Editor’s note: M.D. Harmon filed this column earlier this week for publication Friday. A longtime columnist and former Maine Sunday Telegram and Press Herald editor, Harmon died late Wednesday.

President Obama’s last few days in office (writing those words is one of life’s simple joys) illustrate the lyrics of the old country song: “How can we miss you if you won’t go away?”

Oh, he’ll depart the Oval Office soon, but because Hillary Clinton’s defeat meant his policies will get no “third term,” he has become like a spiteful ex-spouse smashing as much furniture as he can before the door slams and the lock clicks behind him.

Fortunately, most of what he’s done “with a pen and a phone” can (and likely will) be overturned.

But his failure to block a critical U.N. resolution this week boosted the Palestinian goal of making Israel an international pariah, and President-elect Donald Trump may find that harder to undo.

Still, while supporting the U.N.’s genuine relief efforts, Trump could ask if it wants to lose the 22 percent of its general funding America provides. He could even suggest it find a more suitable home, perhaps in Kazakhstan or Yemen.


This betrayal ought to show Jewish Democrats how little Obama values their support. Secretary of State John Kerry nailed that down hard when he said Wednesday that Israel “can be Jewish or it can be democratic, but it can’t be both.” (A Jewish state has to be dictatorial? Who knew?)

Many Democrats blasted the resolution, including Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Vermont’s Richard Blumenthal, Virginia’s Mark Warner and Delaware’s Chris Coons.

They had joined Trump’s earlier call to veto the measure, which he had said would put “Israel in a very poor negotiating position” and be “extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

Schumer, who is Jewish and is the incoming Senate minority leader, said the “U.N. has been a fervently anti-Israel body since the days of ‘Zionism is racism,’ and, unfortunately, that fervor has never diminished.”

And Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a liberal who supported Obama’s domestic agenda, said after the vote that history will see Obama “as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever.”

“He called me into the Oval Office before the inauguration – he said he wanted my support, and he told me he would always have Israel’s back,” Dershowitz said. “I didn’t realize what he meant: That he would have Israel’s back so he could stab them in the back.”


As a result, “This will make peace much more difficult to achieve because the Palestinians will now say, ‘We can get a state through the U.N.’ ” (and ignore Israeli concerns).

That’s bad enough, you’d think. But even worse for Democrats, Obama has rented a mansion and is not leaving Washington, as his predecessors uniformly did.

While that will give him a platform to stick it to the newly arrived Trump administration, he will probably do Democrats even worse damage.

While Obama’s personal popularity remains above 50 percent, Trump’s election is what’s offering “hope and change” these days.

As Rasmussen reported this week, “Sixty-one percent (of respondents) believe American society is fair and decent, the highest level of confidence in 3½ years. Americans also are more optimistic about the future than they have been in over four years.”

And a new Associated Press poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe things will be better for them in the coming year – up 12 percentage points in the last year, with Republicans “especially likely” to feel such optimism, the poll said.


Meanwhile, Obama’s standing doesn’t mean much for Democrats in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

It’s true that Trump and his party could mess up royally, leading Democratic prospects to improve.

But it’s also true that Democrats have a greatly depleted political bench. The party has lost more than 1,000 state-level officeholders over the past eight years (Obama has left it “looking like an Ikea bookshelf hit by a semi,” one comic noted), and it is from the ranks of state officeholders that future national leaders commonly arise.

Further, when a real choice exists, Democrats seem to prize gerontology and defeat over youth and success.

First, House Democrats rejected a young and vigorous candidate to re-elect the most notable failure of the ancien regime, 76-year-old Nancy Pelosi, as speaker.

Then look at who’s being mentioned for president in four years: Vice President Joe Biden, who will be 78 in 2020. Sens. Bernie Sanders (he’ll be 79) and Elizabeth Warren (she’ll be 71) are right behind him.

And with Obama refusing to withdraw from the national stage, he will soak up tons of still-adoring media attention that otherwise would go to viable candidates for office.

He’ll be like that other country song, which when you play it backward says your dog comes back, your pickup truck gets fixed and your spouse returns home – only this time, never leaves.

Editor’s Note: Comments have been removed from this story because of personal attacks.

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