THE SAME WAY HE CAME IN: Obama is going out in a blaze of self-interest.
Creating national monuments in Utah and Nevada, banning offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and the Northeast, deleting the database of Muslim men at the Department of Homeland Security: All of these things will earn him toasts at all the right parties.
Despite a remarkable lack of evidence that the Russians “hacked” the election (as opposed to their more obvious complicity in the WikiLeaks shenanigans), the conviction that Hillary Clinton lost because of Putin’s skulduggery is rapidly gelling into liberal conventional wisdom. These sanctions give Obama yet another useful talking point in retirement.
They’re also having the desired effect on the Trump team, which for obvious reasons hates any suggestion that The Donald’s election was less than legitimate.
But will they actually “box in” a President Trump? It seems unlikely.
Obama plans to stick around in Washington past his sell-by date and has said he’ll break precedent by speaking out (lecturing? hectoring?) on policy issues after he’s left office.
In other words, he’s the gift that keeps on giving — to the GOP.