Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered
into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy
non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and
in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present"); and finally an unaccomplished single term
in United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions. He left no academic legacy
in academia, authored no signature legislation as legislator.
And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing
preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's
colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on
Earth was such a man elected president?
Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal:
To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of
America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr.
Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American
injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass.
Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass -- held to a lower standard -- because
of the color of his skin. Podhoretz continues:
And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also articulate
and elegant and (as he himself had said) "non-threatening," all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the
first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?
Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon
-- affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all
affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals,
feel good about themselves.
minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools
for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which
follow. Liberals don't care if these minority students fail; liberals aren't around to witness the emotional
devastation and deflated self esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding
someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin -- that's affirmative action in a nutshell, and
if that isn't racism, then nothing is. And that is what America did to Obama.
True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements,
but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades
at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was
good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told
he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. What could this breed if not the sort
of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks?
In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about
Obama's oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people -- conservatives included -- ought now
to be deeply embarrassed. The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that's when he has
his teleprompter in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all. Not one original
idea has ever issued from his mouth -- it's all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for
And what about
his character? Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it;
it was bad luck; I inherited this mess. It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness,
so comfortable with his own incompetence. But really, what were we to expect? The man has never been
responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?
In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament
nor the intellect to handle his job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current
erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.
But hey, at least we got to feel good about ourselves for
a little while. And really, isn't that all that matters these days?
Author's Note. A lot of readers have written in asking me how I came
to the conclusion that Obama was an unremarkable student and that he benefited from affirmative action.
As reported by The New York Sun: "A spokesman for the university, Brian Connolly, confirmed that
Mr. Obama spent two years at Columbia College and graduated in 1983 with a major in political science. He did not receive
honors..." In spite of not receiving honors as an undergrad, Obama was nevertheless admitted to Harvard Law.
2) Obama himself has written he was a poor student as a young
man. As the Baltimore Sun reported, in:
"'Obama's book 'Dreams from My Father,'....the president recalled
a time in his life...when he started to drift away from the path of success. 'I had learned not to care,' Obama
wrote. '... Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.' But his mother confronted
him about his behavior. 'Don't you think you're being a little casual about your future?" she asked
him, according to the book. '... One of your friends was just arrested for drug possession. Your grades are slipping.
You haven't even started on your college applications.'"
3) Most damning to me is the president's
unwillingness to make his transcripts public. If Obama had really been a stellar student with impeccable grades
as an undergrad, is there any doubt they would have been made public by now and trumpeted on the front
page of the New York Times as proof of his brilliance? To me it all adds up to affirmative action.