April 20, 2011

"'She was a very strong person in her own way,' Obama said, when I asked about Ann’s limitations as a mother."

Writes Janny Scott at the end of a long NYT Magazine article about Stanley Ann Dunham:
“Resilient, able to bounce back from setbacks, persistent — the fact that she ended up finishing her dissertation. But despite all those strengths, she was not a well-organized person. And that disorganization, you know, spilled over. Had it not been for my grandparents, I think, providing some sort of safety net financially, being able to take me and my sister on at certain spots, I think my mother would have had to make some different decisions. And I think that sometimes she took for granted that, ‘Well, it’ll all work out, and it’ll be fine.’ But the fact is, it might not always have been fine, had it not been for my grandmother. . . . Had she not been there to provide that floor, I think our young lives could have been much more chaotic than they were.”
Did you have a flash — reading that — that he's like his mother, and we, the taxpayers, are like the grandparents? We'll come through. We'll provide the floor through which the country cannot crash.
But he did not, he said, hold his mother’s choices against her. Part of being an adult is seeing your parents “as people who have their own strengths, weaknesses, quirks, longings.” He did not believe, he said, that parents served their children well by being unhappy. If his mother had cramped her spirit, it would not have given him a happier childhood. As it was, she gave him the single most important gift a parent can give — “a sense of un conditional love that was big enough that, with all the surface disturbances of our lives, it sustained me, entirely.”
Please, America. Don't cramp my style. I'm a unique spirit, here to give that special gift that I have brought into the world. It's all for the best, if you'll be that floor.

66 comments:

Ut said...

Barack Obama is not qualified to be the President.

Democrats should not re-nominate him and instead, should nominate Hillary Clinton, who is an American.

Wahrheit said...

I think he meant to say, "Had it not been for [those typical white people] [who stepped in with their money to cover her irresponsibility] I would not be President."

Scott M said...

Please, America. Don't cramp my style.

...and forget all about that Connecticut social security number thing...

Anecdotally, as an X'r, I know quite a few people that had/have flaky parents. Averaging it out here on the back of the envelope, 1 in 5 ended up not being flaky themselves.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

Omigosh. Yes.

Leo Ladenson said...

It's all for the best, if you'll be that floor.


I think the country is tired of being walked on.

Naomi said...

It makes no sense for a person to waste energy being resentful of their parents.

Is Obama like his mother in his personal life? I don't think so. Maybe his biographies imply differently, but he seems to me to have pursued social and financial security overall.

Politically, perhaps, as president, his ideas might resemble the sort of wishful thinking and trust that someone will keep disaster from happening if it goes wrong.

I sort of wish it was opposite of that and he was out there somewhere following his whims paycheck to paycheck.

vbspurs said...

What I can't get over is the tilt of Stanley Ann's jaw in that photo of hers in Indonesia.

Now we know where her Barry gets it from.

Synova said...

Children on my computer again.

(I am not Naomi!)

Synova said...

Ack. I noticed another Naomi in a different thread. She has a pretty avitar and is new.

vbspurs said...

Naomi wrote:

Is Obama like his mother in his personal life? I don't think so. Maybe his biographies imply differently, but he seems to me to have pursued social and financial security overall.

That's a good point.

Barack Obama is not a hippy type, married to two women of a race different than he, nor would he ever have thought to apply for food stamps to support his family, whilst trudging along in life, trying to finish his Ph.D..

Clearly, he is far more like his father, who wrapped his Cadillac around a tree after having had drinks, as usual, at a famous foreign hotel's bar in Nairobi, where all the civil servants and moneyed hung out.

Before Barack's pants leg's were creased and natty, Barack Sr's slim elegant frame had creased trousers. No sign of Stanley Ann's pudgy Midwestern fashionless sense on her only son.

Mind you, how much Michelle Obama influenced her husband, and his desire to live in Hyde Park in a mansion, remains to be explored.

vbspurs said...

Children on my computer again.

(I am not Naomi!)


My God, not you too, Synova!

MayBee said...

The descriptions of his mother don't make her sound like a particularly happy person.

AJ Lynch said...

A savvy president would say "You know these are tough times for Americans. And almost everyday I see and hear stories where families and friends looked out for and helped each other when the need arose".

rhhardin said...

My work here is done link.

Henry said...

If ever I comment with poop jokes you'll know it's my kids. Any one of them or all at the same time.

* * *

Obama's comments about his mom sound sincere to me. He's saying the best he can about her while being relatively honest about her history. That's what I would do to.

Some people feel really cramped by family. I feel really bad for those people.

John said...

Shorter version:

"I need a hug"

John Henry

John said...

So what is the consensus here:

Is Obama a Keynesian or not?

And if so, should it disqualify him from the presidency?

Mick? Are you here?


John Henry

Heather said...

Is Obama a Keynesian or not?

He totally is a Keynesian that 1 trillion dollar spending spree should have settled that one. Unfortunately, economic illiteracy does not disqualify one from office.

Off to watch the "Boom and Bust" for the zillionth time

AJ Lynch said...

Obama's mother was selfish IMO. Her needs came first and her kids came second. That had to leave some scars on the president and his sister I bet.

MayBee said...

How does this "do what makes you happy" idea fit in with Obama's repeated reminders to men to be better fathers?

edutcher said...

More drooling from the Gray Lady.

Forget the safety net, if it hadn't been for his grandmother, whom he eventually threw under a very crowded bus, he would not have grown up to be the spoiled, pampered snob he is.

"He did not believe, he said, that parents served their children well by being unhappy"

Does he think they can control it? Hell, my mother was chronically, severely depressed her whole life from Cushing's; if there was a way to get out from under it, I don't doubt she would have jumped at it.

PS I think Ann's point isn't quite correct. It isn't that he thinks the adults in the country will save him; he thinks he can wring out whatever he wants from them by either inveigling or intimidation.

PPS I wonder what happened to the sister named Roy?

JohnJ said...

"Please, America. Don't cramp my style. I'm a unique spirit, here to give that special gift that I have brought into the world. It's all for the best, if you'll be that floor."

Perhaps some of this mockery is perceptive.

But I'm reminded again of Obama's painstakingly created, personal narrative, which virtually ignores the maternal side of the family in favor of his nearly totally absent father. I know some here would attribute that self-creation to political convenience, but I think it's more than that. If mom's a bit of an embarrassment, then why not tout the seemingly down-to-earth and hardworking grandparents? Having read much of "Dreams from My Father," I still don't get the fascination with dad.

Scott M said...

Obama's mother was selfish IMO. Her needs came first and her kids came second.

This and so common among the "protest" class of the Boomer generation.

Meade said...

Welfare Dreams From My Mother

Meade said...

The Audacity of Hoping We Never Have to Grow Up

Quayle said...

The Boomers - was there ever a generation in America that gave so little and took so much?

Having insisted that they live higher than they themselves could afford, they are now busy vacuuming up the resources of our grandchildren to foot the bill.

ricpic said...

Abandoned by mater and pater makes for a seething with rage Zippy hellbent on hitting someone, anyone...why look at all them bitter clingers, bam bam bam.

chickelit said...

But I'm reminded again of Obama's painstakingly created, personal narrative, which virtually ignores the maternal side of the family in favor of his nearly totally absent father.

Wouldn't you be embarrassed too? He can't change that she was his mom but her character only appeals to his hardcore left-of-center followers.

The more POTUS buffs the image of his grandparents, the better he'll do with his "missing" constituency. But isn't grandma still under the bus? She was the last I heard.

MayBee said...

This part is odd:
When we spoke last July, Obama recalled those serial displacements. “I think that was harder on a 10-year-old boy than he’d care to admit at the time,” Obama said, sitting in a chair in the Oval Of fice and speaking about his mother with a mix of affection and critical distance. “When we were separated again during high school, at that point I was old enough to say, ‘This is my choice, my decision.’ But being a parent now and looking back at that, I could see — you know what? — that would be hard on a kid.”

chickelit said...

ricpic said: Abandoned by mater and pater makes for a seething with rage Zippy hellbent on hitting someone, anyone...why look at all them bitter clingers, bam bam bam.

No, he's trying to message his hardcore left supporters with his hardship story and the brave young woman who overcame:

Repetitio est mater relectorum

John Lynch said...

Presidents seem to have a lot of problems, don't they? W was an addict, Clinton... where do I begin?

It's not surprising that the President didn't have a normal life. None of them do.

edutcher said...

Quayle said...

The Boomers - was there ever a generation in America that gave so little and took so much?

'Nam was the Boomers' war - they were the ones who bled there. They were the ones who made the Reagan Revolution.

Don't follow the Establishment Media and assume the campus commandos spoke for everybody.

Hagar said...

There may be something to the Professor's musings and it's a bit unsettling.
Obama is now in the Oval Office, and that's where the buck stops. There are no more "grandparents."

The U.N. is a United States creation and a dependent, not a succorer, and the "international community" is a figment of the liberal imagination. There is no "community."

JAL said...

Mind you, how much Michelle Obama influenced her husband, and his desire to live in Hyde Park in a mansion, remains to be explored.

Haha Vic. A joke.

Explored by whom?

This is the guy we can't even know what his college transcripts are or where his birth certificate is or what passport he travelled with to Pakistan or what the heck a CT social security number has to do with him, or where his Illinois records are or what on and off campus groups he socialized with Bill Ayers with in NYC.

I think Michelle played a huge part in his Dreams book thingey too -- while they were in Bali or afterwards -- but who is going to dig and ask the hard qyestions?

"...remains to be explored."
No. We. Can't!

Rumpletweezer said...

Is it time to cue the Schooner Tuna commercial?

Methadras said...

The bottom line is, is that his mothers decisions in life, her choices in men and in that insecurity, shaped Erkle to follow people he thought could wield power on his behalf and to shun those that were of no value to him. Alinksi, Ayers, Rezko, Wright, Frank Marshal Davis, Alice Palmer, Dorhn, McKnight, Greg Galluzo, and his raving Communist/Marxist father, "All of my life, I carried a single image of my father, one that I tried to take as my own" were those people that shaped his life, this privileged Hawaiian youth transforms into a radical Marxist by the very people I've named above.

His mother's insecurities at life and in men visa vie her ideology set him up, which in turn has fucked all of us over.

Methadras said...

Hagar said...

The U.N. is a United States creation and a dependent, not a succorer, and the "international community" is a figment of the liberal imagination. There is no "community."


Just like there is no 'international law'. Yet international community continually cites international law. If one is a figment of leftard imagination, then the other his no means of existence.

FWBuff said...

I also think Lolo (Obama's stepfather) is an interesting character in this article, but there is no discussion of any interaction or influence that this man had with his stepson, even though he was married to Ann from the time Obama was 3 until he was 19. Is Lolo still alive?

Trooper York said...

I went to the movies for the first time in about twenty years yesterday. I hate to sit in a movie with people talking and shouting at the screen and my TV is almost as big as most multiplexes today. But a friend of ours took us to Astoria to the Kauffman Studios and it was great. Plus it was empty which is always a plus.

Anywho we saw this movie called "Hanna" about a girl who was trained by her parent to come back to get revenge against an Evil America.

I said to myself where did I see this story before?

JAL said...

Having read much of "Dreams from My Father," I still don't get the fascination with dad.

Second that.

I work with people in mental health and this has always been an incredibly opaque thing for me.

He saw his father ONCE when he was 10.

By that time he had been Barry Soetoro for a couple years.

What on earth was that about?

His father was a bigamist. And then went off and married another white American woman and had two kids by her in Kenya ... and he writes a "love song" to him? There are words for what his father was and did, and I won't bother to put them in print.

BHO Sr. was his biological father (though there could be serious doubt about this) but appeared relationally to be zero connected there. (Aside -- I think the Kenyan grandmother has Barry mixed up with the other bi-racial boys' birth. Not hard. All those white women look alike.)

I think BHO Jr's fixation is bizarre to say the least -- perhaps fabricated for dramatic effect and personal identity reasons.

I do appreciate Obama's connection with his girls (the elder more than the younger, I think) and his ability to at least appear to be a dad for them, given his incredibly lousy and bizarre choices his mother made in men, and his odd grandfather.

And his mother finishing her PhD on Indonesian blacksmithing doesn't impress me at all, given that she left her kids behind here and there over all those years. He is gracious, but also can't be too honest here (perhaps not an appropriate forum).

Kids grow up too fast to miss them while they are doing it. She lost more than she gained. Sad.

Scott M said...

Anywho we saw this movie called "Hanna" about a girl who was trained by her parent to come back to get revenge against an Evil America.

More grrrrl power. Why are the feminists up in their unshorn masses about things like Barbie's measurements, when what they should really be doing is dispelling these sorts of movies as an unrealistic, unachievable stereotype for women?

Trooper York said...

You what freaked me out about that movie. The girl did all kind of karate stuff and ran all over the place and hid in trunks and swam though the Hamburg barge canal.

And her hair was perfect. Like she just came from the salon. WTF.

JAL said...

W was an addict

Oh?

Your source for this is?

He abused alcohol. He stopped.

He no longer does.

pm317 said...

So now they are romanticizing the mother because the father and the 'Dreams' would not work this time and anyway, all the AAs are in the bag. It is a shame he does not have a second book for this time around on his white mom to stop the white exodus. So the presstitutes (to borrow from another poster) are writing about his mom on his behalf as if it is some novel. BTW, his sister has a book out on his mom the title of which is plagiarized. I guess it runs in the family, plagiarism, that is.

Like your post though, Do I detect some mockery in it?!

Leo Ladenson said...

Does the NYT article address Stanley's nudie pics?

Hagar said...

What I am after is that I think some of Obama is explained by that he thinks of the Presidency as a larger version of when he was a "community organizer" in South Chicago and trying to get something for his clients out of City Hall.

Michael said...

A dipshit and the son of a dipshit.

bagoh20 said...

Not tiger's blood nor Adonis DNA.

rhhardin said...

If only Obama had learned to play the violin instead of rebelling.

Rialby said...

His mother was a hippie who hated America and did her damndest to raise him an environment that inculcated the same hatred in him.

Lance said...

That statement by the President reminds me of when Speaker Pelosi said, "Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance"?

Which in turn reminds me of this comic.

chickelit said...

Go read some of the fawning comments appended to that piece under comment "highlights":

She was a trail blazer for women, a remarkable woman alone in the world. I empathize and relate deeply to her early life. lizrs from St. Louis

Not one of the highlighted comments is negative or critical of Dunham. Then click on "show all comments" and you see that NYT commenters are as fair and mentally unbalanced as we Althouse commenters are.

Imagine if Althouse instituted a "highlights" feature for her comment section?

Synova said...

"...or what the heck a CT social security number has to do with him,"

I don't have any notion why CT, but he's nearly the same age as I am and back then you didn't get a SSN at birth like you do now. You didn't have to get one at all until you wanted to get a job. I got mine when I was 16.

SSN's for babies creep me out a little bit.

Shanna said...

I must have spaced out because I had no idea he had a sister. Knew about the half siblings scattered around. Wonder what their relationship is like?

Anywho we saw this movie called "Hanna" about a girl who was trained by her parent to come back to get revenge against an Evil America.

Is that what that movie is about? I thought it was just kid assassin or something.

Mark in Spokane said...

And this is the grandmother that he threw under the bus during the 2008 campaign...

rcocean said...

Lets be honest. Barrack is the biggest Affirmative action baby ever. There's no way some white dude with his resume and named "Obama" would ever got elected POTUS.

I actually like how he discussed his Mom. I doubt he was so forgiving when young. I doubt I could be so forgiving. I mean geez, what a Flake, and I'm sure she was a loving parent - when she actually spared the time to be with him.

But at least she wasn't a "Typical White Person"

Freeman Hunt said...

Anywho we saw this movie called "Hanna" about a girl who was trained by her parent to come back to get revenge against an Evil America.

I saw that movie, and I don't remember it that way. She was getting revenge against a particular person.

Also, her hair was a wild rat's nest throughout the movie, as was appropriate. I would want my money back from a salon that did that.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm so used to being able to use the Kindle's text-to-speech that I started to get up in the middle of reading this article to go finish loading the dishwasher. Then I realized that there was no place to click to have the computer read the rest of the article to me while I worked.

Jane said...

What stood out to me was his mother's harsh disavowment of Americans. "They are not my people," she'd argue.

Somehow, knowing that Barry wasn't raised to love us by even his one American parent, hurts.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

Obama is a dad to his girls. say what you will about his weirdo parents, but he fulfills his most important responsibility.

I'm not going to be like those imbeciles who can't see any good in Bush, also a great dad and all around decent human being. Obama may be a horrible president, but he's there for his girls. He got that instinct from somewhere, perhaps his grandparents.

All those sad fools insisting Bush is a cokehead have never explained their evidence. But Obama noted he was almost a junkie, and he admitted to using hard drugs. I guess it's one of those rules that don't apply to democrats.

Honestly, the left wouldn't be in the sorry shape they are in if they let their leaders fool them with demonizing Republicans all the time.

William said...

I don't know that the raw facts of a person's life tell you all that much about the person. This is especially true when those facts and those people exist outside of our frame of reference. Indonesian blacksmiths? Very difficult to fit that enthusiasm into any kind of stereotype. I read the article and don't have a clue as to who his mother was. She seems adventurous and careless, conscientious and negligent, caring and abandoning. But perhaps a child read none of those things into her bahvior.....There are a lot of puzzles at the center of Obama's existence. It says something good about him that he turned out as well as he did. I'm no fan of his policies, but he does seem to have forged (feigned?) an efficient engine from gears that do not mesh......I can understand his fascination with his missing father. If you were missing a leg, I think you would probably think about that missing leg much more than your actual leg. You would probably have fantasies about football scholarships if only you had two legs.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

"You would probably have fantasies about football scholarships if only you had two legs. "

That's an excellent metaphor for Dreams from my Father, in my opinion.

It's understandable craziness. It's also a great book. It's far better than anything Obama could have written. No, I'm not kidding. I read Audacity, and it's just not the same author.

Methadras said...

chickelit said...

Go read some of the fawning comments appended to that piece under comment "highlights":

She was a trail blazer for women, a remarkable woman alone in the world. I empathize and relate deeply to her early life. lizrs from St. Louis

Not one of the highlighted comments is negative or critical of Dunham. Then click on "show all comments" and you see that NYT commenters are as fair and mentally unbalanced as we Althouse commenters are.

Imagine if Althouse instituted a "highlights" feature for her comment section?


I'm just waiting for someone to define her as a the new virgin mary.

Duncan said...

Perhaps if she'd been a bit better organized she wouldn't have shtupped the (married) African student, gotten knocked up, contracted a bigamous marriage, and then got dumped because of the greater attractions of Harvard.

Luke Lea said...

Why can't he get in touch with the Kansas side of his identity? Trade and immigration are hammering white working- and middle-class Americans, undermining a whole way of life. This is the class, exemplified by his grandmother, certainly not by his mother, to say nothing of his father, who bailed him out. Yet their interests only get lip service on his trips to Ohio. He listens to bankers when it comes to actual policy making.

dick said...

This is the grandmother he threw under the bus he is talking about here, right? Nice to resurrect her like that.