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September 06, 2008

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Sue

Wow. Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann have been dropped as ANCHORS for the upcoming election. David Gregory gets the spot.

Elliott

He will make more and more mistakes..bigger and bigger mistakes.

I hope come November he doesn't turn out to be part of the whine and cheat crowd. Over the past few days he has shown his talent with respect to the first element.

And I guess he was wrong about not being bullied: Our bounce just beat up your bounce, Barack.

Porchlight

MSNBC drops Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews from anchor chair... David Gregory will anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night.... Developing...

Porchlight

Oops, sorry that was Drudge per Sue's pointer...

Jane

MSNBC drops Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews from anchor chair.

I consider that part of the Palin bounce. They are probably getting some guff from someone for trying to beat up a gir.... uh barracuda.

MayBee

That is good news about Gregory.
His show is the only non-ridiculous show on MSNBC evenings. He really does ask tough questions of everyone.

Once he dropped his Proxy business, he really picked up the mantle to try what Russert was trying.

Elliott

Can we buoy our spirits further? Si, se puede!

I have been perusing Frank Newport's discussion of Gallup's Labor Day polling and I should note, that by "Labor Day" he means Gallup's first post-Labor Day poll. Quoth Newport:

In other words, the candidate who is ahead on Labor Day usually wins the election, regardless of changes in the margin over the last two months of the campaign.

There have been three exceptions over the 18 presidential elections Gallup has polled.

JM Hanes

FooBar:

I'm surprised you're unaware that the public record of his work in the Illinois legislature, including official correspondence, is part of the paper that's gone missing. If you can specifically reference an individual document, you can submit a request to his campaign which will supposedly see if it can be located in some putative filing cabinet at a remote location -- as time allows. This does not comport with any known definition of cooperation that I'm aware of.

Of course, it took a national public outcry to get the UIC to re-release the CAC records which were suddenly locked up when the first reporter was en route to look at them. The campaign itself mustered up callers to flood the phonebanks -- and emailed them talking points like "liar" and "sleazy smear merchant" -- when the journalist looking over the records was interviewed on Chicago radio. They themselves declined an invitation to join the host on air for the entire program.

The media outcry over not having had the time to vet Palin in the press, and the immediate flood of reporters into Alaska stands in stark, ironic contrast to the almost total dearth of investigative interest in Obama's Chicago years, and the stonewalling that greets anyone bothers to try. Ryan Lizza did a profile in the New Yorker and was rewarded for his effort by being denied a seat on the Obama press plane to Europe. We already know almost more of substance about Palin, than we do about Obama from anyone other than Obama.

Obama refers to his record often enough, but apparently nobody's ever actually seen it. When did autobiographies start qualifying as credible credentials? Especially when Obama was actually lauded for his skillful flights of fancy in the literary world. In fact, we know almost nothing about Obama that's been corroborated by anything remotely resembling reliable sources or which can be independently confirmed by reporters. If his story seems familiar it's because he's told it so many times himself.

At the moment you're just putting the most positive spin on what little you actually know about his tenure at the Law Review, in response to others throwing it in the darkest light. Despite who might seem to be making the most plausible case, it's a question which cannot be resolved because nobody knows anything for sure. Obama could have made this argument a whole lot easier for you, and every other potential supporter trying to defend him from so called "attacks," but he hasn't, has he? I should think that would trouble you considerably more than inaccuracies in obscure blogs, but apparently it doesn't bother you any more than it bothers any other Obama supporters. I find both the lack of information and the lack of interest astonishing.

JM Hanes

Sue:

I would dearly love to go in boots! Alas, I'm past the age when you can successfully carry off just any old thing you feel like with your bathing suit. I wonder what kind of ear muffs Sarah Palin wears?

clarice

JMH How well you put it..

Ann

I am so disappointed I missed the fashion discussion. :)

Anyways, don't you guys think Andrea Mitchell should join Keith and Chrissy?

clarice

I meant the lack of a record and the lack of interest in that (not how you look in a bikini and boots).

Foo Bar

Clarice:

Do you acknowledge that, contrary to what you claimed, the 1990 NYT article about Obama's election as Harvard Law Review president does not say that it was the first year affirmative action was taken into account. In fact, the only affirmative action-related changes discussed in the article took place in the 1970s. Additionally, those changes relate to the selection of the editorial staff, not the election of the president.

Or do you have a link to a different NYT article for me which supports your claim? Let me help you out. Here is an oldest-first search for mentions of Obama in the NYT archives.

clarice

Well, Ann that's quite ironic actually. If you recall, Scooter reportedly called Russert to complain about Chrissy's coverage. And we all know Mitchell lied thru her teeth to cover for Russert.

sbw

I forget, can the President pardon you if you lose your job as MSNBC anchor?

JM Hanes

I think David Gregory will do just fine. He was one of the very few who actually got what John McCain was really doing in his convention speech. He can be a dweeb from time to time, but when he's doing interviews, he actually asks questions and waits for answers.

I date Chris Matthews' decline to the publication of "Now Let Me Tell You What I Really Think." Once he got started, he just never stopped. I'll tune in David Gregory just to help his numbers, even if he sucks at the job. I just hope Matthews and Olberman take Pat Buchannan with them on their way out the door. Their shout fest hurt my ears the other night, not just my brain.

clarice

I will concede that the article does not say the AA selection began with Obama, but neither does it say it began in 1970.
"That system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review. "


The article simply confirms that a non-merit system to aid AA applicants was instituted sometime after 1970 but no specific date is given.

Harvard, like a number of other top law schools, no longer ranks its law students for any purpose including a guide to recruiters. "

clarice

As I understand it, it is the editors who pick THE editor.

Ann

Foo Bar, Enough!!! We are talking about fashion and gossip now so go away.

I have wanted to see Andrea get some pay back ever since she reported everyone in Washington knew about Plame and then tried to cover with "I must of been drinking" blah blah.
She is a piece of work.

Jane

In fact, the only affirmative action-related changes discussed in the article took place in the 1970s.

AA was still going strong at Harvard when Obama was there. I suspect that is still the case.

My guess is if Obama ever got anything on merit, he would have that accomplishment in bumper sticker form.

Jane

Ann,

Her face is payback enough - well and those balloons.

JM Hanes

It took a long time for my daughter to understand that one of the best ways to trivialize a good argument and discourage future engagement is to prove others wrong and then relentlessly pursue them till they publicly acknowledge that you were right and they were wrong. Fortunately, she grew out of demanding that particular, self-aggrandizing satisfaction. It's a pity that so many others do not.

Ann

Clarice, JMH,,Jane:

I admire all of you for your quick, concise rebuttals. Amazing!

I always thought MSNBC really helped our side. If they start being professional about Sarah Palin.....well, nevermind, that won't happen. :)

JM Hanes

Save Andrea Mitchell! I'd like to enjoy watching her rather stunned discomfort as long as possible.

What I'm enjoying even more at the moment however, is imagining Obama returning to Congress as the junior Senator from Illinois.

And I denounce myself for thinking about it out loud.

JM Hanes

You have mad skilz yourself, Ann! You brighten every thread you join too.

Neo

This Congress has earned a reputation as one of the least productive in history. Throughout this year, Democratic leaders have ignored the public’s demand for relief from high energy prices. This is their final chance to take action before the November elections. If members of Congress do not support the American people at the gas pump, then they should not expect the American people to support them at the ballot box.”

Jane

JMH,

Imagine the smugness on November 8th. You, me, Caro, Fred, Steyn and 700 of our closest friends.

But not yet.....

Foo Bar

I'm surprised you're unaware that the public record of his work in the Illinois legislature, including official correspondence, is part of the paper that's gone missing

If I read this on its own, I get the impression that he was legally obligated to keep extensive records, which have now become very hard to access. If I do some research, though, I learn that "Obama has no legal obligation to archive his state papers". So it's hard to gauge whether there's much basis for suspicion here. It's intersesting to contrast this situation, for instance, with gross and inexcusable failure of the Bush White House to comply with the Presidential Records Act. I hope you'll forgive me if I find that situation a bit more suspicious.

Foo Bar

to prove others wrong and then relentlessly pursue them till they publicly acknowledge that you were right and they were wrong

We all have our pet peeves. Mine is when someone makes an incorrect claim in blog comments which she could have attempted to support with a link (and which she would have realized was wrong once she attempted to find the supporting link).

clarice

Yes, indeed, foo. I think that would be a great debate question..assume that the candidates themselves have to design and oversee the record keeping system and ask them to explain in detail how they'd do it.

I suppose the quicker witted ones would say the matter would be contracted out to the most qualified bidder and that the matter was beneath the president's pay grade.

hit and run

Jane:
He's editor of law review but never writes a word.

Foo Bar:
so his lack of publication record is unsurprising.

Jane:
Trust me - in the official world of law review, it is very very very surprising.

Now, I'm surprised Foo Bar hasn't corrected this. Obama had one unsigned law review note or whatever it is you law dweebs call it. That we know of!

NOTE: Rule 34b Section 6 Paragraph iix plainly states that it shall not be considered an instance of SSP if the link is in defense of Obama, however partial it may be. In fact, don't click it -- you can take my word for it -- and you probably already knew about it anyway.

kim

Wow, correcting blog comments. Why don't you just ban her, Foo Bar?
========================================

clarice

Foo, I remembered the article wrong to the extent that I believed it said this was the first time AA had been used in the selection process. You had the article and got it wrong when you claimed the AA process was in effect since the 1970's. And there we are,,an imperfect memory on one hand, and a wrong reading on the other. Concede or prepare to die. I've taken the pistola out of its case.

GMax

I gotta tell you guys that the Harvard coach was all about trying to get JMAX to come play there. He went on and on about how he could help her get in and really understand the process etc etc etc. He finally a little exasperated said, you do realize its a lot harder to get in here than it is to graduate from here right? I pressed him on the comment, and he explained that coaches needed players and if they did not field players then the school would be embarassed by a forfeit so there were shorter lines than others. I said what about the rest of the comment? It was basically, everyone here is thought to be smart so damn near everyone gets an A for every class. Grades are basically a joke at Harvard, if you go to class and do the reading you will pass everything everytime.

Just reporting what we were told by a Harvard employee.

Foo Bar

You had the article and got it wrong when you claimed the AA process was in effect since the 1970's

First of all, I didn't "have" the article lying around. I made the effort to find it and supply a link so that all interested parties could have a look.

I was not quite as rigorous as I could have been when I said it was replaced in the 1970s, but it's unlikely I was materially wrong. How likely is it that the piece would say

That system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition

... if the replacement happened much later? Not very. In any case, the implication of your point that Obama's rise to the law review presidency was a "right time, right place" kind of situation in which affirmative action had just been introduced that year and he happened to be the best minority candidate that particular first year. Now that we have the article, we can see that this is wrong.

JM Hanes

FooBar:

You must have been crazy for Gore's "no controlling legal authority!" I should think that Godwin's Law would have a Bush corallary by now, but never mind. I certainly never endorsed extended embargoing of presidential records, but if Bush is the standard you're proposing, I'd point out that he had verifiable accomplishments on his resume, as opposed to things like "community organizer" which Obama, himself, now tells us is emblematic of his good intentions, not successes. Sort of like briefly thinking of signing up for military service.

I'd suggest that if you're content to vote for a man with virtually no tangible accomplishments beyond being voted into successively higher office in non-competitive elections and virtually no available records for inspection, then you have set your bar so low that even Bush could step over it -- backwards, in heels. McCain, who is actually running against Obama in this election, of course, could probably do it blindfolded as well. I thank you for satisfying my curiosity though,

clarice

I think the article gives us no real idea when AA was first used to select the editor--only that grumblings about merit selection started in the 1970's and the AA program was in effect when Obama was selected.

And now I'm finished. My pistola will remain besides me, ready to do its job if you persist in this craziness.

Foo Bar

virtually no tangible accomplishments

Have you made a good-faith effort to review the legislation he's gotten passed?

Ann

JMH,

Actually, I feel like Kathie Lee Gifford most days. Alot of snark along with fashion and family talk. :)
But thanks, you are very nice.

I can't wait til you, Jane, and Caro go on the NRO ship with REAL celebrities. You have to give us daily updates with pictures. Where is Caro?

Rick Ballard

I believe his capstone legislative accomplishment to date was his work for Rezko in getting the appropriate boards restructureed in order that corruption might proceed more efficiently.

Was that what you had in mind?

Elliott

One thing that struck me in the CNN story on Obama was the claim that he sent his resume to many, many community activism groups and only got the one offer.

It's merely circumstantial evidence, but intriguing nonetheless.

Foo Bar

I think the article gives us no real idea when AA was first used

As it turns out, it was 1981. My sincerest apologies for saying it was in the 70s!

Ann

I should of read through before I posted that last comment.

But it all works, because I am trying to bore Foo so Clarice doesn't use her pistola!

I love the picture in my head of Clarice with her pistola. Foo I would be very scared if I were you.

clarice

Oh, Geez, Ann, those three will be INSUFFERABLE when they return from that cruise and you know it..Esp. Janr who'll be rubbing it in about all her chats with Steyn (just to make me really jealous).

Elliott

Have you made a good-faith effort to review the legislation he's gotten passed?

And how did Obama get so many bills passed in Illinois? Here's one explanation:

[Emil] Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

[snip]

I spoke to Jones earlier this week and he confirmed his conversation with Kelley, adding that he gave Obama the legislation because he believed in Obama's ability to negotiate with Democrats and Republicans on divisive issues.

So how has Obama repaid Jones?

Last June, to prove his commitment to government transparency, Obama released a comprehensive list of his earmark requests for fiscal year 2008. It comprised more than $300 million in pet projects for Illinois, including tens of millions for Jones's Senate district.

I would aver his tangible accomplishment in the legislature was winning Jones' patronage.

clarice

Read the article again Foo--It was 1982 that the AA plan was finally adopted.

clarice

I'm going to bed , Foo. I take you've reread the article you last posted and agree that you misread IT , too. AA began to be applied to the selection of the HLR editor in 1982.

Foo Bar

OK, fair enough. They didn't finalize the implementation until the next year, 1982. So the year Obama got elected, 1990, was the 9th year the system was in place, not the first year, as you claimed. My mistakes were not material, and in both cases I supplied a link so that others could see for themselves. Your mistake, i.e., your original assertion that it was the first year of AA, was material, and you did not supply a supporting link.

kim

Let us say it was the first year that Affirmative Action did two things, one, put a black at the head of the Law Review, and second, put an incompetent at the head of the Law Review. Now, that's material. Notice how carefully I distinguish between the two effects?
=========================================

Ann

Clarice,

You should be on that "History Making NRO Cruise". If we win and the first woman Vice President is elected we want your commentary.

I just received my hardcopy of NRO and they are still advertising, so there must be a cabin left for you. 1-800-707-1634

Come on ..you will kick yourself later if you don't go. Besides you can take pictures of the two women dressed in ruby red slippers, clear glasses and hoops. I imagine you are smart enough not to wear any of that. (Only kidding ladies..lol)


kim

Please, Foo Bar, don't talk about his legislative accomplishments. It is well known that there were lots of legislators very upset that the work they had done to prepare the bills for passage was instead given to Obama to finish. Someone sent him, you know.
=====================================

JM Hanes

FooBar:

Yes, in fact I have. My favorite is probably the ethics reform legislation he claims to have passed in Congress. That was John McCain's bi-partisan bill -- the one that Obama famously backed out of working on when the Dems told him they wanted to push their own bill. Obama only passed it in the sense that he actually voted for it along with everyone else in the Senate. My jaw still drops every time I hear him laying claim to it. Ethics reform in Illinois is what just made it possible for Emil ("Both Borrower & Lender Be") Jones, to transfer over $500,000 from his campaign treasure chest into his personal bank account before the new constraints kicked in. There was apparently a great rush of fundraising amongst his fellow pols, to fill up their coffers before the cut off date.

I'd have to go back to check on whether that was one of the bills whose sponsors were kicked to curb by Jones in order to put Obama's name on the legislation -- for the express purpose of resume padding before his run at the Senate. I don't think it was the one where he was listed as chief sponsor on the very day the bill came up for a vote (close call on, eh?), but it might have been.

I'll assume you're familiar with the so-called "infanticide" bill he voted down, and lied about. And the bill he claimed credit for in his Jordanian Presser, when he wasn't even on the committee which produced it. And the GLBT legislation in Illinois he claimed he was supporting, but wimped out and voted present instead. I'm surprised he hasn't made Sully's hit list yet. Sully probably just doesn't know about it either. Obama made a lot of claims in his NC advertising, none of which turned out to be remotely accurate when I checked them out. The list, and the pattern, goes on.

If you haven't read Ryan Lizza's New Yorker piece yourself, I'd recommend starting there. The rest will take some digging, which I also recommend. I quit even bothering to collect links, because it quickly became an exercise in confirming that there was, in fact, no there there.

kim

Excellent thought, JMH, about the analogue to Godwin's Law. I propose 'Hanes's Law' for the phenomenon.
=============================

kim

Evidently Foo Bar hasn't made a good faith effort to review Obama's legislative accomplishments. What about it, son?
=====================================

Cecil Turner

Your mistake, i.e., your original assertion that it was the first year of AA, was material, and you did not supply a supporting link.

First year, last year, who cares? The issue is whether it was AA in action, and that's the only thing that's material, AFAICT. Since you both agree it was . . .

BTW, the way Harvard explains its honors program is nice, but it doesn't explain claims like this one:

Two thirds of the graduates from Harvard Law School walk out with honors.
Which, if true, makes us plebians dubious about the percentage game. Especially since "the One" doesn't sound all that smart to me . . .

Elliott

Thanks to webarchive.org I have found Zogby's final "predictions" on the 2004 election, which were released after the morning exit polls had leaked and did not accord with his own polling. Behold, a">http://www.zogby.com/">a beclowning compleat.

GMax

Cecil that seems to dovetail nicely with what the Harvard Coach told JMAX that I posted above. I went away from the conversation thinking Harvard had become the Special Olympics, everyone is a winner there.

GMax

Elliott

I am pretty sure Zogby has a statement at the end of his most recent poll bragging about how well he did in 2004? It struck me as wrong but I did not go back and check. Heck its Zogby, I just dismiss everything he does. Did you see it too? Is that why you posted his predictions just above, as proof?

Elliott

I think I did see that, GMax. If you look at his actual polls instead of his predictions, you'll see that he wasn't too far off. But nice job standing behind his polling!

I had quoted from memory last night that he was saying Kerry would get more than 300 electoral votes on election night. So, I thought I should substantiate that.

JM Hanes

kim: My name in lights!

larwyn

JMH & SUE

Emailed shoe info to Sara as I tried to give you all the info on the shoes in comments, but typepad thinks I am spammer.

Foo Bar

First year, last year, who cares?

Clarice cared, which is why she mentioned it. The (false) implication was that Obama just happened to be the top minority student the year they introduced affirmative action changes, so the fame that resulted from being named first black HLS review president was mostly a matter of being lucky enough to be the best black the first year of the changes.

The issue is whether it was AA in action, and that's the only thing that's material, AFAICT. Since you both agree it was . . .

No, I do not agree that it was. I acknowledge that there was an affirmative action component present in the program that selects the editorial staff. First of all, that does not necessarily mean that Obama would not have gotten on staff without it. Clarice tries to bolster her claim that he wouldn't have gotten on staff without AA by pointing to his grades, although we know that he graduated magna, which now is awarded to the top 10 percent of the class and which the Weekly Standard (see below) tells me was only awarded to those near the top of the class even in Obama's day. Secondly, there was no formal affirmative action involved in the selection of THE editor, i.e., the president of the Harvard Law Review, since it was a vote of the editorial staff. I've already supplied a quote from a former Bush administration lawyer in which he says that Obama had the support of the conservative during the vote, which makes it difficult to attribute his election to affirmative action sentiments.

Which, if true, makes us plebians dubious about the percentage game. Especially since "the One" doesn't sound all that smart to me . . .

OK, here we have it from Dean Barnett writing in the right wing Weekly Standard:

The only reason I bring this barely relevant history up is to show what a stud of a law student Barack Obama was. He graduated Harvard magna cum laude. This was one honor you unquestionably had to earn. It's a very impressive feat. Back in Obama's days at Harvard, more than 50 percent of the class graduated cum laude, a fact that made graduating "with honors" a meaningless accomplishment. But graduating magna was a different kettle of fish. Barack Obama graduated right near the top of his law school class.

Cecil, that's reasonably consistent with your two-thirds cite, particularly given that your cite is talking about the current state of affairs at HLS as of 2001, as opposed to 1991, when Obama graduated. So graduating with any honors, i.e., cum laude, is no big deal. Graduating magna cum laude is a big deal.

kim

Oh, yeah? Let's see his transcripts.
=================

kim

Weren't you trying to tell us about his wonderful legislative accomplishments? How about correcting that comment, bub.
===================================

kim

Foo Bar, magna cum laude in an ordinary context and magna cum laude in a context where two thirds get cum laude are two entirely different concepts. Magna cum laude means something different at Harvard Law School than elsewhere. Harvard has done the cheapening. And that should be a big deal.
==============================

Foo Bar

-- the one that Obama famously backed out of working on when the Dems told him they wanted to push their own bill. Obama only passed it in the sense that he actually voted for it along with everyone else in the Senate

First of all, Obama defied Harry Reid and voted for Republican Jim DeMint's amendment that forced disclosure of far more earmarks than the previous version forced, an amendment which ultimately passed. Secondly, here's a fact check website which, even in the course of criticizing some of the Obama campaign's language on the topic, says:

1)"it’s true that Obama played an important role in the debate"

2)Obama did join with Republicans who wanted stronger rules for disclosing earmarks in spending bills. He tried to set an example for his colleagues by releasing a lengthy list of funding requests he asked to be included in annual appropriations bills. In fact, Obama’s advocacy is believed to have emboldened some other Democrats to vote for the Republican provision that was approved.

3)Obama also successfully collaborated with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., on a provision that required senators to make full reimbursement for the market rate of corporate jet flights.

So your claim that Obama was no more responsible for it than any other Senator who voted for it is wrong, as is your suggestion that he was unwilling to buck the Democratic leadership on the subject. And yes, you can point to criticism on the fact check website of the campaign's claims. Believe me, you don't want to go there, given the plethora of criticisms of McCain from such websites.

Foo Bar

Magna cum laude means something different at Harvard Law School than elsewhere.

Well, I guess you don't trust the word of Dean Barnett, a "well-known Republican partisan" writing in the Weekly Standard, on this topic.

Jane

Esp. Janr who'll be rubbing it in about all her chats with Steyn (just to make me really jealous).

Ya got that right!

Foo,

It was a popularity contest, and if we know anything, we know that the Messiah knows how to get people to like him.

Big whoop!

kim

Two thirds getting cum laude? Don't make me laugh. And how about showing us the transcripts? Trust Dean Barnett, but verify.
====================================

kim

Supposedly Obama's application was sent to Harvard with supporting letters letting them know that a 'genius was available'.

Obama was 'sent'. By whom we'd like to know.
===============================

clarice

What's such a big deal about linking cites, Foo? You did that twice and then mischaracterized what your cited material said.

Foo Bar

You did that twice and then mischaracterized what your cited material said.

Please. The point was that the AA aspect of the process was already in place a long time by the time Obama got there, contrary to what you claimed. The NYT article said that outcry started in the 1970s and then the system was replaced. As I said before I found the Crimson article, the language in the NYT article made it seem very likely that the AA program had already been in place a long time before Obama, and this turned out to be true.

clarice

The program had been in place for 8 0r is it 9 years and no Black had yet been selected. Were you under the impression that the AA scheme had been designed to help guys like the previous editor Yu? Remember Harvard was proudly announcing this class had more blacks enrolled than any other.

Foo Bar

Clarice,

Did you see this Weekly Standard piece I linked a few comments upthread which talks about "what a stud of a law student Barack Obama was"? Are you worried about quality control at the Weekly Standard now? Why would they hire such a "sap" who could get so easily "fooled" into thinking Obama was a top-notch student?

clarice

I did see it and it doesn't change my view. I have not heard him make a single comment on the law that wasn't wrong if not idiotically wrong.

GMax

What difference does any of this make. This turd is circling the bowl on his way out of the flush. Voters in the US dont elect far left liberals to national office.

He can claim to be the smartest liberal in the Senate without complaint from me.

But I do have to say, that if running his campaign off the road and into a tree is executive experience, we dont need a car wreck we did that once with Jimminy Carter.

DebinNC

Maybe it's unthread and I missed it, but this NYT piece imo answers the question of why Obama was chosen to head the Law Review - just as now, he was a deliberately inoffensive people pleaser careful not to commit himself to specific positions so that all who heard him thought he understood/sympathized with them.

"Newspapers and magazines swarmed around the first black student to win the most coveted spot at the most vaunted club at one of America’s most prestigious institutions. In interviews, Mr. Obama was modest and careful. (In a rare slip, he told The Associated Press: “I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me.”) He signed a contract to write a memoir."

boris

stud of a law student

Those of us who didn't get to hang out with the stud find documented evidence of studitude to be rather thin. Suggests other factors besides merit may have been involved.

gus

Hey, she is a pitbull with lipstick after all. But not such a pitbull that she isn't terrified of the big bad media.

gus

Yeah, everyone who goes to Harvard graduates magna cum laude. Honestly, keep trying.

DebinNC

More from NYT or Google : In Law School, Obama Found His Political Voice

"Just as he does now that he is a senator, Mr. Obama spoke then about his own biography — initially, Mr. Ogletree said, to correct anyone who assumed he had acquired his position with ease. His message, Mr. Ogletree said, was, “Don’t look at my success and assume that I have had a silver spoon in my mouth and gold coins in my hand.”

During the constant arguments about race and merit, everyone could point to Mr. Obama and find justification for their views. He had acknowledged benefiting from affirmative action in the past, so those who supported it saw him as the happy product of their beliefs.

But those who opposed it saw his presidency as the triumph of meritocracy. He was a black man who had helped one of Harvard’s most celebrated professors, Laurence H. Tribe, with an article on law and physics, and would graduate magna cum laude."

Sue

The NYT article said that outcry started in the 1970s and then the system was replaced.

Uh, maybe I misread it, but didn't it say that what it was replaced with wasn't considered any better? And the prior prez of the HLR said people would still be able to say there were "other" reasons he was chosen?

JM Hanes

FooBar:

Oh please! You provide a link that says Obama exaggerated his role in ethics reform, and two pieces which don't even mention him, even though, as you might put it, they're from a left wing site? Since this thread has dropped off the radar, I'll just quote McCain in full:

February 6, 2006

The Honorable Barack Obama
United States Senate
SH-713
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Obama:

I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.

As you know, the Majority Leader has asked Chairman Collins to hold hearings and mark up a bill for floor consideration in early March. I fully support such timely action and I am confident that, together with Senator Lieberman, the Committee on Governmental Affairs will report out a meaningful, bipartisan bill.

You commented in your letter about my “interest in creating a task force to further study” this issue, as if to suggest I support delaying the consideration of much-needed reforms rather than allowing the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings on the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The timely findings of a bipartisan working group could be very helpful to the committee in formulating legislation that will be reported to the full Senate. Since you are new to the Senate, you may not be aware of the fact that I have always supported fully the regular committee and legislative process in the Senate, and routinely urge Committee Chairmen to hold hearings on important issues. In fact, I urged Senator Collins to schedule a hearing upon the Senate’s return in January.

Furthermore, I have consistently maintained that any lobbying reform proposal be bipartisan. The bill Senators Joe Lieberman and Bill Nelson and I have introduced is evidence of that commitment as is my insistence that members of both parties be included in meetings to develop the legislation that will ultimately be considered on the Senate floor. As I explained in a recent letter to Senator Reid, and have publicly said many times, the American people do not see this as just a Republican problem or just a Democratic problem. They see it as yet another run-of-the-mill Washington scandal, and they expect it will generate just another round of partisan gamesmanship and posturing. Senator Lieberman and I, and many other members of this body, hope to exceed the public’s low expectations. We view this as an opportunity to bring transparency and accountability to the Congress, and, most importantly, to show the public that both parties will work together to address our failings.

As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.

I'm glad to see you making a good faith effort to examine this claim, though, and hope you'll continue to work your way down the list. The idea that "Obama’s advocacy is believed to have emboldened some other Democrats to vote for the Republican provision that was approved," (emphasis mine) is weak tea. So is a belief in transparency on pork, as opposed to actual restraint. When questioned about his $1 million dollar earmark for the folks who doubled his wife's salary, he responded that he realized it looked bad, and if he had to do it over, he'd have gotten a different Senator to propose it. I stand by my characterization of his minor role in the reform he claims as his signature accomplishment.

Foo Bar

two pieces which don't even mention him

False. Read my "defied" link again:

But Democrats sought to block DeMint's amendment, with an effort led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). They failed, due mostly to nine Democrats, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and freshmen Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jim Webb (D-VA), who crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
Cecil Turner

. . . so the fame that resulted from being named first black HLS review president was mostly . . .

Unlike you, I am not fascinated with the "first black . . ." milestone. I suspect most folks trying to evaluate BHO's qualifications for president aren't. The question is what HLS review president means as a qualification. And the AA component tends to make it less meaningful as personal achievement.

No, I do not agree that it was. I acknowledge that there was an affirmative action component present in the program that selects the editorial staff.

If there's an AA component present, and Obama fits the favored class, then his selection proves what? (Hint: it isn't that he might have been selected without it.)

I've already supplied a quote from a former Bush administration lawyer . . .

I also fail to see the fascination with citing various righty sources (or presumed righties, though a lawyer in the administration is hardly proof of that) and assuming it must be a completely telling point or that they'd never have admitted it. The same applies to Barnett. It's an opinion, possibly informed. I'd prefer that of someone who actually was at HLS.

So graduating with any honors, i.e., cum laude, is no big deal. Graduating magna cum laude is a big deal.

Right. I'd be interested to know how many of BHO's graduating class was in the magna group. And how subjective the grading criteria was . . . but only a little. Because regardless, it's really an indicator of potential, not a lifetime achievement. What he did with that potential is a lot more important, and it's there that BHO's resume is rather thin.

Barney Frank

Oh please! You provide a link that says Obama exaggerated his role in ethics reform, and two pieces which don't even mention him

--False. Read my "defied" link again:--

Just like a Dem; one out of three is close enough.
One out of three is looking more and more like it may be pretty close to Barry's share of the electorate come Nov.

Sue

We still don't know if the person or persons in contention with Obama for president of the law review had better grades than him.

Still doesn't matter. Obama has nothing on his resume that makes him prepared to be president of the US on day one.

Pagar

"Since this thread has dropped off the radar"

No, we're looking at it JMH, you and the others are just doing such a good job, it doesn't look like you need any help. I'll just throw this from Sweetness & Light in:

"Similarly, his admission to Harvard Law school is highly questionable. Where are his LSAT scores? And how does one graduate from Columbia without honors and yet get accepted at Harvard Law?

Lastly, his ascendency to the Presidency of the Harvard Law school would appear to have also been a case of blatant affirmative action, since the student Obama had only written one legal paper — and that was quite short and remarkably undistinguished.

So where are his grade transcripts? So where is the honest and open leadership that Mr. Obama has promised us?"

LUN

Foo Bar

(or presumed righties, though a lawyer in the administration is hardly proof of that)

Brad Berenson was the Bush administration lawyer I cited. Here is his profile. "Party affiliation: Republican".

It's an opinion, possibly informed. I'd prefer that of someone who actually was at HLS.

Berenson was at HLS at the time. Barnett, at the start of his piece, says he knew dozens of Obama's classmates at HLS and started making calls to them.

then his selection proves what?

It certainly doesn't prove that he would not have been selected without the AA component, particularly given the fact that he graduated magna.

Foo Bar

And how subjective the grading criteria was . . . but only a little

Harvard Law School exams are graded blind.

GMax

Berenson was clerk to Justice Kennedy. The swing vote on the US Supreme Court.

clarice

We'll never see it but I bet he had lots of grades from Tribe for "special work" with him that was not regular classwork g graded on the basis of exams graded blind.

Foo Bar

Clarice:

How do you account for Michael McConnell, a conservative federal appeals judge appointed by Bush, being so impressed with Obama?

Federal Judge Michael W. McConnell, who was nominated by President Bush and has frequently been mentioned as one of Bush’s potential Supreme Court nominees, recalls receiving one such letter and call in early 1990 for his article “The Origins and Historical Understanding of Free Exercise of Religion.”

McConnell told Politico, “A frequent problem with student editors is that they try to turn an article into something they want it to be. It was striking that Obama didn’t do that. He tried to make it better from my point of view.” McConnell was impressed enough to urge the University of Chicago Law School to seek Obama out as an academic prospect.

I know, I know- this just means that Obama is a kiss-ass. It can't possibly mean that he has ability. Oy. You can maintain a belief in the face of any data if you're sufficiently motivated...

sbw

Obama may be a person of ability, however, if he is, why doesn't he use it?

That which he proposes is not specific, and his generalities head in a direction that poisons the economic engine that, over the last 300 years, has generated all the wealth for our society, making even the poorest of the American society the envy of countless others around the world.

He proposes to use the heaviest of hands, as if he believes he knows enough to manage the market.

It is a position that is so unbelievable that it leads one to the only other conclusion -- that Obama and the rest of the Democrats want the power that would come if they insert themselves between you and the country's wealth.

Jane

Harvard Law School exams are graded blind.

Yeah, everyone gets an "A".

Foo Bar, just list all of Obama's accomplishments and we can decide for ourselves if he is up to the job he is seeking.

Even if Obama was the best law review editor since the history of earth began, noone would confuse that position with something that makes you a good president.

So tells us what he has accomplished.

Cecil Turner

It certainly doesn't prove that he would not have been selected without the AA component . . .

Man, I hope this isn't the way you approach life decisions. If you're holding up his Law Review selection as a qualification, it proves exactly that he was good enough (along with whatever the AA component was) to qualify for the minimum standard for the position. And it's obviously somewhat subjective, though I wouldn't claim to have a clue how much.

Harvard Law School exams are graded blind.

Which doesn't answer the question, any more than the supposed standards for honors explains how 76% of graduates receive them.

How do you account for Michael McConnell, a conservative federal appeals judge appointed by Bush, being so impressed with Obama?

Oh, please. Another opinion. Great. Does that mean that everyone who isn't impressed must be racist? Or what?

boris

From libertarians to neo-cons paleo-cons social-cons and maverick-cons there is plenty of diversity of opinion on the right. In addition coming in contact with a smooth charmer on a personal level is likely to generate a better impresssion. Those of us who must rely on less subjective criteria are simply pointing out how unimpressive those are with respect to Beau Bama.

sbw

... and Palineo-cons, too.

Foo Bar

Does that mean that everyone who isn't impressed must be racist?

No, and nothing that I've written contains any such suggestion.

This discussion is not interesting to me anymore. Believe what you want to believe, folks.

Cheers.

Cecil Turner

Hey, whaddya know. HLS provides an honors list online, and the numbers are at least internally consistent (for today's standards, i.e., magna cum laude types number 1/3 of the cum laude types). Doesn't speak to the previous looser standards, or even prove they adhere to the current one, but at least it strongly suggests they are, and suggests a somewhat fair system. (Which is not necessarily what I'd assume.)

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