From Resistance to Nullification to What Next?Roundup
George H. W. Bush gave up power quietly and turned to charity work and occasional ceremonial speaking after his reelection defeat in 1992. George W. Bush — like Jerry Ford in 1977 and Ronald Reagan in 1989 — did the same when Barack Obama assumed power in 2009.
Recent Democrats emeriti — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama — apparently had a different vision of the post-presidency, unlike the quiet retirement of Lyndon Johnson back to his ranch in 1969. The three saw politics in more Manichean terms, as an existential struggle far too important to cease at the end of a presidential tenure.
Carter freelanced abroad for 30 years in successful quest for a Nobel Prize, but he often undercut presidential diplomacy. He regularly weighed in on the shortcomings of his successors — in a way he would have deeply resented had either Ford or Richard Nixon done the same.
No sooner had Bill Clinton left the presidency than he and Hillary Clinton began the grand plan for a return to the White House in 2009, and, after a setback, then again in 2017. Theirs was a two-decade long post-presidency of glad-handing, politicking, and, to use a euphemism, quid pro quo fund raising.
Barack Obama has already weighed in, including while overseas, on the shortcomings of his successor. His aides, led by Ben Rhodes, are at the forefront of the “Resistance” to thwart the Trump administration. Susan Rice and John Kerry comment regularly on supposed Trump foreign-policy blunders, as do James Clapper and John Brennan — usually in proactive fashion to deflect news accounts that may reflect poorly on their own past tenures. ...
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