August 17, 2010

"Critics say Obama's message becoming 'incoherent.'"

Yes, of course. It was built into Obama's style of communication that it would become incoherent when it moved from campaign oratory — which he seemed so good at — to the real work of governing — which requires you to make specific decisions about the details. At a high plane of principle and abstraction, there is a beautiful harmony. For example, most Americans believe in freedom of religion and reject discriminating against a particular religion. That's not what the dispute over the mosque near Ground Zero is about. Yet Obama thought he could participate in the dispute by doing nothing more than celebrating those principles.

What happened was, most people thought he was taking a position on the wisdom of building the mosque. That is, they didn't see that he was remaining aloof on the high plane of abstraction, beckoning them to join him up there and bask once again in the beautiful harmony that radiated from his glorious presidential campaign. But they'd moved on to trying to solve particular problems, and — like a law student handing in a D exam — Obama hadn't done the hard work of applying the doctrine to the fact pattern.

Obama's response, when he saw that people had misunderstood what he'd said, was to chide them for misreading. He didn't take advantage of the opportunity to do a rewrite and apply the uncontroversial principles to the controversial real-world problem. He stood firm on his lofty pillar of abstraction.
"The danger here is an incoherent presidency," said David Morey, vice chairman of the Core Strategy Group, who provided communications advice to Obama's 2008 campaign. "Simpler is better, and rising above these issues and leading by controlling the dialogue is what the presidency is all about. So I think that's the job they have to do more effectively as they have in the past [in the campaign]."
No! Simpler is only better if people accept the invitation to ascend to that high plane of abstraction where no particular decisions are made. Even if they do, it's only a temporary harmony, because when a particular decision needs to be made, disagreement will reemerge. That's what Morey is perceiving as "incoherence." To say, Obama should use abstraction to achieve coherence is to say Obama should hide our disagreements by avoiding the hard work of governing.
"There is no question they are having messaging problems at the White House," Morey said. "They've lost control of the dialogue, and they've gotten pulled down by the extremes on the left and right. They've just not had a coherent set of themes."
But Obama should descend on his own from that level of abstraction — that "coherent set of themes." If he doesn't do it himself, he will be "pulled down" by whoever fills the gap and takes specific positions about the details he likes to rise above.
"Communicating as a law professor does not work as president. It's not worked," [Morey] said. "You're drawing fine distinctions and speaking in long enough paragraphs that they can be misconstrued and taken out of context and frankly, handed to your opposition to exploit. And that's clearly what's going on here [with the Islamic center/mosque comments]."
Only a bad law professor operates that way. A good law professor speaks as clearly as possible and draws attention to anything the courts have glossed over or left ambiguous. We lawprofs try to extract the doctrinal rules and point up any place where courts have left the rule mushy. Then we apply those rules to particular factual settings. We hypothesize the most difficult applications of law to fact and help the students work through these hard problems. Obama's lolling at high levels of abstract principle and avoiding the specifics of applying principle to real problems is not the way of the law professor.

90 comments:

edutcher said...

Does this mean he's only coherent when he's lying about everything?

Sixty Grit said...

"Becoming"?

gloogle said...

So, he's basically afraid to descend from the heights, into the unwashed masses, and get his hands dirty doing the real job of making hard decisions.

Sounds just like a community organizer.

wv: synder - what synners are reduced to in hell.

Almost Ali said...

The generalized Peter Principle states that in evolution systems tend to develop up to the limit of their adaptive competence.

Quayle said...

Frankly, we're up to our armpits in Obama mush.

And oh! how he must pine for the good ol' days when he could breeze in and sprinkle around a generous portion of platitudes to near universal adoration and acceptance.

But this doing something - this work business - is really, really hard.

Pastafarian said...

I don't know about this angle anymore.

It sounds as though the general tenor is this: Obama is just too smart for his own good. He's up on that high plane of abstraction, while we common folk trudge around in the hog wallow below. He needs to talk down on our level, lest he be misunderstood.

A few weeks ago, I might be inclined to agree -- that he's too smart by half. But this mosque thing was such an obvious and stupid mistake by Obama politically, that it makes me question whether he's really as intelligent as we've been led to believe.

Oh noes!! Obama is teh stoooopid!!

Seven Machos said...

This is a great post, sort of ironically collecting and sorting through some of the hash of my own thoughts for me.

I've always had this image of Obama, sitting around with some students at the University of Chicago, talking about some current issue. He waxes about the problem and then says that all we need to do, of course, is some simple thing to solve it. Just this one simple thing. The students nod in agreement and wonder why the idiots in power don't do that thing.

Moose said...

It's not his fault, man! It's just that he's too smart for us!!

We need to step up to his level of abstract political oratory!

We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well I can't really blame him. When the MSM was peppering him with questions like: What's your NCAA brackets look like? Or who should be [insert pro team] first round draft pick, some of the more weight matters of state can be troublesome.

But in seriousness, I would think that even the devoted have to wonder how someone beleived to be so intelligent can be so tone deaf.

GMay said...

All this after-the-fact good lawprof analyzation is neat and all, but a hell of a lot of people picked up on this stuff during his campaign.

You can break it down as academically as you'd like, but many people recognized bullshit when they saw it.

It's really not all that complicated.

Larry J said...

It sounds as though the general tenor is this: Obama is just too smart for his own good. He's up on that high plane of abstraction, while we common folk trudge around in the hog wallow below. He needs to talk down on our level, lest he be misunderstood.

I'm still waiting for actual evidence of Obama's alleged intelligence. Good thing I'm not holding my breath.

Christopher said...

What happened was, most people thought he was taking a position on the wisdom of building the mosque. That is, they didn't see that he was remaining aloof on the high plane of abstraction

No, actually, he was taking a position on the mosque, supporting its construction as planned.

I like the general direction of this post...It was built into Obama's style of communication that it would become incoherent when it moved from campaign oratory — which he seemed so good at — to the real work of governing — which requires you to make specific decisions about the details. But if you watch the speech (I almost want to say, rather than just read it) it is crystal-clear that he was supporting it.

Obama's response, when he saw that people had misunderstood what he'd said, was to chide them for misreading.

He wasn't chiding them for misreading anything. He didn't expect the pushback, or at the time he delivered he speech, didn't think he would care.

I can't figure out if the guy really is tone-deaf, or so aloof from the broad American currents that his standard operating procedure is to not give a damn until panicked aides start waving polls around.

wv = vioroidi. When a video goes viral, amped up on steroids, in a bad way.

Scott M said...

When they are forced to respond to twitter and facebook messages from a loser veep candidate and resigned governer of a non-contiguous state, you know they have lost the initiative.

It's undeniably Bush's fault and Nixon before him.

Jason said...

Obama does not strike me as 'smart,' at all. He has a certain amount of natural candlepower, but that's not smart. That's just potential smart.

Obama strikes me as a lazy, shallow thinker, locked in libtard templates and unable to critically examine them. He can only think halfway through a problem, and then looks down on people who are much more disciplined and thorough thinkers than he is who can think a problem through to the likely consequences of his proposed solutions.

Obama: I believe we should do X

Smart people: If we do X, the consequences will by Y and Z and that will make things worse than the problem you think you are solving by doing X.

Obama: Don't give in to the hate!!! Don't do a lot of talking! I won I won I won I won I won!!!!

I sort of wish I did take his law class, just so I could skewer his half-assed, lazy thinking from the wings.

The Drill SGT said...

the way of the law professor.

Prof A goes all Jedi Master on us:

Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"

former law student said...

We lawprofs try to extract the doctrinal rules and point up any place where courts have left the rule mushy. Then we apply those rules to particular factual settings. We hypothesize the most difficult applications of law to fact and help the students work through these hard problems.

My law profs would have described that as "spoonfeeding." You only get that kind of instruction from the BarBri profs.

former law student said...

This Oracle-like portrayal of Obama reminds me of N.S. Sweat's famous Whiskey Speech. Noak had been a Mississippi state representative, a judge, and -- wait for it -- a law prof:

My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey:

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.


 — Noah S. Sweat, April 4, 1952 at the old King Edward Hotel in Jackson during a legislative debate on repealing the prohibition.

Almost Ali said...

When a jive turkey finds himself president, it's all about eat, drink, and be merry. And when the same jive turkey has a wife like Michelle, throw in... get even.

It's that simple, no more, no less.

Fen said...

Cue Ritmo plagiarizing from West Wing: you campaign in poetry; you govern in prose

rhhardin said...

I say Obama is stupid, not abstracting.

The platitude is what he knows.

Look at the evidence.

Marc said...

What Seven Machos said. Great post, and it not only chrystalizes my own thoughts but clarifies Ms. Althouse's position, which I had been too distracted or lazy to really discern from her earlier posts. Thanks.

Seven Machos said...

I think Obama should write another autobiography to get some of his momentum back.

Christopher said...

Like this:

"But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure."

Obama carefully read his speech, including this statement. When he got to this passage, he spoke slowly, with some vehemence and condescension. Regarding these remarks, as the late, great William Buckley used to say, a few observations.

1. Obama's tone was not one calculated to persuade. He both hectored and belittled those who oppose the GZM. If you respectfully beg to differ with Obama, it is hard to like the persona Obama had on display Friday night....

10. With great reliability Obama stands athwart the feelings of ordinary Americans. Indeed, he is a much more ardent defender of the faith of Musims than he is of the United States, of its history or of its people. Although Obama framed his GZM remarks as a citizen and President of the United States, he seems to think of himself less as a citizen of the United States than as a citizen of the world and less as president than as philosopher king.

In the 2008 campaign Obama presented himself as a healing if not a redemptive figure. For reasons that are almost completely understandable, many voters chose to believe in Obama's self-presentation. Belief in Obama's persona conflicted with voluminous evidence to the contrary that was there for anyone with eyes to see.

These voters who bought Obama nevertheless quickly saw through Obama's persona after the election. They now believe they were sold a bill of goods, and they are of course right. Obama's Iftar remarks suggest that Obama has no hesitation at all in reminding voters how he pulled one over on them.

(Scott Johnson, Powerline)

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Referring to Muslims in Middle Eastern countries that have remained backwaters since the Crusades, the president said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-Western sentiment or anti-Semitic sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Oh wait, I'm all mixed up!

Palladian said...

"I say Obama is stupid, not abstracting.

The platitude is what he knows.

Look at the evidence."

I'm with rhhardin, Obama has never seemed particularly smart to me and I've never understood why anyone ever thought he was smart. And you can't look at the evidence that he is smart because there is no evidence. No college transcripts, no significant writing other than his two cliche-ridden vanity books, no scholarship, no significant work experience, no significant legislative output, nothing.

I've also never thought he was a remarkable orator, either. He reads generally mediocre, platitude-filled speeches from teleprompters, using that irritatingly stilted faux-professorial tone, occasionally slipping in a little of the timing and timbre of a black faux-preacher.

And what was the message of his campaign? It wasn't abstraction, it was simply blank. There was never any coherence because there was never any message. "Yes we can!" "Change/Hope" "We're the ones we've been waiting for!"— that's not abstract, that's meaningless.

Obama has always done a caricature of thoughtfulness and he's been presented as intelligent. But when he's put into the position where he's required to actually present a cogent argument or make a decision or issue an actually meaningful statement, he inevitably fumbles.

Thinking that Obama can actually lead the government is like thinking that the cast of St Elsewhere could perform neurosurgery. Obama isn't a President, but he plays one on T.V.

Seven Machos said...

And you can't look at the evidence that he is smart because there is no evidence. No college transcripts, no significant writing other than his two cliche-ridden vanity books, no scholarship, no significant work experience, no significant legislative output, nothing.

I respectfully disagree. Anyone who can become president with no credentials and convince everyone he is smart with no evidence must be smart. Hucksters are smart. Deceit requires intelligence. Does anyone deny, for example, that P.T. Barnum or Harold Hill were smart?

garage mahal said...

Obama has never lived up my strawman caricature of him either.

Seven Machos said...

The old straw man argument. Always a winner in a loser's mind.

hygate said...

Obama strikes me as a lazy, shallow thinker, locked in libtard templates and unable to critically examine them. He can only think halfway through a problem, and then looks down on people who are much more disciplined and thorough thinkers than he is who can think a problem through to the likely consequences of his proposed solutions.

I suspect that he possesses sufficient native intelligence to have become a more disciplined thinker, but was educated in an environment where learning his teachers' opinions and paraphrasing them back at them was considered to be an education.

Also, statements about how he is way more intelligent than the rest of us because he operates on a higher level of abstraction are nonsense. Learning abstract theory is the easy part. Applying that theory in the real world where there are competing interests, time constraints, and limited funds is the hard part.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm wondering if there is some communication advisor who can tell him to find some new opening lines other than 'Make no mistake' and 'Let me be clear'.

Seven Machos said...

Obama seems generally frustrated to me. But he doesn't seem to be introspective enough to change his approach. In fact, he seems to be be doubling down and hearkening back to what worked for him in the past, like the CEOs of so many failed companies and the coaches of so many flailing sports teams.

Fen said...

HDHouse: Obama has never lived up my strawman caricature of him either

At least you finally admit "Hope and Change" was built from straw...

Fen said...

Oh. That was Garage not HDHouse. Same diff. [shrug]

Scott M said...

Oh. That was Garage not HDHouse. Same diff. [shrug]

I call bullshit on this. Garage doesn't have anywhere near the unsubstantiated medical patents that HDH does.

AllenS said...

What was the strawman wearing?

garage mahal said...

They've created Myth to justify their hatred of the right, and usually that Myth was created in the first place to serve as a moral counterweight to their own "evil"

I think it's more mockery and amazement at the hypocrisy of the right using dead victims from a city they despise to begin with, as a hammer to beat people they dislike. If the right was consistent they would be refusing that million bucks handed over to the GOP from Fox, whose largest shareholder is a Wahhabi Saudi prince, who is from a country that is ruled by sharia law, who is one of the globes top exporter of terror, and if you remember 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were.....from Saudi Arabia. Who are also good friends with many Republicans, like the last president. Just a complete load of horseshit, as usual.

Scott M said...

What was the strawman wearing?

Not sure, but he's probably more gainfully employed than AL.

Maguro said...

Oh. That was Garage not HDHouse. Same diff. [shrug]

I call bullshit on this. Garage doesn't have anywhere near the unsubstantiated medical patents that HDH does
.

Nor is garage a fully bemedalled Hero Of The Soviet Union.

That we know of.

Michael said...

Seven Machos: He is clearly intelligent, but I highly doubt he is as smart as many claim. A guy who has written two autobiographies before he is 50 is not noted for modesty and yet the smartest president ever keeps his grades secret. It doesn't compute.

John Lynch said...

He's not a lawprof. He's the President.

We choose a President to make decisions that no one else can make.

Obama isn't doing that. He wastes a lot of time on decisions that he doesn't need to make, and ignores decisions that do need to be made right now.

You can't sit back and criticize The Man when you are The Man.

Seven Machos said...

Does anyone remember when Bush tried to do a ports deal in...where was it? -- the UAE?

Garage, were you defending that?

Seven Machos said...

You can't sit back and criticize The Man when you are The Man.

That was the first draft of Truman's celebrated desk message. But it wouldn't fit on the desk.

garage mahal said...

Did I ever defend the idea of handing over U.S. port security to Dubai? No. You?

Seven Machos said...

So you were against it, then. Surely, you can see why millions of Americans who would also be against that would be against this mosque in the place where it is proposed for what they see as the same basic principle.

Or is that one of your straw men?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think it's more mockery and amazement at the hypocrisy of the right using dead victims from a city they despise to begin with, as a hammer to beat people they dislike.

Well that's maybe because they were still Americans and NYC is still a city in America, a country most of us have always been proud of instead of just recently.

Scott M said...

Excellent point, HoosierD. In fact, please allow me to paraphrase one of our most elite by saying...

For the first time in my adult life, I'm not really proud of my country, but it feels like hope is making a comeback.

I hope to hell it is because I'm somewhat concerned, you might say, about my 6-, 3-, and 1-year-old. Just a tad.

garage mahal said...

Handing port security over to a foreign government is the same as turning an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory into a mosque?

AllenS said...

For the first time in my adult life, I want to know what everyone is wearing.

edutcher said...

Almost Ali said...

The generalized Peter Principle states that in evolution systems tend to develop up to the limit of their adaptive competence.

Given that opening and granted, it's a Roger Simon piece, how many people ever thought Politico would run something that starts with:

Q: Will Barack Obama be a one-term president?

A: Yes, he might last that long.

Seven Machos said...

Both are legal. Neither presents a security problem, according to the government entities involved. Both strike people as nevertheless wrong at some gut level -- as something just not done under current circumstances.

Oligonicella said...

Palladian --

"I'm with rhhardin, Obama has never seemed particularly smart to me and I've never understood why anyone ever thought he was smart."

He speaks academese. The 'intellectual elite' love that.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

What Christopher said.

Obama meant to talk about the politics of the mosque, all right. It's just that he's spent too much time among people for whom liberal political views follow automatically and uncontroversially from the lofty philosophizing. He's never been able to get his head around the fact that they don't, so he ends up being perpetually being surprised by the controversy.

Pogo said...

This Presidency is a travesty.
It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

Scott M said...

"It's an audacity of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."

There...fixed it for you.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would think that even the devoted have to wonder how someone beleived to be so intelligent can be so tone deaf.

Besides the not as smart as he thinks he is or not as smart as the media presents him to be.........I wonder if there might not be a touch of Asperger's. People with that syndrome tend to be very socially tone deaf and can be fixated on ideas or process to the extent that they make a lot of mistakes and "fox paws".

Or maybe he just doesn't give a shit what we think and plans to do what he wants in any case.

I think that one.

traditionalguy said...

Speaking of highly abstract principles as a substitute for dealing with the facts of the day sure beats the heck out of Obama's other method of just lying about the facts like he used to do to adulation until the Momma grizzlie started face booking him. The Climate depot web site also kicked these Industrial Strength Liars in the nuts so hard that they are in nauseated disarray trying to set the table with a new Myth Of Electrical Wind Power replacing petroleum lies. The camoflage is not working.

Brad said...

So ... the communications expert (not you, Ann, the guy quoted) says the problem is the audience just can't keep up .....

IMO, the President isn't nearly as smart as he thinks he is & it causes all kinds of trouble:

1) He has no ability to engage opposing points of view - his response is to mock, condescend & belittle.

2) He thinks he's the smartest person in every room, which breeds arrogance & sloppy thinking.

3) Which feeds the thin-skinned resentment we see so often from him.

Put it all together & we get a President who thinks he's so smart & we're so dumb that there's no reason for him to take us, our ideas or our opinions seriously; automatically, anyone who disagrees with His Brilliance does so out of some base motive and/or ignorance.

As to his speechifying on the GZM ...

He has nothing to offer to the discussion but he's going to storm in and say nothing anyway.

Guy's in love with the sound of his own voice.

AJ Lynch said...

Meanwhile, the media was busy this past weekend mocking the new Republican senate candidates as poor whackjobs.

As if the country longs for a few more lazy, dumb, mediocre pieces of shit to sit in the Senate for 30 years like John Kerry or Bite Me Biden or Barbara Boxer. Yeah that is just what the American people want.

Obama is not the only one who just does not get it!

Youngblood said...

Garage wrote:

"I think it's more mockery and amazement at the hypocrisy of the right using dead victims from a city they despise to begin with, as a hammer to beat people they dislike."

What were you saying about strawmen again?

Pogo said...

I would advise against using dead people as a hammer. First, they're hard to swing, and second, after a while the pieces are flying everywhere. Damned messy, it is.

Pogo said...

If you're going to beat people you dislike, use your fists or a proper hammer.



This has been a public service announcement.

Biff said...

Althouse wrote: lolling at high levels of abstract principle and avoiding the specifics of applying principle to real problems

The first thing that I thought of when reading this post was Obama's use (in Wisconsin, no less) of Deval Patrick's old "Just Words?" rhetoric.

A small amount of irony, no?

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

Dead people? Otherwise known as corpse men by Obama.

tim maguire said...

This post is all a load of crap. Obama was always incoherent, even on the campaign trail.

The people who interpreted his first speech as supporting the mosque did so not because they didn't realize he was on the high plane, but because they believe this is about freedom of religion and want to count him as on their side.

george said...

If you really look at his speeches it is not uncommon at all for him to contradict himself multiple times.

It has been evident to me for a very long time that no one actually LISTENS to what he says anyway. They are too intent on hearing what they want him to say.

He is just not very bright by any standard unless you count mindlessly supporting the leftist line as a form of intelligence.

Pogo said...

"...no one actually LISTENS to what he says anyway. "

Obama is like Linus Van Pelt's teacher, Miss Othmar.
"Wah wah wahwah wah, wahwah wah waaaaah"

Revenant said...

I think it's more mockery and amazement at the hypocrisy of the right using dead victims from a city they despise to begin with, as a hammer to beat people they dislike

That you find it "amazing" that we are outraged at the murder of American citizens we didn't even like says a great deal about you, but very little about us. A normal person has no trouble understanding why it is wrong to murder thousands of people, even if most of them are probably butt-heads.

REK said...

Wondering why the tacit assumption is that Obama was a competent lecturer on the law. At risk of stating the obvious: he wasn't tenure track. Do folks read too much into the fact that he taught a few classes?

Why do folks characterize Obama as a 'law professor' .... when he wasn't?

Pogo said...

"Why do folks characterize Obama as a 'law professor' .... when he wasn't?"

The President doth profess too much, methinks.

ddh said...

Fifteen years from now, will Obama be thrown out of a diner for yelling "I want my multigrain waffle" instead of answering whether he wanted strawberries or maple syrup?

ddh said...

Obama has been told too many times how smart he is, and, as a result, he's become intellectually lazy. He doesn't think he has to do the work.

garage mahal said...

That you find it "amazing" that we are outraged at the murder of American citizens we didn't even like says a great deal about you, but very little about us

Maybe you should follow the thread a little more closely. Or read more closely before commenting.

Trooper York said...

Garage, I am not using this just to beat on people I don't like.

Neither are the thousands upon thousands of realtives of the fallen who are protesting this abomination.

Please rethink this.

America's Politico said...

I completely understand the President and the Vice President. He is Reagan's Reagan. I think GOP is trying to find water in desert. It is over GOP. My suggestion: Plan for 2016, at least there is time to nurture leaders within GOP (not Palin, Jindal, etc.). Think of Ryan, Christie, etc. Forget the talkers. Focus on doers, scholars, etc.

former law student said...

Why do folks characterize Obama as a 'law professor' .... when he wasn't?

Obama was classified with legal powerhouses Posner and Easterbrook as a Senior Lecturer, not with ordinary lecturers -- typically random partners who came in to teach their practice fields such as Trademark Litigation.

Seven Machos said...

I must know more about America's Politico. I am so highly intrigued. This person has to be perfecting some new Moby art form, right?

Fen said...

FLS: Obama was classified with legal powerhouses Posner and Easterbrook as a Senior Lecturer

Not even:

"Obama applied for a position as an adjunct and wasn't even considered. A few weeks later the law school got a phone call from the Board of Trustees telling them to find him an office, put him on the payroll, and give him a class to teach. The Board told him he didn't have to be a member of the faculty, but they needed to give him a temporary position. He was never a professor and was hardly an adjunct.

The other professors hated him because he was lazy, unqualified, never attended any of the faculty meetings, and it was clear that the position was nothing more than a political stepping stool. According to my professor friend, Obama had the lowest intellectual capacity in the building.

He also doubted whether he was legitimately an editor on the Harvard Law Review, because if he was, he would be the first and only editor of an Ivy League law review to never be published while in school (publication is or was a requirement)."


http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/03/to-be-lawyer-or-not-to-be.html

JAL said...

So it's true.

He's not a law professor.

Will said...

Read Obama's poem about Apes that eat figs and you will never think he is an intellectual giant

Seven Machos said...

Fen -- That story has always smacked to me of an urban legend. All we know is that Obama taught at the University of Chicago as some kind of professor, but he was not someone who was even close to a full-fledged member of the faculty.

PatCA said...

This all just proves the truth to the assertion that lefties are just ankle biters and not leaders. They can only critique-governance is beyond them.

former law student said...

Fen -- I read that entire bit of backstairs gossip without finding anything that contradicted my statement.

But who at U of C law school would talk anonymous smack about Obama? Someone very very jealous, it sounds like.

The linked article dragged up the old canard that Obama never published a student note in the Harvard Law Review, refuted by this Politico article two years ago.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12705.html

Being wrong on one key issue puts the entire article in doubt, as far as I'm concerned.

Seven Machos said...

There is no question that Obama was the editor of The Harvard Law Review.

Again, I say we who don't like Obama stick to the economy and foreign policy and all the general ineptitude of Obama's governing. Talking about this crap is exactly -- and I mean exactly -- like trying to trash Bush over the National Guard. Whatever that was about.

When you've got the issues on your side in an election, argue the issues.

deborah said...

"Read Obama's poem about Apes that eat figs and you will never think he is an intellectual giant."

Paul Bloom's analysis of Bam's poetry:


In 1981, Barack Obama published two poems in the journal Feast. This week, Rebecca Mead writes about Harold Bloom’s take on Obama’s literary endeavors.



Pop



Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken

In, sprinkled with ashes,

Pop switches channels, takes another

Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks

What to do with me, a green young man

Who fails to consider the

Flim and flam of the world, since

Things have been easy for me;

I stare hard at his face, a stare

That deflects off his brow;

I’m sure he’s unaware of his

Dark, watery eyes, that

Glance in different directions,

And his slow, unwelcome twitches,

Fail to pass.

I listen, nod,

Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,

Beige T-shirt, yelling,

Yelling in his ears, that hang

With heavy lobes, but he’s still telling

His joke, so I ask why

He’s so unhappy, to which he replies...

But I don’t care anymore, cause

He took too damn long, and from

Under my seat, I pull out the

Mirror I’ve been saving; I’m laughing,

Laughing loud, the blood rushing from his face

To mine, as he grows small,

A spot in my brain, something

That may be squeezed out, like a

Watermelon seed between

Two fingers.

Pop takes another shot, neat,

Points out the same amber

Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine, and

Makes me smell his smell, coming

From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem

He wrote before his mother died,

Stands, shouts, and asks

For a hug, as I shink, my

Arms barely reaching around

His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; ‘cause

I see my face, framed within

Pop’s black-framed glasses

And know he’s laughing too.





Underground



Under water grottos, caverns

Filled with apes

That eat figs.

Stepping on the figs

That the apes

Eat, they crunch.

The apes howl, bare

Their fangs, dance,

Tumble in the

Rushing water,

Musty, wet pelts

Glistening in the blue.


Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/2007/07/02/070702on_onlineonly_obama#ixzz0wvsaanPx


Harold Bloom, who in fifty-three years of teaching literature at Yale University has had many undergraduate poems pressed hopefully upon him said, when reached by telephone in New Haven last week, that he was not familiar with Obama’s oeuvre. But after studying the poems he said that he was not unimpressed with the young man’s efforts—at least, by the standards established by other would-be bards within the political sphere. “At eighteen, as an undergraduate, he was already a much better poet than our former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who keeps publishing terrible poetry,” Bloom said...

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2007/07/02/070702ta_talk_mead#ixzz0wvt03vEB

deborah said...

Ooops, that was Harold Bloom.

Fen said...

Again, I say we who don't like Obama stick to the economy and foreign policy and all the general ineptitude of Obama's governing. Talking about this crap is exactly -- and I mean exactly -- like trying to trash Bush over the National Guard

No, for it to be exact, Bush would need to spotlight his service in Vietnam, 3 purple hearts, etc.

I do agree with your point about sticking to policy differences, but when the other side trots out anecdotal evidence of Obama's "intelligence", its only fair to respond in kind.

Fen said...

FLS: But who at U of C law school would talk anonymous smack about Obama? Someone very very jealous, it sounds like

I would take that seriously if only you had applied the same standard to Bush for 8 years - constant bashing based on anonymous sources in Wapo, NYTs etc.

I guess that means all those Bush bashers were just very very jealous too.

former law student said...

Talking about this crap is exactly -- and I mean exactly -- like trying to trash Bush over the National Guard.

Yes, pre-Presidential experience is what you argue before the guy becomes President. Obama has a year and a half of Presidential experience now -- that's what you talk about, not his UGPA.

deborah said...

"Yes, pre-Presidential experience is what you argue before the guy becomes President. Obama has a year and a half of Presidential experience now -- that's what you talk about, not his UGPA."

Anyone know his handicap?