On Tuesday President Obama revealed what his final days in office are about, weakness in the name of progressivism, as he made a flurry of activity, including the commuting of the sentence of Chelsea Manning, formerly Army Intelligence Analyst Bradley Manning. Leaving aside the fact that Obama decried vociferously the actions of hackers that revealed internal information about the DNC during this last election, which makes him seem like a hypocrite, it makes him and by extension the office of the presidency look weak.
The question is... why? Well, every president is concerned with their legacy as they get ready to leave office. In 2012 Obama passed midnight appointments and drafted presidential orders, this time around he is taking a softer approach. This president, as he leaves office, is aiming at the low information voters who swept him in to the presidency based on feelings. This president is aiming at the social justice warriors and identity politics crowd that identified with him so strongly because they thought he represented the cultural shift in this country towards a multicultural and progressive populace. When Barack H. Obama was elected he was seen as young, urbane and possessing a certain worldlyness that wasn't represented by the rich white men of previous elections or his opponents.
Whether you agree with that or not, and I don't considering the global experiences of past presidents, who built businesses worldwide, fought in wars to defend freedom, or worked in the intelligence field, that is how he was branded and that is why so many of your typical college liberals voted for him. Now he hearkens back to that, and in a time when gender identityis a trendy intellectual topic but national security is boring at best and racist dog whistling at worst.... the perfect bone to throw his base of shallow adoration is to commute the sentence of a traitor who bends against gender norms to transition from a man to a woman on the taxpayer dime. It's actually a fairly brilliant way to appeal to the people that love him so even after his failures as a commander-in-chief, but I can't wait for a president who isn't so concerned with being cool, and I'm not alone.