Vox on his post-presidency plans:
Critics to his left and right say this theory is riddled with contradictions. They note that it has left Obama largely silent as Trump hacks away at his signature achievements, while simultaneously working behind the scenes to thwart a branch of activists in his own party.
What may be even more perplexing, critics say, is that Obama is still chasing the mirage of a nonpartisan solution to America's political crisis, after eight years of failing to find it in the White House.
The bolded passage in the first paragraph refers to his strong-arming for Perez against Ellison as the DNC head.
On at least one political front, Obama has stayed deeply engaged: He worked the phones to help tip the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) had sewn up the endorsements of dozens of state Democratic Party chairs in his campaign against Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Ellison had won most of the congressional endorsements, including those of the party's senior leadership. He had the strong support of Bernie Sanders and his progressive fans.
Obama helped Perez overcome all that...
Observers have been mystified by the Obama White House's decision to spark a Democratic Party civil war over the DNC chair race so soon after its clobbering in November...
Obama aides say the intervention was related to the former president's reluctance to openly criticize Trump. By helping ensure a close ally like Perez is running the DNC, they said, Obama felt like he was liberating himself from having to personally respond to Trump over the next several years.
Obama, in other words, was trying to extricate himself from the partisan fray -- but by taking action in the DNC race that risked antagonizing his own party's base.
It's not clear it worked.
"Going out of his way to find a challenger to Keith Ellison, who was the consensus candidate and a hero of the progressive grassroots, was selfish and counterproductive," says Adam Green, co-founder of the left-wing organization the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.