November 2, 2008

What Obama's grandma thought of his Throw Grandma Under the Bus speech

Fr0m the Associated Press:

But it was another incident, one to which he was a party, that had a most profound effect on the biracial teenager.

Toot had asked her husband for a ride to work because a particularly aggressive panhandler had accosted her for money the day before. When Stanley refused, his grandson couldn’t understand why.

“She’s been bothered by men before,” his grandfather explained, according to the memoir. “Before you came in, she told me the fella was black. That’s the real reason why she’s bothered.”

Obama described the words as “like a fist in my stomach.” It was a life-changing moment for him.

“Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would,” he writes. “And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers could still inspire their rawest fears.”

Obama referred to the incident again this spring when racially charged comments by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, forced him to make what many now consider a seminal speech on race relations in America.

“I can no more disown him,” he told an audience in Philadelphia in March, “than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

Charles Payne [retired assistant director of the U. of Chicago library] says his sister’s response to the reference was “like, ’Oh, well.”’ But his reaction was that Obama shouldn’t have shared that anecdote.

“She was really a very liberal person; liberal in politics and, I think, liberal in thinking,” says the brother, who has worked hard on his great-nephew’s campaign. “Frankly ... that story, when it was in the book, I felt didn’t need to be in there.”

It's bad enough that Obama wrote that in 1995. It's grotesque that Sen. Obama dragged up that absurd story about his dying grandmother in 2008 in order to justify his comparison of Rev. Wright to her.

A little background on Obama's maternal grandmother Madelyn's family.

Madelyn Payne came from a respectable, relatively well-off family with some brainpower. Her sister Margaret is a now-retired professor of statistics living in Chapel Hill, N.C. Her brother Charley was an engineer for awhile, then attended graduate school at the U. of Chicago, where he ended up working for the rest of his career, becoming the assistant director of the massive UC library, and played a role in introducing computer technology to libraries.

Obama claims that the Paynes ordered the University of Chicago's intellectually heavyweight Great Books series through the mail, perhaps the seed of the long U. of Chicago connection in the family, although that series didn't debut until 1952, a decade after his grandmother had given birth to his mother.

Uncle Charlie's U. of Chicago connection might have helped Madelyn's daughter Ann get accepted at age 15 by the U. of Chicago, which used to take smart 15-year-olds frequently, such as geneticist James D. Watson, political philosopher Allan Bloom, composer Philip Glass, and one of the Leopold & Loeb guys. (Ann eventually got her BA at the U. of Hawaii in math, then a Ph.D. in anthropology.)

Madelyn's big mistake in life was falling in love with an unsuitable salesman from a dubious background named Stan Dunham, much to her parents' regret. Madelyn paid for her rebellion with a lifetime of hard work. She didn't particularly want to be a feminist role model (her ambitions were more to be a genteel housewife with time for volunteer work and bridge), but her erratic husband didn't leave her much choice except to be one of the first women to climb the career ladder to executive rank in Honolulu's banking industry.

So, the Paynes were a family with a fair amount of analytical ability.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

"This U. of Chicago connection might have helped Madelyn's daughter Ann get accepted at age 15 by the U. of Chicago, which used to take smart 15-year-olds frequently, such as geneticist James D. Watson, composer Philip Glass, and one of the Leopold & Loeb guys"

You left out Richard Rorty who went to Chicago at 15.

Anonymous said...

You left out Susan Sontag.

Anonymous said...

Allan Bloom too...

Scott said...

An interesting thing about Watson is that he claims that his IQ is only 125 (as written in Avoid Boring People), which is of course smart but relatively low for a scientist, especially an imminent one like himself. Crick, ONTH, was the one who did most of the number crunching, etc.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Madelyn's big mistake in life was falling in love with an unsuitable salesman from a dubious background named Stan Dunham, much to her parents' regret. Madelyn paid for her rebellion with a lifetime of hard work.

And yet that marriage resulted in one somewhat erratic girl child with a bad case of jungle fever who produced a son that will soon be president-elect, then president - a son that turned his most responsible caregiver into the antagonist of a racial morality tale, for all the world to see, in a speech as signifcant and brilliant as the Gettysburg Address and the St. Crispin's Day speech all rolled into one (but I do kid on the latter).

So, marry the oafish, erratic salesman, produce a president. Not bad, all things considered. Did her stats prof sister accomplish that much?

Funny how life works out. We, for example, have little to no idea how an Obama Administration will really turn out. Will he go hard left and drag the country down with his ideology, because imposing that ideology is the only point in holding power; or will he in attaining power see all his ambitions fulfilled, and try to do a half-responsible job of it?

Or maybe neither. Perhaps Tuesday turns into a Dewey-beats-Truman sort of day, and Obama not get elected at all?

The world is an interesting place, yet one with a story that has gone on for a very long time now, and we are just the bit players. I am through being anxious about its twists and turns. We in the West are busily destroying the very foundations of our prosperity, and there is nothing we here can do to affect that except scatter our (hopefully well taught) seed to the wind and let them play their part in its denouement.

Anonymous said...

"An interesting thing about Watson is that he claims that his IQ is only 125..."

I think Steve mentioned in the past that Watson was unusually non-nerdy and social for a great scientist. That he didn't fit the stereotype or something like that. Perhaps that would explain it.

clem said...

An interesting thing about Watson is that he claims that his IQ is only 125 (as written in Avoid Boring People), which is of course smart but relatively low for a scientist...

True, but Richard Feynman's IQ was only 123. Didn't stop him from crunching a few numbers, equations and diagrams himself. Eminently.

mnuez said...

This guy's got one hell of an interesting family.


On related topics...

Over at VFR the gang has been engaged in one of the most humorous, torturous, long-winded and ridiculous of navel-gazing acrobatics imaginable. I mention it here because I view the majority of the readership here as being of somewhat similar moral preferences to the VFR bunch but are, apparently, a slightly less twitchy crowd.


As for the upcoming Coronation, allow me a word here in the Conservasphere to remind y'all that a whole hell of a lot of us Obama supporters are aware of his negatives and of his unknowns and of the general media's complicity in whitewashing them all, yadda yadda yadda, yet we still support the Democratic Obama over the Republican McCain. As obsessed as so many of you are with Obama's glazed-eyed supporters, you might be apt to forget that the vast majority of Americans who will be casting their vote for him are not those wacky ones.

A hundred million rational Americans will be voting for Obama on Tuesday fully aware that he's no "lightworker" but believing that he's likely to accomplish better things in the Oval Office for the average American citizen than would his Republican opponent.

I'm one of those Americans.

Obama is no godsend (at least I see no reason to believe that he is) and I'm geared and ready to oppose him on open-borders, racial blindness, anti-Israeli foreign policy, political correctness and a host of other issues where our policy preferences differ. Nonetheless, I believe that at this time, given this choice, Obama is clearly preferential to McCain for the sake of the betterment of our Republic and her citizens.

I support his candidacy, I'm asking YOU to please reconsider his candidacy (or consider it for the first time if you have never done so in the past) and I wish him godspeed and wise-counsel as our elected Chief Executive.

mnuez

J said...

About Feinman: He was faking it to avoid military service.

Ben Franklin said...

I saw video of Obama today, praising, as one of the wisest men he knows, Trinity Pastor Otis Moss. The very same Pastor of the very same church that Obama supposedly resigned from back in May 2008. Rev. Otis Moss had joined Obama out on the campaign trail (not sure which stop).

I’d hazard a guess that the Media won’t bother to mention this development.

Joseph Moroco said...

J, 123 does not disqualify from military service. A 150 IQ might as the service would see you as more valuable doing something better with their time..

Anonymous said...

Grampa Dunham comes across as a real a-hole. Willing to expose his wife to physical danger as punishment for being afraid of an aggressive panhandler. And then telling little Barry that his granny is a racist. Golly.

Garrett said...

Actually, there's a new book about Leopold and Loeb, "For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago," by Simon Baatz, that debunks the idea that Leopold had a 200+ iq and spoke five languages. He claims there's no factual basis for it, or even that Leopold had an "exceptional" iq, but that it's beeen repeated for so long it's simply accepted as fact.

Mr. Anon said...

"clem said...

True, but Richard Feynman's IQ was only 123. Didn't stop him from crunching a few numbers, equations and diagrams himself. Eminently."

If Feynman's IQ was only 123, then there is something lacking either in the concept of "IQ" or in the concept of "123". Feynman was a genius's genius, one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century, and probably the most significant American physicist ever.

Mr. Anon said...

"“Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would,” he writes. “And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers could still inspire their rawest fears.”"

And yet, these men of whom he writes are NOT his brothers; his grandmother however is an actual relative. Obama seems to feel greater kinship to anyone who's black, than to someone to whom he's actually related.

Then again, given the frequency with which down-and-out aunts, uncles, and cousins of his are popping up around the world, maybe there was a point to what he wrote.

Truth said...

"I saw video of Obama today, praising, as one of the wisest men he knows, Trinity Pastor Otis Moss."

Yeah Ben, and I remember Bud Collins covering the US Open some 20 years ago and repeatedly praising Boris Becker. Now, Becker, as you may well know, is from the same country as Adolph Hitler which should make him totally unsatisfactory for any praise whatsoever!

Moss is actually the pastor who transfered from Atlanta to take over Trinity Church once Wright retired. Unless you have a tape of him saying something 'racist' (which not even Wright did in all reality) why shouldn't Obama praise him?

melendwyr said...

"If Feynman's IQ was only 123, then there is something lacking either in the concept of 'IQ' or in the concept of '123'."

Or, in the understanding of people who talk about IQ but don't grasp its technical significance.

IQ is not an adequate measure of any and all aspects of mental performance. It measures only a subset of abstract data processing functions that have been removed from context. It's not a good measure of 'smarts'.

What made Feynman a great physicist was his ability to visualize and understand complex systems intuitively. IQ tests do not deal with complex ideas or the ability to pick out important data from complexity.

RKU said...

Well, I'm hardly a fanatic "IQist", but I find it extraordinarily unlikely that Feynman actually had a measured IQ of just 123.

Not only was he (probably) the greatest theoretical physicist of the second half of the 20th Century, but even while in high school and college his work in mathematics and physics was completely astonishing. Over the years, he also demonstrated a great deal of skill in a wide variety of non-quantitative fields.

I'd really have to know a bit more about the source and validity of that claim before I remotely accept it. Offhand, I'd say it's probably off by about 100 points or so...

David said...

melendwyr wrote

IQ tests do not deal with [...] the ability to pick out important data from complexity.

Not entirely true.

Ben Franklin said...

Well Truth, Obama resigned from Trinity Church because the wise man Otis Moss had that radical Irish Priest get up and attack Hillary Clinton. I believe that was the same “sermon” in which that Irish Priest said that whitey was supposed to give up the corporate jobs and the 401(k) funds.

Now if Obama’s resignation from Trinity wasn’t sincere but was done as a political calculation, then maybe Truth has a point, but not likely the point he was trying to make.

And of course Otis Moss was the “assistant Pastor” to Jerry Wright during the time in which at least some of Wright’s greatest hits were being delivered. Recall also that Obama broke off (publicly at least) his relationship from Jerry Wright ostensibly over Wright’s performance at the National Press Club and at the NAACP (the later being the “different not deficient” speech). Otis Moss was certainly at Trinity during those public performances by Jerry Wright.

Finally, I suppose if one doesn’t consider the black liberation theology (derived from e.g., James Cone) that Jerry Wright espouses “racist” then maybe Wright can’t be viewed as advocating a racialist position. But I really don’t see how that is an honest evaluation of Wright’s stated beliefs.

Anonymous said...

"Obama is no godsend (at least I see no reason to believe that he is) and I'm geared and ready to oppose him on open-borders, racial blindness, anti-Israeli foreign policy, political correctness and a host of other issues where our policy preferences differ."

If Obama wins and brings in close to 60 Senators on his coattails (a handful of liberal GOP Senators can make up the difference), you won't have any power to oppose him. That's what you 'clear-eyed' Obamatons don't seem to get. Obama will have the opportunity to pass legislation that will never get repealed.

- Fred

tomv said...

I refuse to believe that Feynman had an IQ of 123. Take for example the impromptu mental calculations that he recounted in Surely You're Joking, among many other things. That sounds highly g-loaded. There's no reason anyone who can do that should have any trouble recognizing a pattern of squares and circles in an IQ test.

On a more practical level, what does 123 translate into on the SAT? I'm pretty sure you need a higher score to get into MIT, which Feynman did.

I hope Steve comes up with a good explanation for this (most likely the test was flawed), or I will lose much faith in the relevance of IQ beyond, say, one standard deviation (which may not be a bad thing, actually).

beowulf said...

"About Feinman: He was faking it to avoid military service."

Feynman's book Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman is one of the great memoirs of all time (online link below). His IQ had nothing to do with his draft status. The military makes use of the very dumb and the very smart alike. The Army shrinks ruled him "mentally deficient" so he was exempted from service. Feynman plays it off like he pulled one over on the shrinks. But I think it was an act of compassion to allow him a bye from involuntary servitude.

The psychiatrists knew 1. He had worked on the Manhattan Project and 2. He was still grieving the death of his wife. They had a get out of jail free card (declare an inductee "mentally deficient") and they thought Feynman deserved it. Scroll down to the end of Part 3 "Uncle Sam Doesn't Want You". http://www.gorgorat.com/

Black Sea said...

Hitler was Austrian.

Bill said...

Steve, your book led me to the real source of Obama's racial angst. Your Red-Sox/Yankees analogy was useful, as was the chapter on Stanley Ann, but I think there's another reason a privileged, mixed-race boy who grew up mainly in Hawaii chose to identify with radical black nationalism:

It's because he got repeatedly beat up for being a foreigner for four years.

At least that's my take on it.

Glaivester said...

If Obama wins and brings in close to 60 Senators on his coattails (a handful of liberal GOP Senators can make up the difference), you won't have any power to oppose him. That's what you 'clear-eyed' Obamatons don't seem to get. Obama will have the opportunity to pass legislation that will never get repealed.

That's assuming that a lot of Democrats do not defect. Remember, there were several Democrats who voted against amnesty in 2007...

Anonymous said...

Given that Obama threw his grandmother under the bus in his speech, there's poetic justice in the fact that she won't be around to see what happens tomorrow.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Given that Obama threw his grandmother under the bus in his speech, there's poetic justice in the fact that she won't be around to see what happens tomorrow.

Or maybe God's mercy in not letting her be around to see what happens over the next 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Glaivester

That's assuming that a lot of Democrats do not defect. Remember, there were several Democrats who voted against amnesty in 2007...


There would be a lot fewer Democrats opposing Pres Obama in 2009 than opposing Pres Bush in 2007 on any amnesty bill.

Off point, it's pretty dispicable that Obama would falsely use his then dying cancer-stricken grandmother to defend his 20yr follwing of Rev. Wright's rabid racism. At least Obama visited her on her deathbed unlike his own mother. What a messed up family and what a totally confused individual.

Truth said...

"because the wise man Otis Moss had that radical Irish Priest get up and attack Hillary Clinton."

So Moss "had" the Iris priest "attack" Hillary Clinton. Do you think he told him what to say? Maybe he just invited him to speak, and maybe Pfleger was simply giving his views on a political candidate. Lord knows that never happens here.

"And of course Otis Moss was the “assistant Pastor” to Jerry Wright during the time in which at least some of Wright’s greatest hits were being delivered."

He had become assistant Pastor in fall of 2006 and took over the church in Feb 2008. He was already a grown man with a Masters in Divinity (Yale) and a PHD and he had already led a church in Atlanta with a congregation of over 2,000.

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis
_Moss_III

I would say that he had earned the right to formulate his own opinion by then.

"Recall also that Obama broke off (publicly at least) his relationship from Jerry Wright ostensibly over Wright’s performance at the National Press Club and at the NAACP (the later being the “different not deficient” speech). Otis Moss was certainly at Trinity during those public performances by Jerry Wright."

Yes, but Wright wasn't, he was retired.

"Finally, I suppose if one doesn’t consider the black liberation theology (derived from e.g., James Cone) that Jerry Wright espouses “racist”...

I do not choose to deem someone a racist by what books they read, rather by what they say. Here are Wrights most 'racist' statements; watch them and tell me the racist part.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=617e
K2XIaLk

"But I really don’t see how that is an honest evaluation of Wright’s stated beliefs."

"Black Liberation Theology" has one basic core belief: Jesus was a black guy. Woopeeee! I don't know if he was or if he wasn't and don't give a shit, but why is that any less realistic then the "White Liberation Theology" Christianity that you espouse?

As far as hating whites, Reverend Wright was a combat medic in the Korean war, I can only assume that he saved more white lives than you have ever dreamed of. He served in two branches of the military which also, but any logical comparison, probably makes him more 'patriotic' than you have ever dreamed of being. BTW all of this does not mean that I like or respect him, I feel he is just another fake 'Cafeteria Christian' clown, but he's no better or worse than the rest of you.

Basically Ben, your beliefs are yours and yours only. If you want to spend your life hating n****S, that is your perogotive. But please, do it like a man and don't look for an excuse.

You don't need a black man hating honkies to have an excuse to hate n****s. It makes you sound pathetic and dickless so to speak.

I really did not mean to sound harsh in this post Ben, but nothing makes me angrier than the continued Wussification of the American Male, and that includes 'racism.'

Ben Franklin said...

Truth, it is simple really. Wright ENDORSES Cone and Hopkins. Obama acted as if he endorsed Wright’s endorsement and now he has, just Sunday, ENDORSED Otis Moss. Does Moss endorse Cone and Hopkins? It would seem logical to assume that he does.

But unlike you Truth, I am more concerned with what people actually DO, rather than what they SAY, much less what some people claim they mean by what they say.

HERE IS SPENGLER AGAIN TO EXPLAIN IT ALL, AGAIN.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/JC18Aa01.html


Hopkins is a full professor at the University of Chicago's Divinity School; Cone is now distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary. They promote a "black power" reading of Christianity, to which liberal academic establishment condescends.


Obama referred to this when he asserted in a March 14 statement, "I knew Reverend Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago." But the fact the liberal academy condescends to sponsor black liberation theology does not make it less peculiar to mainstream American Christians.


Obama wants to talk about what Wright is, rather than what he says. But that way lies apolitical quicksand.


In the black liberation theology taught by Wright, Cone and Hopkins, Jesus Christ is not for all men, but only for the oppressed:

In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors ... Either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not [Cone].

In this respect black liberation theology is identical in content to all the ethnocentric heresies that preceded it. Christianity has no use for the nations, a "drop of the bucket" and "dust on the scales", in the words of Isaiah. It requires that individuals turn their back on their ethnicity to be reborn into Israel in the spirit. That is much easier for Americans than for the citizens of other nations, for Americans have no ethnicity. But the tribes of the world do not want to abandon their Gentile nature and as individuals join the New Israel. Instead they demand eternal life in their own Gentile flesh, that is, to be the "Chosen People".


That is the "biblical scholarship" to which Obama referred in his March 14 defense of Wright and his academic prominence. In his response to Hannity, Wright genuinely seemed to believe that the authority of Cone and Hopkins, who now hold important posts at liberal theological seminaries, was sufficient to make the issue go away. His faith in the white establishment is touching; he honestly cannot understand why the white reporters at Fox News are bothering him when the University of Chicago and the Union Theological Seminary have put their stamp of approval on black liberation theology.


Many things that the liberal academy has adopted, though, will horrify most Americans, and not only "black liberation theology" (Queer Studies comes to mind, among other things). It cannot be in Obama's best interests to appeal to the authority of Cone, whose unapologetic racism must be repugnant to the great majority of Americans, including the majority of black Americans, who for the most part belong to Christian churches that preach mainstream Christian doctrine. Christianity teaches unconditional love for a God whose love for humankind is absolute; it does not teach the repudiation of a God who does not destroy our enemies on the spot.


Whether Obama takes seriously the doctrines that Wright preaches is another matter. It is possible that Obama does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach. Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone. African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois State Senate with the support of Chicago's black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago's largest and most politically active black church.


Obama views Wright rather at arm's length: as the New York Times reported on April 30, 2007:

Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through," Mr Obama said. "He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.

Obama holds his own views close. But it seems unlikely that he would identify with the ideological fits of the black-power movement of the 1960s. Obama does not come to the matter with the perspective of an American black, but of the child of a left-wing anthropologist raised in the Third World, as I wrote elsewhere (Obama's women reveal his secret , Asia Times Online, February 26, 2008). It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is.

Anonymous said...

it;s too bad that you people can't see how racist you are. and realize how absurd it is