Wednesday 26 April 2017

Obamamania comes to an end as reality sets in

America's political messiah has been brought down to earth by his terrible economic inheritance and voters' short memories, writes George Walden

US President Barack Obama walks out of a bookstore after shopping with his daughters in Vineyard Haven in Massachusetts yesterday
US President Barack Obama walks out of a bookstore after shopping with his daughters in Vineyard Haven in Massachusetts yesterday

THE first I knew of President Obama's decision to holiday on Martha's Vineyard for a third successive year was when the car rental folk told me that all they had for August were SUVs at $1,000 a week, his entourage having bagged the rest.

We've been coming here, off and on, since American friends introduced us to the island during a sabbatical year at next-door Harvard. I imagine that Obama comes, like Bill Clinton before him, because it seems secluded, unspoilt, and politically congenial: a kind of Democratic Chipping Norton, with lusty lobsters and miles of beaches.

Yet this year, if he chose to address a group of admirers, some sharp questioning would puncture the worshipful atmosphere. His fellow vacationers tend to be high-worth folk, and some might respectfully ask the president what the hell he's doing here, golfing and bathing, while the Dow sinks towards Davy Jones's Locker, and when he plans to descend from his plateau of cerebral aloofness, and get a grip.

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