The Western Schism of the 13th and 14th centuries saw five antipopes contest the legitimate succession to the pontifical throne. The schism was officially put to rest by the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1417, although three of the five papal charlatans continued unsuccessfully to rebel against the authority of the Council. What we might call the American Schism of our day resembles a bizarre rerun of that sectarian clash, albeit in a secular dimension. For eight years Washington was not Washington, but Avignon on the Potomac, presided over by Anti-President Barack Obama II.
Many observers feel that the controversial ascension of Obama to the White House is no longer newsworthy. The sun has apparently set on Obama’s destructive stewardship of the country. He must be allowed to fade into political irrelevance while the country tackles without distraction the enormous problems that confront it. “There’s a lot of work to do,” writes one commenter to a recently posted article of mine, “Let’s start by consigning Obama to the dustbin of history, and repeat his name no more.”
This is a relatively common sentiment, but it is, I believe, a blinkered view of the Obama phenomenon. The sun is still at its zenith as the reality and repercussions of Obama’s tenure remain in force. Obama isn’t going away. He is intent on maximizing the damage he inflicted on the country during the two terms of his faux presidency, having now set up shop in Washington to pursue a post-presidency agenda advancing a left-wing insurgency, civil unrest, racial conflict and the destabilizing activities of a shadow government. His Alinskyite community organizing, 501(c) (4) nonprofit operations, advocacy with DNC backing for the “fundamental transformation” of America, a $60 million book contract, and the lure of obscenely lucrative speeches, clearly meant to further his former executive policies (as well as line his pockets), all continue to promote, as Mathew Vadum writes, “the social polarization and ethno-cultural balkanization he encouraged while president.” Not even post-presidential interventionists like the heroic Teddy Roosevelt or the irritating nuisance Jimmy Carter saw fit to establish tactical headquarters in the city on the hill. Unlike any of his 43 predecessors, Obama is without shame or compunction in his violation of post-presidential tradition, conduct befitting the program of an anti-president.
But this is by no means the whole story.