Free Minds & Free Markets

Who's Ready for an Obama Lecture About Trump?: Podcast

Critiquing an ex-president's warnings about anti-media rhetoric, non-voting, and unelected bureaucrats

He's baaaack! ||| JOHN GRESS/REUTERS/NewscomJOHN GRESS/REUTERS/NewscomDid you see Barack Obama's big get-back-in-the-ring speech last week? Here's the whole kaboodle; here's a five-minute highlight reel. The former president said stuff like "I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people," warned about relying on rogue White House bureaucrats to sometimes do the right thing, and extolled voting as the number-one method for counter-acting his successor.

To the surprise of no one, that latter suggestion in particular irked Katherine Mangu-Ward during our Monday editor-roundtable version of the Reason Podcast, also featuring Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and me. The discussion quickly broadened out to the importance/veracity of Bob Woodward's new book, the possible identities and purpose of the anonymous New York Times White House resister, the political garbage-fire of last week's Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, last week's social media hearings on Capitol Hill, and more.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Government Funded Weed' by Black Ant is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Obama Endorses Medicare-for-All," by Christian Britschgi

"Why the American Establishment Has Lost Credibility," by David E. Bernstein

"'Lie of the Year' Winner Barack Obama Admonishes Congress to 'Speak the Truth' About Obamacare," by Matt Welch

"Trump Confronts the Enemy Within," by Steve Chapman

"Woodward: Trump Scribbled 'TRADE IS BAD' in Margins of Speech," by Eric Boehm

"Trump Claims He's 'Never' Called Anyone 'Mentally Retarded.' Wrong," by Joe Setyon

"In the White House, Everyone Hates Trump and Trump Hates Everyone," by Eric Boehm

"Anonymous Tell-Alls in The New York Times Are More of a Threat to the Republic Than Trump," by Nick Gillespie

"Trump Cries 'Treason!' Over Anonymous Times Op-Ed," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Trump: DOJ Should Investigate NYT Op-Ed Writer for 'National Security' Purposes," by Joe Setyon

"No, Trump Staffers Shouldn't Be Subject to a Lie Detector Dragnet to Find the 'Resistance' Mole," by J.D. Tuccille

"What Should Have Happened at the Brett Kavanaugh Hearing," by Austin Bragg and Andrew Heaton

"Kamala Harris, Foe of Legal Sex Work, Questions Whether Laws Exist That Control Male Bodies," by Scott Shackford

"Cory Booker Risks Senate Expulsion, Releases Confidential Kavanaugh Emails About 'Racial Profiling'," by Joe Setyon

"Thoughts on the Kavanaugh Racial Profiling Emails Revealed by Sen. Cory Booker," by Ilya Somin

"Dianne Feinstein Wants Brett Kavanaugh to 'Reconcile' His Second Amendment Reasoning With 'Hundreds of School Shootings' That Never Happened," by Jacob Sullum

"'Judge Kavanaugh Was Not Responsible for the Parkland School Shooting,'" by Nick Gillespie

"Ben Sasse Explains Why the Politicization of the Supreme Court Is a Dangerous Thing," by Eric Boehm

"Regulators Want to Know: Are Social Media Companies 'Intentionally Stifling' Conservatives?" by Joe Setyon

"Senators Want Facebook and Twitter to Ignore Demands from Authoritarian Governments, Except Ours," by Robby Soave

"Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Agree: Amazon Is Bad," by Zuri Davis

"Trump Doesn't Like What People See When They Search 'Trump News,'" by Peter Suderman

"Trump Is No Match for the First Amendment," by Jacob Sullum

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

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Photo Credit: JOHN GRESS/REUTERS/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Don't look at me.||

    The editorial was fake. Who wants to bet?

  • Tony||

    Me. How much you got?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    He's got 4 inches.

  • Don't look at me.||

    That's why you didn't gag on it.

  • Juice||

    Trying to make it sound like Pence is the tell.

  • Tony||

    It's utterly fascinating that people could think that a) the NYT would just make this up and expect to get away with it and b) Trump isn't actually an insane manchild. What is he, a gentleman and a scholar?

  • Sevo||

    "It's utterly fascinating that people could think that a) the NYT would just make this up and expect to get away with it and b) Trump isn't actually an insane manchild."

    What's not fascinating is your continuing gullibility and your infantile claims that Trump is "X", meaning you don't like him.
    You lost, loser. Grow up.

  • Tony||

    Some of us don't think certain men should be president for observable, tangible reasons, including policy positions and their inability to think or speak beyond a 4th grade level.

    I realize that "the fat man on the radio told me to do this" is what counts as introspective decision making to people like you, but some of us simply take a different approach.

  • Libertymike||

    Perhaps you should listen a little more carefully to Obama.

    Perhaps you do not want to because having to endure the concatenation of his ums and ahs and you knows and other verbigerative annoyances would be too cacophonous, even for you.

    Obama is far more annoying, sans teleprompter, than the Donald.

  • Tony||

    Is it the head-splitting screeching or merely the refreshing lack of 3-syllable words that you find appealing?

  • Libertymike||

    Tony, way to dodge my point.

    Just admit it.

    What Trump does very well is how he conducts his rallies. Specifically, his ability to communicate at said rallies.

    Obama is better than Trump with a prepared speech delivered with the aid of a teleprompter.

  • Tony||

    He can't even say the word "anonymous" without stroking out.

    Trump is shrill and insane. If that's what his crowd wants, then they probably shouldn't be voting.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties are so far out of their depth in playing poker. Lefties always lose the game and wonder why Trump beats them every time.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|9.10.18 @ 3:54PM|#
    "Some of us don't think certain men should be president for observable, tangible reasons, including policy positions and their inability to think or speak beyond a 4th grade level."
    You mean like:
    1) DeVos
    2) Gorsuch
    3) Ajit Pai, end net price fixing
    4) Major reduction in the growth of regulations
    5) Dow +30%
    6) Unemployment at 3.8%
    7) The US Manufacturing Index soared to a 33 year high
    8) Got repeal of the national medical insurance mandate.
    9) Withdrawal from Paris climate agreement.
    10) Not sure about the tax reform; any "reform" that leaves me subisdizing Musk's customers is not what I hoped for. Let Musk run a company for once.
    11) In the waning days of 2017, the Trump administration pulled its support for the $13 billion Hudson Tunnel project.
    12) More than 16,000 jobs have been cut from the federal leviathan
    13) MIGHT have a deal to de-nuke NK.
    And finally:
    14) Still making lefties steppin and fetchin like their pants is on fire and their asses are catchin'

    I know you're still pissed you and that miserable hag lost, but ta, ta! Looking pretty good to me.
    "I realize that "the fat man on the radio told me to do this" is what counts as introspective decision making to people like you, but some of us simply take a different approach."

    I wouldn't know shitbag. Never listened to talk radio.

  • mpercy||

    First, Boortz lost a lot of weight, so he's not fat anymore. Second, Boortz hasn't been on the radio for a number of years.

  • ||

    a) the NYT would just make this up and expect to get away with it

    This I would believe.

    b) Trump isn't actually an insane manchild

    No, he is. These aren't mutually exclusive things.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    I agree with this.

    The NYT has been caught just making things up before, that doesn't mean Trump isn't an insane manchild.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Who said the NYT made it up? It was submitted.

  • The Last American Hero||

    So Bob Woodward typed up an editorial, didn't sign it, and dropped it in the mailbox?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It was Mailer Daemon.

  • Juice||

    the NYT would just make this up

    I don't think the NYT made it up, but it sure seems like someone did.

  • Tony||

    The narrative coming out of DC in recent days is that a) Trump is worse than we think and b) Mueller's dirt on Trump is worse than we think.

    Eventually we'll find out one way or another.

  • TGoodchild||

    "The narrative coming out of DC..."

    That is one suspicious preamble.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its lies all the way down.

    The Lefties are clinging to the last hope that Mueller has something bad for Trump after 1.5 years. he doesnt.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Trying to make it sound like Pence is the tell."'

    They spoiled that when it said they feared losing their job. Pence can't be fired.

  • MasterThief||

    One line of that stood out to me as well. The writer said "the president's party" rather than "our" or simply republicans. Unless it was intentional distraction, that would suggest the person is either a democrat or unaffiliated (ok, i jest at the latter one. Who for nyt or in the white house could be expected to be nonpartisan?)

    Ultimately I wouldn't put it past NYT to fake this, but I can also believe it's legitimate and accurately portrays how the WH is operating. It would actually be more comforting to learn that NYT outright faked this or published a crappy source

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Good point: Likely this "senior" official is some flunky so far down the food chain party affiliation is ordinarily thought not to matter, because the idea that somebody would start stealing documents from the President's desk out of partisan motives wasn't on the table previously.

    Probably Jr secretary in charge of fetching Trump's cheeseburgers.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    The editorial was fake. Who wants to bet?

    It's the "Steele Dossier" version 2.0: a bunch of mostly vague, unverified, and unverifiable B.S.

    They figured that because 1.0 was such a complete and total flop, they needed to try again.

  • Just Say'n||

    "I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people,"

    God bless anyone who takes this statement uncritically. That eight year coma has reduced them to morons

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    He didn't threaten to shut them down, technically. He actually attempted to shut them down through the IRS. You can't threaten somebody when you're trying to attack them in secret.

  • Just Say'n||

    Look at the Obama hater here. He didn't just use the IRS to shutdown stuff he didn't like. He also used the DOJ through Operation Choke Point.

    It's insulting to say that President Obama was too dumb to impose authoritarianism through other federal agencies beyond the IRS.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I didn't give him enough credit!

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Well he does complain about not getting enough credit.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Yeah, Ken got this particular one right -- Trump is full of bluster but hasn't done anything yet, while Obama did take one or two to court.

    Is it Alzheimer's or is it just political amnesia?

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is the Wizard of Oz. Pay attention to the giant head, not the man behind the curtain.

  • damikesc||

    In his defense, Obama's boy Holder took one to SEVERAL courts until he found one who would do it.

    He was willing to work hard to do it.

  • Just Say'n||

    "When Obama spied on AP reporters and accused a Fox reporter as an unindicted co-conspirator that was done out of wokeness and therefore fine. We all know that Trump isn't woke and therefore his words are unequivocally violent. Obama didn't bring violence upon reporters, whereas Trump has with his words."

    - Chandler Bing

  • BYODB||

    Wow, way to manage to somehow be less classy than fake-hick George W. Bush who managed to get keep his fat mouth shut for your 8 years.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    This was exactly my thought. I simply can't remember ANY president during my politically conscious lifetime who said much of anything at all about subsequent presidents or their policy, much less an all out attack.

    What one ought to remember is that he was elected in large part because he wasn't going to do things the "Washington Way." And now we have Washington people complaining that he's not doing things the Washington Way, and they expect Trump's constituency to somehow be upset?

    Unless someone can prove he's acting illegally, and not just state unprovable nonsense about how they alone can save the world from disaster by thwarting unnamed Trump's policy desires, this is a huge nothingburger.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people...

    I'll hand it to Obama. His people never let dumb shit like that make its way onto the teleprompter.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Obama's staff smoothed out his rough edges and covered for the stupid shit that Obama wanted to say. Obama doesn't have those people anymore. It shows.

    The media has been so on a TDS rant for 19 months, that they forgot how to cover for Obama. This Obama stumping is going to get funnier and funnier.

    I guess he feels like he has no legacy to lose anymore, so why not admit that Democrats are going to get skinned alive in election 2018, and stump for the Democratic party.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Who's Obama?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    The subject of every one of your "But what about..." posts?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Are my "whataboutism" posts following a "But what about Boosh" post?

    I would include more buffoon president "whataboutisms" but I usually only need an Obama or Booosh or Clinton.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I would include more buffoon president "whataboutisms" but I usually only need an Obama or Booosh or Clinton

    Since they're usually used to defend Trump's actions, I guess the comparison to the actions of "buffoon" presidents is apropos.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Many of the past presidents in the 20th and 21st Centuries were buffoons, so Trump was better than them on Day 2 of his presidency.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Historical fact usually shuts up the Lefties pretty quick. Or they move to insults, since they lost.

  • Red Tony||

    Is this your way of admitting you're a lefty?

    Among Lefties?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "A Lefty Amongst Lefties" would be an awesome album...

    Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Albert King, Dick Dale, others

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Eddie Van Halen in the mirror

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Red Tony makes the point for $1000

  • Brian||

    Man intentionally crashes truck into FOX 4 studios in Dallas, starts 'ranting' before arrest, officials say

    ...Yelling "HIGH TREASON!"

    When will progressive leaders dial down their incendiary rhetoric that drives progressives to commit acts of violence against journalists?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Part of me just wants all these Lefty nut jobs to come out of the wood work and expose themselves for what they are.

    If only some do, they get sent to prison and wont be able to vote for a few cycles.
    If a bunch do, we return fire and Civil War 2.0 gets settled within months.

    I predict election 2018 going badly for Lefties will step up the insanity for them. Trump getting reelected with really start the chestnuts roasting.

  • Oli||

    Looks more like your typical Alex Jones audience to me.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    PBS staff wrote that, huh?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    That doesn't fit their narrative so it goes under the rug.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Love how he blamed Bush for all his problems and takes credit for Trump's accomplishments...

  • Just Say'n||

    I disagree. Trump's only real accomplishment was winning the 2016 election and Obama deserves A LOT of credit for that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You might have something there. Trump tried twice to run for president and could not make it happen.

    Run for president after Obama and Trump wins a mudslide over Hillary.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Fair enough...

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I think the DNC deserves the credit.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    He isn't in charge anymore, I don't have to care or know what he thinks, and you can't make me.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    About as close to my thoughts as one can get.

    He's just Citizen Joe now. Hard for me to give a fuck what he thinks about anything st all.

  • Nardz||

    This should be a solid thread... until it's taken over by a half dozen hihnsocks

  • Red Tony||

    "And they're all crusty! Ew!"

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    This is the difference between little "c" crusty and big "C" Crusty.

  • Ska||

    Crusty Hihnsock was never my nickname in college.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Laurel talking about Hardy.

  • Sevo||

    "...the possible identities and purpose of the anonymous New York Times White House resister,..."

    You left out the "possible existence" of same.

  • Just Say'n||

    "the permanent bureaucracy is undermining Trump" also "the editorial from a bureaucrat who says that he's undermining Trump isn't real"

    Which one is it?

  • Sevo||

    Uh, what?

  • Red Tony||

    "The permanent bureaucracy is undermining Trump."
    "The editorial from a bureaucrat who says that he's undermining Trump is a hoax."

    Believing 2 suggests you don't believe 1, while believing the opposite of 2 (that the editorial is from an actual bureaucrat) would support 1. In other words, believing both 1 and 2 would seem to be slightly contradictory, although it is possible to hold both viewpoints and for both statements to be true simultaneously.

  • Fooseven||


  • Sevo||

    My comment regards the existence of the person at all; IOWs, I'm not at all certain that there was such a person.
    Regardless of any bureaucracy or editorial.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez||

    Here's the thing: if one were actually engaged in a secret undermining of the President's agenda from within, it makes no sense in hell that they would publicize their activities, anonymously or not...that's kind of the point of "secretly undermining."

    My only guesses about the author of this op-ed would be that they are:

    1. some kind of outside political operative trying to stoke even more chaos within the administration (perhaps a Russian? Just kidding! But maybe not...)
    2. a loyal administration insider, trying to keep the media chasing their collective tails
    3. a complete idiot, not considering the consequences of taking this public.

    I refuse to believe that a journalist wrote this just to "resist," but perhaps I'm a fool for doing so.

  • Ron||

    more than likely another story planted by the clinton machine just like the Russian dossier story

  • croaker||

    I'd rather shove a wet noodle up a bobcat's ass in a telephone booth that listen to Zero.

  • Red Tony||

    Why, do you hate Billy Corgan's voice?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    No, he really likes bobcats.

  • Tony||

    I liked the part where he called Berniebros a bunch of entitled pussies who ruined the country with their self-absorption. In so many words.

  • Just Say'n||

    Except Berniebros wouldn't exist if it weren't for his adoption of far left policies in his re-election bid. Obama radicalized our politics, even if he doesn't want to accept that which is so obvious

  • Tony||

    Obama would be center to conservative in any other civilized country. Or in this country during the Reagan years.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Our ancestors left those "civilized" places for a reason.

  • Just Say'n||

    You mean all those "civilized countries" that arrest people for naughty words?

    "Or in this country during the Reagan years."

    Are you nuts? Bill Clinton was the Democratic response to the Reagan years (an attempt to become more centrist). Obama was a response to the Clinton centrism.

  • Tony||

    And I suppose Trump is a response to Obama's extreme liberal immigration policy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    and Socialism.

  • ||

    I suppose Trump is a response to Obama's extreme liberal immigration policy

    No, Trump is a response to Obama personifying the arrogant and dismissive condescension of America's "intellectual elite."

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    Ding ding!

  • Tony||

    People who read books you mean.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Obama would be center to conservative...

    By being someone who wanted to, as he put it, "fundamentally change America"?

    You're a fucking idiot.

  • Tony||

    Well now that he's finally endorsed single-payer healthcare... he's still centrist, since every civilized country already has that or something like it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Every Socialist country has single payer healthcare, so that makes them Lefty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    When your political platform is primarliy compsed of materialistic appeals, you don't really have voters that are more than self-absorbed.

  • Tony||

    As opposed to President Tax Cut? Is he better because he also appeals to racism and xenophobia?

  • grips||

    No, just like President Tax Cut.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That point sailed straight past your head.

  • ||

    Fun fact: Tony became a regular here when he found it was a cost-effective substitute for his broken hair drier.

  • Paulpemb||

    There's a pretty big difference between 'We're not going to take as much of the money you earn, so you're free to use it for whatever you want!' and 'We're going to give you stuff and make other people pay for it!'

  • Brian||

    It's surprising how materialistic socialists can be.

    You know: other than their obsession with exactly who gets to keep what, and who has to give what to who, and who doesn't have to give anything...

    other than that, they're beyond materialism.

  • ||

    This was one of the contradictions that really struck me in grad school - Marxism and socialism are fundamentally materialist philosophies. They posit the struggle over wealth and resources as the primary if not exclusive motivating factor behind all human behavior.

    Yet they will also decry materialism as a horrific sin and declare themselves to be free of it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Marxism and Socialism have always has been a means to seize power for an elite group.

  • Rockabilly||

    Did Bark Obama give Trump his secret kill list or does each El Presidente make up their own ?

  • majil||

    Chinese tires are junk and have no liability insurance to back them

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Remolded industrial waste

  • The gouch||


  • What's that smell?||

    Looks like the Clinton's strike again.

  • snowhawk||

    Wonder if Soetoro's contract with Soros is lifetime?

  • Libertymike||

    Wonder if he is going to criticize Serena Williams' belligerent and crass outburst the other day at Flushing Meadow?

  • DiegoF||

    Why would he do that? Who is asking for him to do such a thing?

    Serena deliberately committed "suicide by umpire," like she did against Clijsters. Now nobody is putting her match performance under the microscope; everyone is debating this issue. This time she's carefully stoked it with her bizarre allegations of sexism to be extra sure, since she knows well that now she can turn any criticism of her into an issue of race or sex with the raise of an eyebrow. And absolutely no one is covering the real story; they're falling for her manipulation. She is brilliant.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I've been around American politics since Eisenhower's last term, and I cannot recall a single ex-President going on the stump, or even giving interviews, assailing the new sitting President. Bush 43 very openly refused to say a word about Obama during his entire 8-year term, Clinton kept quiet about Bush 43. Hell, Carter even kept quiet about Reagan.

    But that's the problem with Obama: he can't keep quiet, he can't stay off the stage, he's incapable of simple honesty about his own policies. In this sense he is no better than Trump. Maybe the DNC promoted this, hoping that if we all start focusing on Obama's new round of lies, dissembling and obfuscation we'll ignore the new crop of liars and hustlers (Harris, Booker) they are promoting for President.

  • ||

    He's a narcissist.

    But he has his fan base. Barry even got an ethics award:

  • DiegoF||

    Being more narcissistic than Clinton is quite an accomplishment. Although in defense of the difference no President has ever been an object of worship like Obama has. In retrospect it's actually remarkable how reservedly distress and disillusionment of Democrats with the W Bush era translated into actual personal affection for the Clintons and their return. Only the fringiest of Democrats dare set themselves against Obama in any way, and personal adoration for him is universal and unalloyed. If there is any criticism of Obama it has consistently been that he has not been a more active and aggressive leader of The Resistance. It takes rather the form of an ancient people wailing impatiently at their god for his failure to deliver them from their misery.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    See a difference between these two?

    Yeah, me neither.

  • ||

    Between Obama and Serena it hasn't been a good week for blacks.

  • DiegoF||

    Obama is exactly as black as that chick who kicked Serena's ass.

  • Michael Cook||

    Don't forget Oomarosa I hate people with unspellable names Kaepernick, Papadopoulos, Strzok

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Something that's not getting as much attention as it should: Obama is so toxic now in swing districts and states that several democratic incumbents up for re-election have told him to stay away and they don't want him anywhere near them during their campaign.

  • Michael Cook||

    The best comment on a radio show I heard was from a caller who said Obama reminded him of his mother. Mom would try and try to twist the lid off a jar and only reluctantly would she hand it over to him to open it. When he did she would object:
    "I loosened it for you."

    "No, mom, you were turning it the wrong way."

  • Michael Cook||

    This comment is in reference to how Obama really fixed the economy and then passed it on for Trump' benefit, according to the Messiah himself.


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