October 13, 2012

"Obama, weaving around life’s potential barriers smoothly and largely alone, came to regard himself as not only lucky..."

"... but destined, a sensibility that could lead to overconfidence, if not hubris," writes David Maraniss, analyzing the cause and extent of Obama's problem debating Romney. Maraniss — who wrote a book about Obama — sees Obama as a man of contradictions, who "chose politics as his profession while harboring ambivalence about it."
He has played by the conventional rules yet at times betrays a disdain for the game, whether mocking the notion of sound bites or chastising the media for being slaves to a 24-hour news cycle while he thinks in the long term. 
This is in contrast to Bill Clinton, who "could immerse himself in the moment and excel at transactional politics."
Obama is more the participant-observer, self-consciously taking note of the surreal aspects of what he is doing. Clinton’s antennae were tuned to his surroundings; Obama’s are tuned to his interior being. Clinton, a brilliantly authentic phony, could assume any role the circumstances required. Obama yearns to play roles he admires. In the first debate, he was the constitutional law professor, listening, giving ground, offering complex caveats, soberly taking notes. None of that helped him.
Maybe a lawprof is not what you want in a politician. And yet, Bill Clinton was a lawprof. So was Hillary Clinton. And there are different types of lawprofs. They don't all listen, give ground, and offer complex caveats! Here's an old blog post of mine about how different Bill and Hillary were as law professors, with these quotes from Carl Bernstein's book about Hillary):

Hillary's style was confident, aggressive, take-charge, and much more structured than Bill's. "All business," a colleague said. Her questions to students were tough and demanding. Bill almost never put his students on the spot; rather, he maintained an easy dialogue with them. His conversational approach often gave students the run of the class, and he let them filibuster.

"If you were unprepared, she would rip you pretty good, but not in an unfair way," recalled Woody Bassett, who became good friends of both, and worked in many Clinton political campaigns. "She made you think. She challenged you. If she asked you a question about a case and you gave an answer, well then — here comes another question. Whereas in Bill Clinton's classes, it was much more laid-back." In class Hillary never mentioned her work on the impeachment inquiry."...

Bill was far more open about discussing political issues with his students, whether Nixon's impeachment or Roe v. Wade, on which he spent several weeks. The subject of his constitutional law course more naturally lent itself to political questions than Hillary's.
She taught — would you guess? — criminal law, criminal procedure, and trial advocacy.
He was regarded as the easiest grader in the law school. Hillary's exams were tough, and her grading commensurate with what she expected law students to know. There was little doubt that she was the better teacher, possessed with "unusual ability to absorb a huge amount of facts and boil them down to the bottom line," Bassett thought. Clinton was more likely to go at a subject in a circular way, looking at it from every angle and sometimes never coming to a conclusion. But usually his was the more interesting class, because of the passion and knowledge with which he addressed legal questions related to everyday events.
Neither of them seemed to be the Maraniss's lawprof stereotype: "listening, giving ground, offering complex caveats, soberly taking notes."

80 comments:

Daniel Richwine said...

Elect an armature, get armature governance. Obama had never held the reigns of public power, never had a serious opponent run against him, never had to sway public opinion. Why psychoanalyze when the more simple answer is he's just not good at his job?

Nonapod said...

Maybe a lawprof is not what you want in a politician

Personally I think lawyers and people in the legal profession should be banned from electoral politics completely. There are too many conflicts of interest.

Bob Boyd said...

"Obama’s (antennae)are tuned to his interior being"

Another way to say it might be that he's had his head up his own ass so far, for so long, if he pulled it out now the fresh air would kill him.

MisterBuddwing said...


I've always half-joked that anyone who *wants* to be president should be automatically disqualified for that reason alone.

Shouting Thomas said...

The time for conjecture is just about over.

We'll see how Obama does the next two times, when the bothced raid and cover up should provide for some interesting questions.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The rein/reign distinction is having a rough day of it here at Althouse.

While we need a certain number of gadflies in politics, the Oval Office isn't the place for them. Obama might still get away with it if only he had enough humor to let him include himself among the things he's bemusedly observing.

Palladian said...

I'm tired of the endless stream of pseudo-psychoanalyses of this man, Barack Obama. At this point, who the fuck cares about how he thinks or what motivates him? He's been an abject failure and it's time to fire him and move on. The Presidency is not supposed to be some half-assed journey of self-actualization for ontologically empty men.

bagoh20 said...

"Maybe a lawprof is not what you want in a politician."

Maybe not, but for a chief executive dealing primarily with economics, defense, foreign relations, murderous dictators? Are you freaking crazy? I'd rather pick a name from the phone book.

wyo sis said...

All the analysis is fun and entertaining, but being a law professor and being president of the United States demand different skill sets.
Law professors and intellectual social engineers got us into the mess we're in. We need people with real world experience and knowledge of American history to navigate our way out of it.
Managed decline is a nice thought game, but restoring what made us a great nation should be more than that.

Paddy O said...

Obama would be a good President of the Galaxy.

Michael K said...

"Personally I think lawyers and people in the legal profession should be banned from electoral politics completely. There are too many conflicts of interest."

I would not be that extreme but it is discouraging to see a legislature made up of people who know nothing about the real world. Most of them, like Trent Lott, were staffers. Ryan is also an ex-staffer but has immersed himself in detail on the budget that is not available to outsiders. I like to see ex-military and CIA and FBI in office but I would be a lot happier to see more businessmen and people like Romney.

Corker and Frist are both from Tennessee which seems to elect real people. Both are example of my kind of Senators.

William said...

I don't think either of the Clintons or Obama invested much of their professional identity in their law school gigs. Well, give Hillary credit for being conscientious, but Bill knew the real purpose was networking. Obama can probably give a pretty good impression of an earnest scholar, but that's not who he is.

Howard said...

wyo sisLaw professors and intellectual social engineers got us into the mess we're in. We need people with real world experience and knowledge of American history to navigate our way out of it.
We tried that with Geo W Bush the "business" man and got two failed wars and the worse economic meltdown since Hoover the engineer was Pres.

I love the balls of "you people" who think Ozero is such a failure in cleaning up the train wreck made by W.

virgil xenophon said...

What Palladian & Michael K said..

Tim said...

"Why psychoanalyze when the more simple answer is he's just not good at his job?"

I'd amend that to: "...the more simple answer is that he was never qualified for his job, and the voters should have known that before electing him."

Regardless, the damage has been done.

I'm tempted to ask if Maraniss delves into the aspect of affirmative action handicapping our president with a false sense of accomplishment and ability, but never mind.

There is really only one question about this election: Are the voters who made a stupid mistake smart enough to learn from their mistake?

Polling data suggests, "yes, maybe they are;" a lifetime of observations says, "are you kidding? Haven't you learned they aren't?"

We'll see.

America's Politico said...

I am writing this blog from my WH- ww - office. I can see SC sitting in the office next door with her laptop on with the AIrForceOne.

The word is that the GOP has been deeply de-moralized. OUR outreach to the NYT, NPR, CNN, and all the left-wing bloggers from MSNBC paid off big time. From the second, the debate ended, we are declared the winners. This has a BIG IMPACT on the voters. So, the GOP has lost it, is losing it.

Tim said...

"I love the balls of "you people" who think Ozero is such a failure in cleaning up the train wreck made by W."

It's much more complex than that, and you know it.

Anyway, 1) Bumgarner, 2) Vogelsong, 3) Cain, 4) Lincecum?

America's Politico said...

What most people do not understand is that POTUS Obama is a SCHOLAR in every-thing. No matter the topic he is an expert. At Columbia, he was the STAR. At Harvard, he was the STAR's STAR. In South Side Chicago, he was the organizer's organizer. In Hawaii or in Indonesia, he was the ONE who was looked up by his peers and his teachers.

Once in a life-time does, one see a MASTER like Obama.

He grateful and thankful to the Lord, that he is our POTUS from now till January 2017.

virgil xenophon said...

Train-wreck made by W? I see we have another factually-challenged one amongst us today, sportsfans. Does the acronym CRA ring a bell, Howard? You know, that anti red-lining legislation the Democrats rammed down the throats of the Banks/Mortgagecompanies which started it all by destroying tested loan guidelines ? Ever hear the words "Freddie Mac"? The corrupt agency that took all the "liar loan" generated mortgages encouraged by the CRA, bundled them, sold them off and/or guaranteed them and infected the entire financial system with their toxic contents? You know, the corrupt and Donkey appointee run out-of-control Freddie Mac that the Barny Franks of this world insisted was in great shape and defeated GOP reform efforts to rein in Freddie's out-of-control practices?
Oh, THAT train-wreck, Howard?

LilyBart said...


I'm tired of all this personality-focused politics. Its not productive and quite frankly, its concerning to me.

We should work to elect politians who are competent managers of the public's interests, not people who are cool, interesting, attractive, or who make us 'feel good about ourselves'. This is not American Idol Politics. Its our lives, our money and our future. Let's start voting like grown-ups.

virgil xenophon said...

ALL HAIL mighty America's Politico--ABSOLUTELY UNPARALLELED in what he does! LOL.

Paddy O said...

"got two failed wars"

Is Iraq still considered a "failed war"?

Is it a "because we need it to be" failed war or is there some kind of objective failure (besides the "war is never the answer" sort of failure)?

SteveR said...

AP stop posting comments and get busy. Your guy is getting behinder and behinder and you're looking around the office.

AprilApple said...

I agree with Palladian. The endless media pseudo-psycho analysis of Obama is beyond tired. Who cares?
Wait, I feel an if only approaching ... If only Obama was allowed to be the great man inside his head, we could all bow down and worship him and feel the power of his divine love and enter the kingdom of utopia and free stuff. A land where anyone who doesn’t properly adore this great man, will be sufficiently taxed, vilified, and put out of business.

Turns out Obama is just another leftist ideologue. Guess what – leftism is a failed ideology. No amount of shouting “Liar!” at your opponent is going to change that.

Paddy O said...

Or maybe Howard's comment is really from 2010 and it has just been stuck in Blogger purgatory for a couple of years.

Because, otherwise, we could just keep blaming Hoover himself, as every President has had to deal with the effects of what happened back then, so no one is at fault.

Or maybe would should blame the State department.

Or, I know! No one told Obama or Biden that the economy was bad, so they can't be blamed for it.

Bush messed up the economy and Obama just only recently heard about it, so we should give him more time to adequately investigate fully the causes and given him time to respond forcefully to the crisis.

Aridog said...

America's Politico said...

I am writing this blog from my WH- ww - office. I can see SC sitting in the office next door with her laptop on ...

...her thighs, oh my, I am going to get the vapors!

Lem said...

I’m trying to connect Obama with the previous tread... but its not coming out right.

Maguro said...

Clean, articulate black man spouts well-worn liberal pieties, gets hailed as an uber-deep thinker who's really too good for politics. Film at 11.

Michael K said...

" Howard said...
wyo sisLaw professors and intellectual social engineers got us into the mess we're in. We need people with real world experience and knowledge of American history to navigate our way out of it.
We tried that with Geo W Bush the "business" man and got two failed wars and the worse economic meltdown since Hoover the engineer was Pres."

You selective memory is standard issue for leftists. I am always annoyed by people who have no useful suggestion about what Bush should have done after 9/11. Maybe you would prefer to have Saddam still in power and in control of Saudi Arabia, as would certainly happen if Bush I was as weak as Obama.

The financial crisis was created by a real estate bubble that would not have happened with out the Democrat leadership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Alan Greenspan, husband of leftist Andrea Mitchell, let the Fed keep interest rates far too low for far too long in an effort to create a bubble to take the place of Clinton's internet bubble. That one collapsed as Bush II took office and Greenspan was quoted as saying a real estate bubble would reflate int e economy.

I have video clips on my blog showing Bush officials trying to get Congress, in the hands of Democrats after 2006, to debate the real estate bubble by reining in Fannie Mae. One link is here.

I don't know if you are just ignorant or doing a Joe Biden which consists of a string of lies that can only be refuted by dredging up the facts later.

Here is a link to Rep Ryans efforts to stop the race to the cliff.

Or consider the experience of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the GOP’s bright young lights who decided in the 1990s that Fan and Fred needed more supervision. As he held town hall meetings in his district, he soon noticed a man in a well-tailored suit hanging out amid the John Deere caps and street clothes. Mr. Ryan was being stalked by a Fannie lobbyist monitoring his every word.

On another occasion, he was invited to a meeting with the Democratic mayor of Racine, which is in his district, though he wasn’t sure why. When he arrived, Mr. Ryan discovered that both he and the mayor had been invited separately — not by each other, but by a Fannie lobbyist who proceeded to tell them about the great things Fannie did for home ownership in Racine.

When none of that deterred Mr. Ryan, Fannie played rougher. It called every mortgage holder in his district, claiming (falsely) that Mr. Ryan wanted to raise the cost of their mortgage and asking if Fannie could tell the congressman to stop on their behalf. He received some 6,000 telegrams. When Mr. Ryan finally left Financial Services for a seat on Ways and Means, which doesn’t oversee Fannie, he received a personal note from Mr. Raines congratulating him. “He meant good riddance,” says Mr. Ryan.

That wasn’t enough.

about half of the implicit taxpayer subsidy for Fan and Fred is pocketed by shareholders and management. According to the Federal Reserve, the half that goes to homeowners adds up to a mere seven basis points on mortgages. In return for this, Fannie was able to pay no fewer than 21 of its executives more than $1 million in 2002, and in 2003 Mr. Raines pocketed more than $20 million. Fannie’s left-wing defenders are underwriters of crony capitalism, not affordable housing.

SteveR said...

When Carter was exposed as an incompetant, nobody cared what went wrong.

Paul Zrimsek said...

weaving around life’s potential barriers smoothly and largely alone

So Mr. You Didn't Build That turns out to be the archetypal "self-made man who worships his Creator" after all! Well.

bagoh20 said...

""I love the balls of "you people" who think Ozero is such a failure in cleaning up the train wreck made by W."

No, no, It's going great. He's doing just fine managing the worst recovery since World War II. The worse he does at it, the more it proves how bad Bush screwed it up. In fact, Bush screwed it up so bad that maybe we need someone with some experience, leadership, and understanding of economics to fix it. I mean if Bush made such a bad mess, why would we pick such a poorly qualified person to fix it.

The good news is that now we have a chance to fix that mistake and do the logical thing. So Howard, we welcome you to join us in fixing Bush's awful mess, by choosing someone with a proven ability to turn things around. The current guy has never succeeded at anything but autobiography, and I think we can agree that it's about time for him to get to work on #3...full time.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

First, "lawprof", in any reasonable meaning of that word, is not what Obama was.

Second, Obama's career is best described as a constant search for "big pay and/or power for minimal work".

I was going to say he has dangerously "delegated" away his presidency to others, so he can recreate and party with posse, but "abdicate" is a better word.

And impeach-ably so, imo.

But thankfully the reckoning is now only weeks away.

mesquito said...

Maraniss makes me wanna barf.

furious_a said...

"I love the balls of "you people" who think Ozero is such a failure in cleaning up the train wreck made by W."

He certainly made it worse.

Any, looking forward to when lame-duck Obama switches to blaming his replacement from blaming his predecessor.

From Inwood said...

Palladian

You win this thread!

Inwood

The Crack Emcee said...

Maraniss — who wrote a book about Obama — sees Obama as a man of contradictions, who "chose politics as his profession while harboring ambivalence about it."

Ann, this ability of yours - to restate my points without acknowledging them through a "Crack Was Right" tag - is getting annoying. Does this sound familiar?

Mind you, that's a problem of his own making - nobody forced him to create the public persona he uses for mixed audiences - but it's got to be limiting, when he wants to call "bullshit" on something, and he's stuck with the fear of public perception being rattled by a switch.

That, alone, is enough to make anyone ambivalent,...


How many times do I have to do that, and how more spot-the-fuck-on do I have to get, to get a little respect around here?

kcom said...

"Obama would be a good President of the Galaxy."

All he needs is an additional head.

JohnJ said...

“When Carter was exposed as an incompetent, nobody cared what went wrong.”

Excellent point, which I haven’t heard expressed before.

So, what is it about Obama that we spend so much time ruminating about what his failure means—not only about him, but also about ourselves?

virgil xenophon said...

@Crack/

OT, but re your Thomas Sowell for Pres bit, have you ever read his seminal 1979 work "Knowledge and Decisions?" It contains the seeds of practically every subject/book he subsequently wrote. If I could recommend but one of his works to someone unfamiliar with him that would be the one..

virgil xenophon said...

**meant "1970"

Lawler Walken said...

Shouldn't the word "professor" mean something? Obama was never a professor. He was a lecturer. And he's very good at that, when he's got a captive audience like all of us for the last 4 years. He likes to lecture.

But I'm with the previous commenter who is sick to death of the psycho-babble nonense about Barack Obama's inner being.

ricpic said...

Hey David, your boy Barry is shallow, capiche? There. Mystery of his underperformance solved.

Seeing Red said...

--“When Carter was exposed as an incompetent, nobody cared what went wrong.”---


The world has changed, 444 days of capitivity has a tendency to sink into consciousness.

Nora said...

"[Obama] chose politics as his profession while harboring ambivalence about it"

Except for reading speeches from teleprompter in front of admiring crowd.

Seeing Red said...

-- If only Obama was allowed to be the great man inside his head, we could all bow down and worship him and feel the power of his divine love and enter the kingdom of utopia and free stuff. ---


If Only the former rapist-in-chief were president on 9/11 - we know he could be the man we "know" he is!

Seeing Red said...

Oh, no, they watched the last hour of the Benghazi attack in the Situation Room by DRONE?

Eric said...

Bah. Bill Clinton was a lawprof so he had access to young coeds. And Hillary was a lawprof so she had access to young coeds.

edutcher said...

Hmmm,


"Obama, weaving around life’s potential barriers smoothly and largely alone, came to regard himself as not only lucky... but destined, a sensibility that could lead to overconfidence, if not hubris"

Sounds a bit like (Godwin Alert).

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe a lawprof is not what you want in a politician. And yet, Bill Clinton was a lawprof. So was Hillary Clinton.

Not exactly a recommendation.

Unless you're looking for someone to teach you how to (almost) successfully evade the law.

Howard said...

I love the balls of "you people" who think Ozero is such a failure in cleaning up the train wreck made by W.

Considering that Zero has not only made it infinitely worse ("Know what the unemployment in Scranton is, Joe?"), but was instrumental in frustrating Dubya's efforts to stop it, thus making sure it happened, failure is the mildest word that can be applied to him.

Likewise, train wreck.

John said...

"Personally I think lawyers and people in the legal profession should be banned..."

Enough said.

chuck said...

In the first debate, he was the constitutional law professor, listening, giving ground, offering complex caveats, soberly taking notes.

Oh, sure. He just sounded confused and clueless to me. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to appreciate such a display of brilliance.

Emil Blatz said...

Palladian gets props for a post that says it all.

My only observation is that despite his unfitness for office, I'm guessing that BHO is an infinitely better human than WJC. In that 2nd excerpt from Maraniss - that ability to focus in Clinton is another facet of the narcissism that allows him to rape and abuse.

Cedarford said...

I am surprised that Althouse, who is in academia and earned her tenure and true title of Professor keeps crediting Boyfriend!!! - as a fellow law professor.

We all know, not the least Althouse, that he was a law lecturer. That never wrote a paper, let alone a book about law.

And according to other U of Chicago law faculty - avoided intellectual discussions by faculty like the plague. While relishing his discussions with his supplicant students.

And as for the Hillary hagiography, the only reason she was teaching law was Bill, connected as shit and a highly recruited "Star!" - sweet talked and wheedled a trailing spouse deal/
He was the brilliant guy that didn't have to study. He got it in 1st time in class, 1st read. Hillary had to work like a dog to get grades to put her in magna cum laude range. By the time he left law school he was seen as a super talent within the Democrat Party from contact with him in Proxmires office, Senate meetings, and working the McGovern campaign.
Hillary was a decent student but who failed her DC bar exam. She didn't get her Arkansas Bar exam passed or get a law license until AFTER Bill finagled his deal to get her hired as a law school prof - such was Bill Clintons set of big brass balls and early clout.


Sorun said...

Obama lacks leadership ability. That's his (and our) real problem.

Brad said...

@ Howard ...

Wonderful how, somehow, Obama is never responsible for anything.

Authorization of use of force in Afghanistan & Iraq (both resolutions) was hardly controversial at the time.

I agree the Bush Administration made errors in both cases and W owns those mistakes. His biggest error, IMO, was not recognizing that the Democrats would turn on the effort as quickly as they did. The strategy needed to be "get in, win with overwhelming force & transition out."

W owns his share of the real estate bust too. The warning signs were there - his Administration either ignored them or chose not to act (prob. because they didn't feel like being called racists).

The spending was a failure of leadership too.

As for Obama & Biden ....

They were both sitting United States Senators when they were elected, so - sorry, the "We didn't know it was this bad" excuse doesn't wash.

Obama delegated the "stimulus" bill to Congress - we got Lard-Ass stimulus, payoffs for every Democrat special interest in the world and darn little actual economic impact. He owns that choice.

Obama put "Obamacare" front & center and ignored the economy. He owns that choice.

Obama has refused to submit realistic budgets. He owns that.

Obama has been feckless in foreign policy. He's made a point of insulting our allies & sucking up to our enemies. He owns that.

Obama manipulated the bankruptcy process to enrich his union allies at GM and stiff legitimate creditors - many of whom were the retirement plans of "regular folks" (union workers, "middle class" people, etc.).

Obama's been playing the class warfare song gor the past couple of years, turning the volume up in the past year. What we're seeing is employers, who are well aware they have targets on their back, refusing to step up another rung on the ladder because they know Obama will cut it out from under them. Why would ANY employer go past a regulatory threshold with this group of vultures circling?

Obama's a disaster.

Cedarford said...

Emil Blatz - My only observation is that despite his unfitness for office, I'm guessing that BHO is an infinitely better human than WJC.

I don't think so.
Judge a man by his friends.
Obama doesn't have many friends - mainly adorers.
Bill Clinton has friends ranging from boyhood chums to Vernob Jordan to HW Bush to celebs to old Arkie one step up from trailer trash to being a fellow good old boy to various good old boys there.

Celebs in particular seem to be in love with the IDEA of Obama (whatever that idea is on some tabula rasa). But the Celebs LIKED Clinton as a person and like him still.

Bill Clinton is the guy that would have a half hour conversation with a worker in a donut shop because Bill enjoyed talking to people of all types.
Romney - though no "regular guy" - is known to have long chats with car buffs, regular people in his church. Same with his wife.
Obama? His contact with people is according to their station in life - with the people worth talking to or befriending the people that can help Barack get ahead somehow.

RPG said...

The biggest problem with having so many lawyers in politics is that they often see the solution to any problem in the passing of a new law, and almost never in considering that the government should not be passing a law to solve the problem, but advising the constituency as such.

Of course, you have less power and influence by doing things that way, and realistically, I doubt many lawyers could conceive of any other course of action.

What percentage of the US Congress holds a law degree?

greenlantern said...

@American Politico:
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate good sarcasm and, dude, that's some funny stuff!

Oh...btw...if that wasn't meant as a joke... I'd start working on a big ass collection of Xanax to use on about November 6, 2012. Enough to get you through the next 8 years, at least.

AndyN said...

I stopped paying attention to the item you quoted at "largely alone..." Raised by a bank vice president, private high school, almost beyond a doubt admitted to Columbia and Harvard Law though affirmative action. You want to psychoanalyze the disaster he's made of his presidency? This is what happens when someone is handed opportunities on a platter that he has neither the intellect nor the character to properly implement.

Joe Schmoe said...

The Presidency is not supposed to be some half-assed journey of self-actualization for ontologically empty men.

Nor is voting for said President.

Popville said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_occupation

Balfegor said...

Re: Howard:

I love the balls of "you people" who think Ozero is such a failure in cleaning up the train wreck made by W.

He didn't clean it up; he doubled down on the worst, most destructive parts of Bush II's domestic policy. Bush II gives us Sarbanes-Oxley? Well, Obama will raise you Dodd-Frank. Bush II puts us on course for an unprecedented trillion dollar deficit in 2008-2009? Obama will make sure we hit over a trillion in 2009, and match that every single year of his term.

Balfegor said...

Re: popville --

Looking at that list, not only have we had a lot of lawyer presidents, but they seem to make up a disproportionate share of the trivia question presidential nonentities.

PatCA said...

I have a feeling the foreign policy debate is going to be brutal--on Obama. I can't think of a way for him to weasel out of this fiasco.

I wonder how a man so hyper aware of himself and his aura will handle it.

campy said...

Obama never wove his way around any barriers. Other people ran ahead of him and removed the barriers before he even saw them.

Bruce Hayden said...

about half of the implicit taxpayer subsidy for Fan and Fred is pocketed by shareholders and management. According to the Federal Reserve, the half that goes to homeowners adds up to a mere seven basis points on mortgages. In return for this, Fannie was able to pay no fewer than 21 of its executives more than $1 million in 2002, and in 2003 Mr. Raines pocketed more than $20 million. Fannie’s left-wing defenders are underwriters of crony capitalism, not affordable housing.

I think that one of the more egregious directors there was the infamous Jamie Goerlich, the creator of the "wall" that seriously impeded the FBI and CIA collaborating to figure out the 9/11/01 conspiracy. Probably the one government official most responsible for our government not detecting the planned attack, and she gets a sinecure at Fannie Mae as her reward.

That is the thing to keep in mind about Fannie Mae - that it was being used as a sinecure for Dem politicians and operatives, which maybe why its lending practices got so egregious in the latter years of the Bush (43) Administration.

MayBee said...

Isn't it interesting the two Davids, Maraniss and Remninck, both wrote books about Obama and both see his performance quite diferently.

PatCA said...

That's a chilling blog post, Michael K.

That nest of vipers will not disappear November 7. I just hope Romney has the guts to resist.

Phil said...

The only people wasting energy analyzing Obama's failure at this point are the twits who voted for him in the first place. They need to explain their utter lack of judgement , in order to protect their own egos.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Largely alone? I guess that thump was Grandpa and Grandma under the back wheels.

Michael K said...

Brad wrote:

"I agree the Bush Administration made errors in both cases and W owns those mistakes. His biggest error, IMO, was not recognizing that the Democrats would turn on the effort as quickly as they did. The strategy needed to be "get in, win with overwhelming force & transition out."

The nation building was a mistake. Bremer was a disaster. Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks wanted to smack Saddam down and get out. They wanted to turn the country over to the exiles. Maybe that would have created the Sunni revolt but maybe not.

"W owns his share of the real estate bust too. The warning signs were there - his Administration either ignored them or chose not to act (prob. because they didn't feel like being called racists). "

There are numerous examples of Bush officials trying to rein in Fannie and Freddie but, after 2007, it was hopeless. Fannie is a Democrat retirement plan. Greenspan fed the bubble with low interest rates. The Republicans had Denny Hastert as Speaker. Hastert is part of the Illinois "Combine" a corrupt bunch that is really bipartisan, including Ray LaHood.

The spending was a failure of leadership too."

yashu said...

Neither of them seemed to be the Maraniss's lawprof stereotype: "listening, giving ground, offering complex caveats, soberly taking notes."

Good point. That description doesn't sound like a lawprof to me, but more like the eternal grad student, who knows how to bullshit ("offer complex caveats") in seminar class. (And what "complex caveats" did Obama offer? I didn't hear complexity in his answers, just scattershot rambling. The grad student's prima facie eloquent bullshit just failed him this time.)

As is so often the case with Obamagraphers, Maraniss invents a stereotype (a "lawprof" stereotype) to fit Obama, in order to validate some quality predetermined to belong to him. The quality is known first-- the rough outlines of the portrait are set. Then all sorts of different details about Obama are found (and spun) to attest to that quality, fill in that portrait/ narrative. But any of those additional details, often contradictory details, are used to color only within the pre-set lines. NB Many of those pre-set lines are established by Obama himself, the way Obama describes and rhetorically presents himself-- and these are taken at face value.

So Obama is brilliant, professorial, a bipartisan pragmatic thinker, too noble for Washington D.C. (especially having to deal with those awful Republicans), he has a soul above and beyond the dirty world of politics, too "authentic" or "introspective" for it (translation: a better man than other politicians), uncomfortable using demagogy, more at ease with complex substance than facile rhetorical soundbites, etc.

Such bullshit. But as he himself smugly acknowledged once, people see in him whatever they want to see.

(That's why Obama facets such as those revealed in the Hampton speech-- much more difficult to reconcile with the hagiographic portrait-- are kept hidden away.)

In any case, I'm with Palladian. So bored with Obama psychoanalysis. You're fired; next.

yashu said...

One of Obama's characteristics as a man and a POTUS that grates on me the most is manifest in this new ad.

Every president inherits challenges. Few have faced so many. Four years later, our enemies have been brought to justice. Our heroes are coming home. Assembly lines are humming again. There are still challenges to meet, children to educate, a middle class to rebuild — but the last thing we should do is turn back now.

Aaaaargh. "Few have faced so many."

Gag me with a spoon.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Let me state first that I really disliked Bush; what follows is not the usual, partisan, riding to the rescue of my guy sort of thing. I think he did a lot of damage.

That said, blaming the housing bubble and financial meltdown on. Bush is outrageous; there are ways the current ticket could answer that, but they don't.

Inflating the housing bubble was a bipartisan project going back 40 years or more. It was carried out to a great degree by gov't policy. It was, to some degree, a product of interventionist regulation.

And the Vice President's line the other night, that the recession was caused by huge deficits, is snort-worthy.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, this ability of yours - to restate my points without acknowledging them through a "Crack Was Right" tag - is getting annoying. Does this sound familiar?"

It sounds delusional.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Yashu --

I agree. I remember Reagan's speech, accepting the nomination, in 1980. He said that we faced three crises, any one of which would be a serious problem, but we had three: the economy, the energy crisis, and the decline of American poorer abroad. That was a cogent and, I think, accurate, assessment.

He dealt with all three very successfully.

Mr Obama likes to see himself as the anti-Reagan.

I remember Ronald Reagan, Mr President...

yashu said...

I remember Ronald Reagan, Mr President...

Yep. It's one thing for a POTUS to lay out the challenges the country faced or faces now. It's quite another to explicitly ask the country to feel sorry for you as POTUS (a job you asked for, buddy)-- and the presumption, the hubris, the gall, the delusion of Obama to say that few Presidents have faced so many challenges as him.

Even if it was true (it obviously isn't), it's an unseemly thing for a POTUS to say.

campy said...

a "Crack Was Right" tag

Yikes. This troll is gearing up to challenge Obama for the "World's Biggest Narcissist" title.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

It sounds delusional.

Oh yeah, like you or anyone else here spoke of Obama's obvious ambivalence. You wouldn't know how - how to see it, speak on it, or even know it exists - in your own "delusional" world of beauty and love.

If there's one thing I've learned from recent events here, it's that diversity CAN matter, because many (if not most) of you are absolutely clueless without a black person to school you on some things. You're so obsessed with race, but don't have the language, or the perceptive abilities, to speak with any authority on the subject, which is why so many of you rely on racist taunts, belittling swipes at affirmative action or welfare, or violence, like that's all black people are. Your minds are cartoons.

campy,

Yikes. This troll is gearing up to challenge Obama for the "World's Biggest Narcissist" title.

You're goddamned right. And you know what?

We've EARNED IT.

How about you, campy? How's it feel to always, always, always, position yourself as a demoralizing force in the world? "Oh, look at Crack - he thinks he's somebody! I'll do him a number" right?

That's all you've got. What are your accomplishments? What do you know? Even Ann has rested on the affirmative action tactics of feminism to get where she is - I didn't - so what does that say?

Get used to the idea that some people ARE better than you - Einstein was smarter, Harriet Tubman was smarter, Edison was smarter, Ben Franklin was smarter - and, if you had been around, you would've been trying to tear them all down.

Most of you are small, and have nothing better in your life than to attempt tearing down anyone who's right. Well I'm right - I'm usually right - and a big part of that is never joining you in your hatred of those who will never be like you.

This country used to produce great men, now it produces anonymous lowlifes online, who snipe at anyone exuding confidence.

Call me whatever you'd like:

I'd still hate to be you,...

pm317 said...

I am with Palladian. Can't wait for this BS to end. Complex caveats, sobering notes, what planet do these fuckers live in?