In a Saturday op-ed for Breitbart, author James P. Pinkerton spotlighted Barack Obama’s presidential career and likened him to a “Machiavellian fox.” Conversely, he said that the presidency of Donald Trump has shown him to be a “lion.”
The columnist pointed in particular to Obama’s new memoir, A Promised Land, a bestselling book that touts itself as a personal account of the president who “inspired” America to believe in the power of democracy. The political analyst challenged this notion and posed the question of how the former president challenged high-end financialism and income inequality.
“This is a particularly pertinent question because much of Obama’s presidency was defined by his relationship with Wall Street, including the bailouts, the cost of which a 2010 estimate put at $14.4 trillion.”
Pinkerton highlighted that Obama presided over the funneling of trillions of dollars to the figures who created the 2007/2008 financial crisis while leaving working people to suffer. Notably, Obama has frequently faced criticism for his Wall Street bailout and its effects on middle-class Americans. Jacobin noted that his presidency allegedly created a significant decline in African American wealth that only returned to its 2007 level by 2016.
In the book, Obama defended his decision to pass on prosecuting those behind the crisis by arguing that the American and international financial systems were too convoluted to separate good business from bad. This decision — among others — is what Pinkerton claims makes Obama a fox by the standards of the Italian political philosopher Machiavelli, who defined the creature in Book XVIII of The Prince.
“The lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves.”
Although Machiavelli suggested that these two types of metaphorical creatures — each a different kind of person — work best when collaborating with each other, Pinkerton noted that the philosopher argued that each is vulnerable alone. While the fox lacks courage and strength, the lion is bereft of the wisdom need to to avoid traps.
“Obama is fox-like. That is, he saw the dangers, and so he slinked away from them,” the columnist argued.
Trump, he claimed, is a “lion” that has “made change” in the White House but also “fallen into traps.”
Trump and Obama have traded barbs on many occasions over the years, and each faces criticism for their unique style of leadership. Notably, conservative author Max Boot argued that Trump is the worst president in United States history. Elsewhere, journalist Glenn Greenwald claimed that Obama is responsible for more moral evil than Trump.