Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

In the cafes of New York City and the offices of Chicago, blue America seeks his wisdom like he’s a prophet or a sage. What should we do? they ask. Show us the path.

He likes to respond with a joke — a dad joke.

“Well, you could move to Wyoming or North Dakota,” Barack Obama has taken to telling city liberals, according to one of his senior aides.

Since leaving the White House, Obama has publicly embraced the traditionally apolitical role of most former American presidents. “He’s been looking forward to a life without the title of president that automatically draws resistance and the Pavlovian response of opposition,” says one adviser close to Obama. “As a former president, you are liberated from that baggage and can reach people in a way that’s not so political.”

But even as Obama tries to transcend partisanship, his jokes suggest political aims. This is the tension that already dominates his post-presidency, as revealed by interviews with six current and former aides to the former president: Obama wants to rise above the partisan muck, but he’s also eager to accomplish goals that are inescapably political in nature. 

For the complete story, visit


Similar Posts