President Obama seems to have come full circle.
He came into office riding an incredible wave of popularity, and with many people holding high hopes about what he represented, and the type of change that he could mean to the country.
Now, he is leaving with a surge of popularity, as his 60 percent approval ratings are the highest of any departing president since Clinton, who left office with the record high approval ratings for a departing president, with Reagan being a very close second.
The irony is that Obama was not what everyone expected, and really was not even all that close.
To be fair, there really was no way that he even could live up to everyone's expectations. After all, we need to remember just how dismal the situation in the county, and indeed in the world, really was at the time that he entered into office, with the country nearly on it's knees economically, seemingly on the verge of a serious economic collapse following eight long years of disastrous Bush policies. We had seen numerous huge economic scandals, some with links to the White House, and we had also seen many years of tax breaks and benefits for the very wealthiest Americans, all while fighting two very expensive (and costly in every sense of the word) wars overseas.
The honeymoon did not last long, as Obama retained surprisingly many of Bush's policies, including economic policies. The wars continued, Guantanamo did not close, and Obamacare was not quite as grand as many of his supporters had expected. Also, he had done virtually nothing on climate change through his first term, saving that for a second term that actually was not as certain as it might have seemed to be to Obama and his team.
Still, a second term he did get. But Obama's eight years in office offered numerous paradoxes. He was considered great by some, but a lot of that was predicated on who he was not: namely, George W. Bush. As mentioned, he kept in place many of Bush's worst policies for an alarmingly long time while in office. Indeed, the world community as a whole rejoiced when Obama won, and this hopeful spirit and enthusiasm was probably the reason why he "won" the most unearned Nobel Peace Prize in history. Yet, he "earned" the dubious distinction of being the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to bomb another Nobel Peace Prize winner and, on average, he dropped bombs every twenty minutes during his eight years in office. He escalated America's surveillance program, both abroad and domestically.
Most famously, his drone program gained worldwide notoriety, and there is a decent chance that this will be a large part of his lasting legacy, which was a legacy of glaring paradoxes.
And in the spoof article (see link below), the Onion really humorously captures this paradox:
Departing Obama Tearfully Shoos Away Loyal Drone Following Him Out Of White House ‘Go On Now, Git,’ Says Former President NEWS IN BRIEF January 20, 2017: