[Ed. – Apparently they don’t have enough to do over at NY Mag.]
Obama’s legacy is one of means, not ends. He has laid the groundwork for a political order less answerable to voters. His delay of the Obamacare employer mandate by fiat, his provision of working papers to immigrants by executive order — these are not applications of old tricks but dangerous constitutional innovations. After last fall’s electoral rout, the president claimed to have “heard” (presumably to speak on behalf of) the two-thirds of people who didn’t vote. And he has forged a partnership with the country’s rich — not the high-earning professionals calumniated in populist oratory (including his own) but the really existing Silicon Valley and Wall Street plutocracy.
For a generation, there has been too much private wealth in politics; Obama’s innovation has been to bring private wealth into government. He has (with others’ help, certainly) begun to emancipate the presidency from Congress’s control of the budget. In 2013, JPMorgan Chase, Obama’s most important early contributor, paid the Justice Department about $20 billion in fines (involving no high-level prosecutions), all of it redeployable by the administration. Federal stimulus funds incentivized states to approve Bill Gates’s Common Core curriculum. Michael Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative, a private endeavor, has been adopted with modifications by the White House.
Under the nation’s first black president, race relations regressed.