Barack Obama’s legacy in the ‘Bushes’

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were unveiled Monday.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not an artist or art critic. That being said, the rendering of Barack Obama was certainly not consistent with a certain dignified atmosphere in previous presidential portraits.

I venture to say that the setting was somewhat bizarre. Some have wondered if it is a reference to his being a Chicago Cubs fan. Why he would be sitting in the outfield at Wrigley Field is anyone’s guess.

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Some have facetiously described it as Obama still being stuck in the “Bushes,” a reference to his propensity to blame George W. Bush for his problems in office, even into his second term. This was certainly an element of his personality: an inability to accept personal responsibility.

I disagree, though, about the meaning of the portrait setting. My take on it, although it was probably unintended by the artist, is that it captures the future of Obama’s legacy.

I imagine a scene, thousands of years in the future, in which archaeologists, having hacked their way through dense weeds and vines, come across an enigma. Without some kind of Rosetta Stone to help with deciphering, they will be at a loss to explain something THAT which is beyond their experience.

Having been erased by subsequent presidents, his legacy will be inexplicable. Without an eyewitness account and translation, they would wonder how someone who was wrong about virtually everything he proposed could have been elected president once, much less twice.

AS His failures and missteps being corrected after he left office, they will assign him a small footnote in their histories, and resume their search for important finds. For unlike the artifacts Indiana Jones searched for, they will know that the Obama legacy will be worth nothing on the antique market.

That is because his legacy is failed governmental and economic philosophy, of adherence to overarching government control, and impingement on personal and economic freedoms.

Eugene Comiskey, Tryon