Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 12:40 am | Fair 61º

 
 
 
 

Peter Funt: Now More Than Ever We Need Barack Obama’s Care

It’s been chilly in Rancho Mirage with more rain than usual. Nevertheless, former President Barack Obama has reportedly been getting in as much well-deserved R&R as possible.

I haven’t run into him yet at the car wash or Starbucks, but if I do, here’s my long shot plea: Get back to Washington quickly and embark on a mission that no past president has attempted, by serving as leader of the loyal opposition to the Trump administration.

After less than two weeks in office, President Donald Trump has made clear that his reckless proposals, outsized ego and carelessness with the truth pose a real danger to America. His approach is like none other, which is why the response must be equally bold.

Most former presidents go off quietly to rest and relax, to write books, raise money for a library and, most notably in the case of President Bill Clinton, create a foundation. The Clinton Foundation accomplished many good things around the globe, while indirectly boosting Bill and Hillary Clinton’s personal fortune.

Obama already has his own foundation and, on the day he left office, he released a video message explaining that it will create a “Presidential Center” based on the south side of Chicago.

“More than a library or a museum,” he said, “it will be a living, working center for citizenship.”

He asked supporters to “tell us what you want this project to be.”

Nice, but not good enough. Mr. Former President, we need you to open an office in Washington and spearhead a public drive to counter the actions of the Trump administration. Rather than being an adjunct of the Democratic Party, this organization should welcome people of all affiliations who seek to set the record straight, as necessary, and to give voice to policy alternatives, without the burden of seeking office.

This means that Obama should give speeches, hold rallies and appear on Sunday talk programs with some regularity. Yes, it’s distinctly un-ex-presidential according to past practice, but the nation needs it.

Specifically, the Obama team must:

» Lobby aggressively for alternative policies and draw upon the best thinkers in and outside government for ideas.

» Gather data to counter false claims by the Trump administration about such things as climate change, immigration and health care.

» Lay groundwork for the election of qualified candidates for both local and national offices in the coming years.

» Provide vibrant dialog through social media to harness the energy of millions of Americans who regret November’s election outcome and now seek desperately to do something meaningful about it.

In his farewell address in Chicago, Obama said: “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.”

But in his final news conference Obama stated: “I want to do some writing. I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much.”

No!

At age 55, Obama is still the de facto leader of the Democratic Party. His popularity is high. Moreover, he is arguably the only political figure with the knowledge and charisma to take on the task of challenging Trump’s agenda — at least in the court of public opinion.

If Obama were to step up in this way it would immediately bring forth the most powerful outpouring of support and fund raising that the nation has seen since the Obama campaign of 2008.

The golf can wait. The library will still get built. Michelle and the girls will understand.

You said it, Mr. President, “It falls to each of us.”

Please help us.

Peter Funt is a writer, speaker and author of the book, Cautiously Optimistic. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons and can be contacted at www.candidcamera.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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