Is there any more damning legacy for your ideas than having to come back and repeat them over and over?by Julia Blunck / March 15, 2018 / Leave a comment
This is an age of reboots, remakes and sequels—to the point that even saying this sentence is practically a remake of other statements of our current crisis of creativity. It should come as no surprise that this trend has finally reached politics, that place where fresh ideas supposedly matter a lot more than everything else.
Together again for one last more mission, former politicians rise from retirement to solve what they see as a world gone askew, begging them for intervention. This is exemplified by Tony Blair and John Major’s recent interventions on Brexit, but as the swirling rumours about Obama involved in a possible Netflix series show, it is not contained to Britain; the idea of leaving the spotlight has become less appealing across the world.
The problem with sequels, of course, is that a lot of the time nobody really wants them. Beyond a few who might see in these actions the glimmer of nostalgia politics—a return to a simpler and admittedly less fragmented times—there is something unhealthy about seeing old faces back. Politicians are defined by their legacies; they should not get to have post-scripts.
It’s easy to criticize yesterday’s men for being so; it’s harder to explain why they shouldn’t interfere.
There is no rule defining what a world leader can or cannot do after they leave power. The line is remarkably muddled. Bill Clinton became something of an international entrepreneur with the Clinton Foundation, a fact that would later haunt Hillary Clinton when she tried her own chances at the presidency. George W. Bush famously took up painting. Across the Atlantic, Gordon Brown does a mix of charity and emergency speeches; David Cameron bought a shed, but is occasionally rolled out to reassure us that the sky isn’t falling.
Partially, this is a consequence of a trend of having fairly young politicians in power during the 1990s and 2000s. Twenty-one years after Blair defeated Major, both men are still healthy enough to participate in the grueling process of public life.
It’s understandable that in times of great change people with the right connections might feel compelled to put their oar in and help steer the course.
In the case of Obama, specifically,…