The dreaded, forbidden words are on everyone’s lips but nobody in the media, not even Rush Limbaugh, dare utter them yet. And no, I am not concerned here with alcoholism and I am not initializing crude language. The President reminds me of the university professor with three last names who got tenure although all he can do is read the textbook in class (but in a good voice). He reminds me also of the friendly gentleman of color at the Post Office who can only spell some of the time, and of the 120-pound female firefighter who could not carry me down the ladder if my life depended on it. (It just might.)
Why else would the President’s undergraduate grades still be under lock and key? Who cares what grades anyone got when he was twenty? Full disclosure: I earned a D on the midterm the first time I tried Calculus. A smart adviser then steered me to another instructor, one who wanted to be loved. All ended well. I am not ashamed!
I used to think, to assume rather, and I said it on this blog that at least, he had passed the bar exam. There is no argument that this is difficult. I have known several smart people who failed once, or even twice. However, it seems I was precipitous. None of the Barack Obama entries in Wikipedia mention the bar, a strange omission because the entries list every little thing he did. If he had won a dart throwing contest, it would be there. A cursory web search also shows nothing on the subject. I may have missed something. I would be happy to post a correction on this blog, prominently and immediately.
Just in case I turn out to be right, follow my scenario:
The President was 21 in 1981 when he transferred from Occidental College in Los Angeles to Columbia. That was a time when universities were feverishly competing for students and faculty of the right race and sex who would not embarrass them. Handsome, well-spoken, and reasonably intelligent, young Barack must have been considered a prize. It’s also a public fact that big-time law schools actively lowered their standards of admission for purposes of affirmative action. It became public because of the lawsuits this practice triggered.
I remember those days well. I was a college professor then. There was a time when my Department was about to recruit a new assistant professor. As is the custom in academia, the word came down from on-high: You can offer X to Y as salary. And, by the way, you can go up to Y+Z if the candidate is woman or a member of a minority.
What if we find a minority woman? The answer was: You get back to the Vice-President then. The response implied: This would be such a find, the sky would be the limit.
Earlier, when I was finishing graduate school at Stanford, I inquired innocently about so and so, a member of a federally protected minority. I was curious about why he was slated to receive his doctorate at the same time as I, given that he had entered the program one year after me and received nothing but bad grades in every class we had taken together. My professor’s, laconic response: The less said, the better.
Note: The two universities mentioned are private. I have no strong objections to affirmative action in private schools because I believe that private property is private. The owners can do whatever they want with their property, including give it away. The first university mentioned has an affirmative action program oriented to local Latinos. I think it produced commendable results overall.
The President was editor, then president of his school’s law review journal. That’s an elective position in which political correctness is and was sure to intervene. He did not publish a single article during his tenure. That’s admirable because it’s usually difficult to hold student editors back from publishing everything they write.
The fact that President Obama worked for a law firm and was hired by a law school does not answer the bar exam question. Law firms employ law school graduates who have not passed the bar exam. Even the fact that he was hired by the University of Chicago law school does not dispose of this matter. See above. I know for a fact that universities hire adjunct personnel with few qualifications, with unknown qualifications and sometimes, with no qualifications. Anyway, not having passed the bar would not necessarily disqualify one from teaching law.
Here is my point: Plenty of intelligent people fail or are afraid to take the bar exam. However, this exam is the only fixed point allowing anyone to argue that Barack Obama was not the object of grossly preferential treatment throughout his life. Without success at the bar exam, how do we know that the President ever accomplished anything in his life outside of being elected to office?
This scenario would explain why the President voted , “Present” so many times when he served in the Illinois legislature. It’s the right thing to do if you don’t know the issues or if you don’t understand them. It does not prevent you from being a compelling campaigner. Campaigning and governing require different skills.
Now, I am too timid to be he first to utter the forbidden words but I will give you some hints: Wonderfully limpid economist Thomas Sowell, luminous columnist William Raspberry, actor and social philosopher Bill Cosby, comedian Chris Rock, and my thinking master, Carlos Mencia are not A.A. wonders. And, incidentally, my favorite journalists are almost all women who are not either. I won’t even mention my favorite television personality, Megyn Kelly, because there is lust involved (not so much on her part). She is not a product of A.A either.
One might ask how the radical team pushing Barack Obama politically thought they could get away with this. The answer is blindingly clear: Leftist leaders are all elitists, without exception. They think their adversaries are kind of stupid. That’s also why they mostly lose, in the end. The collective wisdom of this country’s electorate is often slow to manifest itself but when it does, it’s impressive. I give credit to our political institutions. Skepticism of people in government is built into our political culture.
One of my friends, also an immigrant, put it best. One day that I was lamenting the turn of events in the Obama administration, my friend said: Obama will never get away with what he is trying to do; American DNA is too strong.
Update 10/10/09: President Obama receives the Nobel Prize. What did I tell you? See above. There is a small side to this story I don’t quite grasp but I can smell it because I know things about Europeans. Of course the Norwegian Nobel Committee is long past the fear of ridicule. Obama follows in the footsteps of the terrorist Arafat, the anti-Semite Jimmy Carter and the fool Al Gore. (Gore got only half of the prize. The winner of the other half denounced him as a charlatan within one week.)
The missing part is this: The Norwegian Nobel Committee is composed of old Norwegian men whose photograph is difficult to take because, together, they look like a chicken breast sandwich: white meat on white bread with mayo. I suspect they feel awfully white all the time. They gave Obama the prize in part because he is so refreshingly a Negro!
I wonder what noble Nelson Mandela is thinking today to be in such vapid company.
IF YOU LIKE THIS POST, OR IF IT ENRAGES YOU, THINK OF LINKING IT TO YOUR FACEBOOK. THANK YOU.
CORRECTION: I WROTE PREVIOUSLY THAT I DOUBTED PRESIDENT OBAMA HAD EVER PASSED THE BAR EXAM ANYWHERE ANY TIME. A FRIEND OF MINE, A GOOD LAWYER I HAVE KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME AND WHOSE UTTERANCES I TRUST SAID OTHERWISE. MY ATTORNEY FRIEND TOLD ME THAT THE FACT THAT BARACK OBAMA HAD BEEN ADMITTED TO PRACTICE BEFORE THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT PROVED THAT HE HAD PASSED THE BAR. THAT HE WAS SO ADMITTED CAN BE FOUND ON THE SITE OF THE ILLINOIS BAR ASSOCIATION. I ACCEPT MY FRIEND’S JUDGMENT IN THIS RESPECT. I AM STILL PUZZLED ABOUT WHY THE REAL ACHIEVEMENT OF PASSING THE BAR EXAM – WHICH CAN PRESUMABLY NOT BE EASED BY AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CONSIDERATIONS – IS NOT MENTIONED ON THE PRESIDENT’S WIKIPEDIA ENTRY. MR OBAMA ‘S LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS IS SHORT AND THIN; THE BAR EXAM SHOULD BE THERE TO THICKEN IT. PERHAPS ONE OF THE PRESIDENT’S SUPPORTERS WILL DO THE JOB. I AM WATCHING.
EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE ABOVE COLUMN REMAINS THE SAME.