Trump is good for Obama’s legacy



In his  first five months in the White House, the only notable history achieved by Donald Trump is that he’s an uncommonly unpopular president at this early point in his tenure. His approval rating has been underwater since before he took the oath of office. And there are no indications that it will move into positive territory anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama,  “has been whisked to a very good table at the club of former presidents,” as Time magazine put it late last year.

A C-SPAN survey of 91 presidential historians published in December ranked Obama as the 12th best U.S. president ever. That’s the highest ranking among recent presidents except for Ronald Reagan, who was rated in ninth place.

Survey results gave Obama high marks for pursuing equality, managing the economy, public persuasion and “moral authority.” But he was said to have been below-average in handling international relations.

But unlike historians, most Americans are not more than vaguely familiar with the legacies of presidents who served long  ago — except, perhaps, for Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and a few others. Most people were not yet adults when George H.W. Bush was president. We’re generally more familiar with the second President Bush than with his  father,  but Obama’s two terms in office naturally are freshest in our minds.

Obama benefits in this regard from Trump’s lack of achievements thus far, which has led to his low approval ratings. There’s a delicious irony in the fact that The Donald’s campaign oratory included the ludicrous claim that Obama was “the worst president” in American history. Historians disagree, and so do most of the rest of us.

Those of us who experienced the Obama presidency first-hand and have endured these early months of Trump’s reign have an advantage that future generations won’t: We know that the former was far more classy and dignified as president than the latter has been thus far. We also remember that Trump’s prior claim to political fame was based mostly on his baseless claim that Obama was born in Africa and thus was ineligible to be president.

Yes, it’s Barack Obama’s  good luck that he has been succeeded by a man of so little dignity and grace.

It will be our  good  luck if Trump’s presidency is cut short by the forces of justice, which currently looks like a distinct possibility.