Paul Hampton

One regret: Sun Herald columnist never threw rocks with Obama at White House

President Barack Obama takes one last look around the Oval Office of the White House on Friday.
President Barack Obama takes one last look around the Oval Office of the White House on Friday. AP

I read somewhere that presidents feel a profound sense of sorrow on the day they leave the White House for good.

I know I’d miss having a bowling alley at my house. If I’d ever had one. A bowling alley.

That has to be, I imagine, a singular experience, waking up in the middle of the night and sneaking downstairs to throw some rocks. Maybe try to bowl between my legs.

I’d want a Lebowski robe, and some of those gel shoes, and electrical tape for the security-camera lenses.

Rolling at 2 a.m. would have to beat staring up at the ceiling, wild ideas chasing one another like squirrels through my thoughts, as I wait for sleep or 5 a.m. or the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

I’d miss hanging around Vice President Joe Biden, too. But Biden has a personal bone to pick with cancer. President Barack Obama’s selection of Biden as vice president, to me, underscores how wise Obama is.

It’s OK to say that, right? Even the Mississippi Senate has admitted, in hindsight, that Obama had a pretty good run.

I’ve been writing about politics most of the second Obama term. And for most of that time, when something went wrong in Jackson, Obama, who’s often euphemistically referred to as Washington, was likely as not the fall guy.

Now, our Legislature will soldier on without him.

I doubt Obama will miss that constant carping that comes with the territory. Oh, he’s on vacation. Oh, he’s working.

And I bet his joints will celebrate the end of all that overreaching.

Poor Alex Jones, though. Next thing you know, he’ll be back in NYC screaming at the 9/11 Memorial through a bullhorn and blaming the local TV meteorologist when it rains on his picnic. Now there’s someone who’s going to miss Obama.

Republicans will, too, but they’ll never admit it. Rush Limbaugh, one of the least lucid among that faction, went so far as to say Obama destroyed the Democratic Party. I hadn’t noticed. But if the party is in as dire straits as its opponents would like you to believe, wouldn’t they want the credit?

I can hear it now. “Obama even failed at destroying his own party.”

And me? I won’t miss him at all.

Because he’s just leaving the White House, not the national stage.

He’s promised to work with former Attorney General Eric Holder to straighten out some of the GOP’s most egregious gerrymandering. I hope he succeeds. He wants to recruit young Democrats, build that bench the party has worn thin. Anything that would get more young folks involved in good governance would be welcome.

He’s also got a book to write, millions to rake in, skin to get under.

An Obama unfettered by the constraints of the presidency. I suspect that thought makes some queasy.

Why, someone ought to file a resolution to ... I just can’t. Those fish aren’t bothering anyone.

The Republicans, some of them, anyway, say Trump will quickly make America forget Obama.

He’ll scrub away the Obama legacy.

Replace his signature Obamacare with something even better.

Something better than Obamacare?

Fine with me.

But forget Obama?

That would be downright ungrateful.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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