Daniel Smith’s 2009, photorealistic painting, “Stillwater Crossing” seems to me ideal for this post. It is a painting that is contemporary with Barrack Obama’s inaugural year and seems to visually capture the struggles of Obama’s presidency, keeping the country’s head above water and still moving forward. In this his final presidential year, talk of legacy is now naturally occurring. In last week’s New York Times Magazine, Andrew Sorkin wrote a long piece about Obama’s economic legacy. Sorkin was granted multiple interviews for this article, a recognition that this was a story that the President wanted to tell and also a sign of his confidence in Sorkin to tell it.
Obama seems somewhat melancholy in this piece. He wished that he could have done more, but also realizes that the forces arrayed against him prevented that. He also regretted that the people do not appreciate all that he has done for them. On the face of it this smacks of whining, but the reason that he regrets this fact is because he feels that those beliefs are also holding us all back, as in, if you believe that you are a loser then you become a loser. I benefited from Obama’s economic legacy. I lost money in 2008, but I stayed in the market and continued to invest. I bet on Obama and won. Now that his hand is near its end, I am filled with some trepidation. Will his legacy continue or will we now all come to believe that we are just losers and have to be remade great again. I’m certainly not bearish on America, it’s not in my nature, but with Donald Trump’s candidacy ascendant it is hard to be bullish on America. Let’s just say I’m half-bull, half-bear, I’m buffaloish on America, ready to charge ahead once the way ahead is clear, but prepared to endure the worst for America.