. We lost more cases than any other recent administration – a clear sign that we were overstepping our mandate and bounds, and were failing in our oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Rather than understand the message, rather than understand that the Court was the other co-equal branch of government, I chose to scold the Court, again showing hubris over humility.

None of this would have arisen had I not infected my administration with the same hubris and partisanship. My subordinates, at the IRS, in the national security agencies, in law enforcement and elsewhere, turned the power of government against the opposition party and against the American people, and left millions of you feeling that government was not by, of, and for the people, but instead was the tool of politicians, to be used against the people.

None of this would have ensued had I not attempted to guide the Democratic Party in the direction of a deeply flawed candidate that I nevertheless saw as the person to cement my legacy and solidify my policies. Again, I failed to understand the deep unease my tenure had generated among many who were lifelong members and allies of my party, and the even deeper unease it generated among millions of Americans who didn’t vote for me but who I promised to represent.

Were I able, I would, with the wisdom and clarity of hindsight, redo my eight years, and undo the over-reach and petulance that led to the deep divisions we witness in our society today, and that resulted in the election of the man that succeeded me. Alas, I cannot. I can only offer my apology for creating and deepening the toxic partisan rancor that plagues our nation today, and I can only hope that my words here today induce each of you, no matter your political affiliations and beliefs, to look upon your fellow Americans with a bit less hostility and suspicion. After all, we are stronger united than we are divided.

Sincerely and With Regrets,
[NOT] Barack H. Obama

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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