Why continue to write about President Obama?

The purpose of my letter is not to defend the Obama presidency. He disappointed me in some ways, but I never doubted his decency or his competence. Defaming his character now serves no honorable purpose that I can see, and that is exactly what I believe Jerry Hopkins’ Aug. 6 column, Leaders, Kings and Presidents, does.

I offer the following supposition solely as a thought exercise.

Suppose I state that Dr. Hopkins is an anarchist. I point out that he has written that he refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives and elected representative of her district in California.

If Dr. Hopkins doesn’t recognize the duly chosen leader of the House, he must oppose the body itself. Take away the House of Representatives and government as we know it ceases to function. Ergo, he wants to destroy the government.

Of course the conclusion is absurd. It requires a giant leap in logic to go from the proof to the conclusion, and it’s patently unfair of me to ignore a body of work in order to zero in on a cherry-picked statement.

Dr. Hopkins goes cherry-picking in order to prove the “madness” of President Obama. Yet, even if each action or statement he attributes to Obama were truly representative of his entire presidency, Dr. Hopkins falls far short in proving his thesis.

Madness, as normally applied, is not a matter of simple irrationality. It implies severe mental illness.

No matter how distasteful Dr. Hopkins finds some of Obama’s actions as president, they do not comport with a reasonable layman’s understanding of mental illness. (If, instead, he is making a clinical diagnosis, I admit I’m not qualified to judge in those terms, and I don’t believe Dr. Hopkins is, either.)

Why continue to write about President Obama at all? Obama has been out of office for nearly four years and he will not be on November’s ballot. Is Dr. Hopkins trying to make the point that a Biden presidency will be Obama redux, without actually saying so?

Biden has an extensive public record of his own. That and what he says today are all we can fairly judge him by. Just because Mike Pence has been a loyal vice president to President Trump does not mean I can safely assume that a future President Pence would pursue the same policies and priorities.

Let the 2020 candidates run on their own records and statements.

—Linda Harber