October 8, 2012

In New Republic, Nicholas Lemann calls Obama "The Cipher"

"The Cipher" is the print title of The New Republic's review (by veteran liberal Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia School of Journalism) of the massive biography of Barack Obama by David Maraniss. Lemann's review confirms, from a different political standpoint, much of my recent review of Maraniss's biography in VDARE. 

Lemann writes:
... If you belong to an extended family that gets together for holiday dinners, most of whose members are not active participants in the national political conversation, you surely can’t make it through a single gathering without some uncle or cousin saying something that, if it came out of the mouth of a member of Congress, would be treated as an instantly career-ending mistake. And if—less likely—you actually know a member of Congress well, you may have seen that even many of them, when feeling relaxed, haven’t fit the entirety of their views inside the acceptable range of the moment. 
It isn’t so easy or natural to stay eternally within the white lines. Some people may be so naturally conventional that the project takes no effort. But what about the rest? Do they do it by calculation? By control? By willing themselves, like actors, into character? Questions like these come to mind especially in the case of Barack Obama, who spent his early life in circumstances where he was unlikely to imbibe and absorb standard-issue American politics from the people around him. “First black president” doesn’t begin to capture the improbability of Obama’s getting where he has gotten. The son of a teenage mother and an almost completely absent father, raised off the American mainland and in Indonesia, with relatives all over the cultural, geographic, and political map, wanting for any real homestead or hometown....

Obama didn’t start striking people as a future president until he was at Harvard Law School. Here he is a sensitive, searching, occasionally mesmerizing young man—as he was in Dreams from My Father. How and when did the big transition happen? We’ll have to wait for Maraniss’s next volume to find out.  
... The many details that Maraniss has unearthed about Obama fall into two main categories: first, Obama’s childhood circumstances were more emotionally difficult than he has made them out to be; second, his narrative of finding a comfortable, lasting cultural identity by embracing his African Americanness seems too pat. ... 
Obama’s mother was a remarkably determined and independent person who, under difficult circumstances, built a significant life for herself as an anthropologist in Indonesia, but Maraniss insistently points out what Obama himself was too diplomatic to say outright in Dreams from My Father: she consistently decided, from the time he was about ten, to structure her life so that she spent almost no time with him, and there is some evidence that he sensed this and resented it deeply. The current, therapeutically driven assumptions governing American upper-middle-class culture would surely lead to a prediction, from the evidence we have, that the adult Obama would be a complete basket case. He cannot possibly be as imperturbable as he appears to be, but it is still remarkable and unexplained how he wound up with both an unstoppable drive to power and complete self-control, a rare combination even in successful politicians. 
... MARANISS HAS carefully established the true identities of the pseudonymous composite characters in Dreams from My Father, and found, in a couple of cases, that people whom Obama presented as crucial guides on his journey to blackness were actually not black. One can’t gainsay the genuineness of the feeling of homecoming Obama got from finding his way into the heart of the African American experience, most notably through his marriage, from a point completely outside it. But it is also a sign of the weirdness of America’s racial customs—most whites assume that anybody who has dark skin also has a set of identical, deeply ingrained experiences and attitudes that just weren’t part of Obama’s life growing up—that Obama has been able to sell this version of himself so successfully. As Maraniss puts it, “It does not diminish the importance of race to note that the formation of his persona began not with the color of his skin but the circumstances of his family—all of his family, on both sides, not just the absent father, as the title of his memoir suggests. All of his family—leaving and being left.” Being black serves in part as an effective cover for something else that is as deeply, or perhaps more deeply, part of him—a fundamental guardedness and unknowability. 

So, who is the President really on the inside? The Muslim Manchurian candidate? An Alinskyite socialist? The committed follower of Rev. Wright, as he portrayed himself in his first autobiography? A U. of Chicago academic slightly to the left of Richard Epstein? A WASPish golfer?  Or maybe there's not much there there ... 
... [Girlfriend] Genevieve Cook’s diary brims over with frustration about her inability to breach the defenses Obama had erected around himself. “[A] wall—the veil,” she calls it at one point; “[b]ut he is so wary, wary ... resents extra weight,” she says at another.  
... In his resistance to being pinned down in any way, there is a lot of his mother. As Maraniss puts it: “Ann had the will to avoid the traps life set for her, and she infused that same will in her son.” 
THIS CAMPAIGN hasn’t cleared up the fundamental mysteriousness of Obama very much. He has been uncannily successful at making Mitt Romney, not himself, the main subject of the campaign. Ask yourself: what portion of your personal campaign conversational time this season has been devoted to Romney, and what portion has been devoted to the man who is far more likely to be our president for the next four years? On Election Day 2008, would you have predicted that Obama would soon move his whole stack of chips onto the venerable liberal cause of universal health care? How clear a sense do you have now of what Obama’s second term will look like? 
The portion of Obama’s life story we get here gives us full satisfaction if the question is how he was able to give his celebrated and career-launching keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, in which he proposed that there could be a way of bridging all political and cultural divisions.

The way: Elect me President!
Otherwise, Obama as president—what drives him, how he makes choices—is fundamentally mysterious, and neither Maraniss’s book nor this presidential campaign has done much to clear it up. If there is a politically applicable impression that emerges from the great mass of material, it is how much Obama is a child of the postcolonial era. Hawaii, Kenya, and Indonesia were all former colonies or possessions of the West, one of which was absorbed into a larger democratic nation, the other two of which became independent. The careers of Obama’s grandparents, his parents, and his stepfather all can be seen as workings out of the ways in which post-colonialism plays itself out in individual lives.

 So, I guess Dinesh D'Souza isn't totally crazy like everybody said he was.
And though the term “post-colonial” reads as “left,” both of Obama’s parents, though they probably would have been comfortable with that equation as applying to them politically, chose to work not as lifelong rebels but in the sorts of establishment roles that the end of colonialism opened up: his mother, in Indonesia, at the Ford Foundation; his father, in Kenya, at Shell Oil and then in a government bureau meant to promote the tourist business.  

Right. Obama's roots are in America's Cold War strategy to co-opt the Third World left by giving jobs and influence to people just to the right of the KGB.
... After the election, the chance that Obama will feel that he has finally been set free to let the world see who he really is and what he really believes is nil. 
But it’s also a safe bet that his core convictions are not those of the old Democratic Leadership Council. Romney palpably wishes to restore American hegemony in the world; Obama (drone attacks and dead Osama bin Laden or not) does not. Romney believes in business as the core institution in society in a way that Obama does not. We will surely find out something more about Obama’s convictions and his priorities in the six months after Election Day—not before.

As to what that will be, it’s hard to think of any politician running for reelection about whom the question is more difficult to answer.  
Nicholas Lemann is dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and is the author, most recently, of Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). This article appeared in the October 25, 2012 issue of the magazine under the headline "The Cipher."

One possibility is that Obama is intermittently worn down by the phoniness of his life. Here he is pretending to be the Heroic Man of Action when he's really a passive observer, an elegant writer undermined by his inability to come up with anything original to write in that prose-poetry style of his. He wrote a vast autobiography at age 33 to claim the advantages of being black in modern America, but by upbringing he doesn't feel black at all on the inside, and thus only associates with a tiny stratum of the most bourgeois blacks. 

The main stereotypically black aspect about Obama is his vast self-esteem, which greatly enjoys the acclaim of being President. But he also has a skeptical underside -- he doesn't like to flat out lie if there is some lawyerly language with which to trick the vast majority of his listeners and readers. And that part, the best part of him, perhaps finds his absurd career to be kind of depressing. 


Joe Biden in 2016! said...

But he also has a skeptical underside -- he doesn't like to flat out lie if there is some lawyerly language with which to trick the vast majority of his listeners and readers. And that part, the best part of him, perhaps finds his absurd career to be kind of depressing.

I feel compelled to note that what you mention here isn't skepticism at all. That would be how somebody else would view his stance if they knew better.

Surely, what you're describing here is the self-contempt of someone who realizes that he doesn't actually deserve the accolades he's received.

Maybe that explains why he kept looking down at the podium during that debate.

Anonymous said...

I bet michelle finds him depressing too, and she never lets him forget it.

Londoner said...

So Stanley Ann obviously found it hard to look at the face of her son. I guess when she did it felt like looking into the face of his father, so that was a troubling experience. One wonders why - perhaps because she loved that man but couldn't keep him. Or perhaps there's a less romantic reason.

Let's! said...

"...but by upbringing he doesn't feel black at all on the inside, and thus only associates with a tiny stratum of the most bourgeois blacks."

What about his basketball games described by Michael Lewis? That gets him around blacks from the hood.

peterike said...

So tiresome. These Leftist phonies, even when they pretend to be digging deep into the mysterious soul of Obama, they totally ignore the piles of known information about him, to say nothing of all the speculation and tantalizing clues. Where is the CIA background of the mother and grand-parents? Where are mom's porn shots? Where are the oft mentioned hints of a gay Obama? Where is Frank Marshall Davis? On and on it goes.

Anonymous said...

Weren't we talking about projection just the other day?

What if all these attempts at de-cipher-ism merely amount to IQ 130s-ish commentators projecting their own angsts and insecurities and compulsions and obsessions onto a fairly ordinary guy with an IQ down around 115? Maybe 110?

A guy who couldn't even write either of his own autobiographies, and who had to farm out the work to William Ayers and Jon Favreau?

A guy who can't mimic a coherent thought without Axelrod's script on the teleprompter to read from?

A guy who isn't all that certain how many states there really are?

Maybe the reason folks [with IQs at 130 or above] can't understand him is because there just isn't all that much there to understand?

Dahlia said...


Watching Obama at the debate, I thought of you and your constant theme about Obama being moody. Many observers felt Obama could not hide his feelings about being very unhappy to be there with Mitt personally.

If I remember, you did not watch it. Your analysis is the one I care about most. Also, what do you think will happen at the other debates?

Anonymous said...

Obama is clearly in the wrong profession. Since he possesses writing skill but lacks originality he should have become a ghost writer of political memoirs.

Anonymous said...

"I bet michelle finds him depressing too, and she never lets him forget it."

Well, she should appreciate that Barry has enabled her to receive $50 million worth of free vacations on the whitey's public dime.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone here knows what the hell goes through Obama's head. Obviously there's a lot going on behind the scenes with this guy that we don't know about.

He's president, that's not exactly a minor achievement no matter what your starting circumstances. It would seem obvious that George W. Bush had a lot more advantages than Obama had. Probably both are connected to the CIA in some way.

Believing that he's worn down by the phoniness of his life assumes he's not a narcissist or sociopath who gets off on that kind of thing. Lots of people prefer lies to the truth.

Luke Lea said...

Which raises the (un)interesting question: why does it matter at this point? Even if re-elected it seems unlikely to me at least that Obama will have power to do anything much, whether for good or ill.

alexis said...

"I bet michelle finds him depressing too, and she never lets him forget it."

Henpecking is the most underrated force in politics.

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve,

Could you please write more stuff about "America's Cold War strategy to co-opt the Third World left by giving jobs and influence to people just to the right of the KGB"?

What about the American "new left"? For example, Gloria Steinem claims she had funding from the CIA.

Your ideas about this are completely new to me, but they explain so much of what the hell happened to the good ole USA. They also pass the Occam's razor test - unlike the Birch Society's theory that eg. Pres. Eisenhower was a secret communist controlled by his brother etc.

More, please.


Anonymous said...

Is Obama a cipher? No! This is just a case of a liberal pretending not to understand or know the REAL Obama because the man is presumably ever so mysterious. When liberals call Obama a 'cipher' or some such, it means they don't want to discuss what he really is or they are repressing the fact of what he really is--a fact that they, in their heart of hearts, know.

And this is why all this biographical mumbo-jumbo is so useful in obfuscating the real Obama.
Now, this isn't to say biography isn't important. It is, but at some point, most people tend to put away childhood psychology along with childish things.
And why should it be surprising that Obama, though abandoned by his father and mother, had such a will to power? Just about every rapper in da hood is full of will to power despite their family problems. The difference for Obama was that, even though his mother didn't much care for him, he had sound role models in his Indonesian step-father and his white grandparents, especially the grandmother who, despite her political inclinations, raised Obama in a rather conservative manner: he was made to wake up everyday, go to school, and do his homework. It's not like he grew up in da hood.

At any rate, at some point in life, men wanna do stuff; and ambitious men wanna do 'great' things. Some wanna be rock stars, some wanna be business tycoons, some wanna be movie stars, some wanna be top intellectuals, some wanna be great writers, and etc. This is when people abandon their childhood psychology--and attachments to people like parents/guardians and childhood friends--and model themselves on Important People(the famous, the powerful, the rich, the respected).

So, even though Bob Dylan was born to two middle class Jewish parents in some small town in Minnesota, he began to model himself on James Dean, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and then Woody Guthrie as he grew to manhood. Dylan wanted to be a star, and so he absorbed what folk music, rock music, and youth culture were all about.
Biographers tend to read lives backwards. They look for the roots and back stories that led to such and such life. But just as important are the sun and fore-stories of what young people wanna be. It's like the kid in SHANE, though the son of his pa, starts looking up to Shane as his sun-like model. Now, fore-stories are mythic and fantastic while back stories are real. The back story of someone's life is the stuff he's been through and where he is from. And some people never forget where they came from, and their lives revolve around their roots and memory. But some people push aside or repress their back stories and create fantastic fore-stories of what they wanna be. Thus, Dylan in the early 60s wasn't looking back to his having been born and raised as a Jewish son to in some small town in Minnesota. He was looking FORWARD to the dream of creating a persona for himself that combined the grit of Guthrie with the edge of James Dean and charisma of Elvis Presley. He had a fore-story of what his story would be like and he reached for the sun.

Similarly, Obama, at some point in his life, decided to go for fame and power. He didn't care for his backstory since it was mostly confused, unhappy, or uneventful. He didn't get much from his father and his mother. And though his white grandmother did much for him, there wasn't much glamour to a black kid having been raised by an OLD WHITE LADY. I mean it sounds so lame.

Anonymous said...

And so, he decided to create a new persona based on role models of fame, respect, and power. As a young man, he was into fashionable radical heroes like Malcolm X and etc. But as he hung around Columbia and Harvard and the like, he knew 60s radicalism was over. He grew up during the age of Reagan. Though he loathed Reagan, he studied and understood the Reagan appeal. And he understood the power of the mass media that promoted Reagan.

Obama also came to understand white psychology, indeed more so than most blacks ever could since he'd grown up surrounded by whites. He realized that despite the great power of the white community, white psychology was really made of putty. It could easily be toyed with. And despite all the stuff about 'racism', he noticed that whites were full of good will toward blacks. He saw this at Columbia, Harvard, U of C, and etc. He also noticed that even conservatives are deathly afraid of the R word.
And he understood that Jews have the real power, and so, becoming chummy with Jews would be the key to his rise. Of course, Obama did and does have real skills. However powerful Jews may be, they cannot turn water into wine. Jewish Hollywood could not have turned Gary Coleman into Will Smith or Don Knots into Arnold Schwarzenegger. So, Obama has some skills as a public persona, brain, debater, and etc. But his talents were mythified and expanded by the power of the Jewish media, and it grew even larger by the willingness of white psychology to worship the 'clean cut Negro' who will bridge the racial gap, and etc.

Obama knew all this and played on it. So, that is the real Obama. All this looking into his past is just an obfuscation trick. Liberals would rather look into his past and say, 'gee, we don't really know him' than look at his political life and say the obvious, which is 'Obama used the Jews, and Jews used Obama'.

I mean who cares with whom Obama hung around in college? In college, I used to hang around Sandinista-supporting Marxist groups; I used to wear a Che Guevara t-shirt. I used to have the collected works of Lenin. Lots of young people go through those 'radical' phases. But what does that have to do with my views today? So, who cares if Obama hung around Pakistani friends in college. Back then, they had more money than he did, and so he thought they were cool. But he later met people with more money and more power, and so he began to look forward to getting himself ingratiated into new associations. It's like Tom Vu said: don't hang around losers! At one time, rich Pakis seemed like winners to Obama. Later, they seemed like small fry. The real winners were Jews, and so Obama was gonna stick close to them. And of course, Jews understand THIS ASPECT of Obama, but they'd rather not discuss it. They'd rather pretend he's a 'cipher'. Gimme a break!

Anonymous said...

Obama is a jazzy figure, and the essence of Jazz is never to fixate on one note, single melody, single emotion. It is to constantly feel for things and move left or right or up or right depending on whatever feels 'right' in order to stay ahead of the game.
What is Obama really? He is an slippery egotist. He's really all about himself, and he will do anything to serve his own big fat ego. His dreams weren't from his father. His dreams have been his own. It's just his bogus 'profound humility' that credits his dreams to his father. That way, he can say he's carrying out the mission of history of righting the wrongs done to the black race by the white race--and of course, enough whites were bound to fall for this shtick. His dreams were his own to become the rock star of politics, and he knew if he played his cards right with the Jews, they would use him and he would use them.

It's like the black guy in SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, at some point in his life, understood the core of white psychology and decided to toy with it for his self-aggrandizement. That is Obama, and white liberals don't wanna face up to it. So, they go on about him being a 'cipher'.

It just takes a little imagination to know what's going through Obama's mind. One shouldn't lose oneself in the details of Obama's childhood and youth. Just put yourself in Obama's mind and body when he was around 20. Imagine having his personality, his ego, his character, and his penchant for BS. Imagine wanting to be somebody. Now, what would you do in order to get it? What kind of fore-story do you look forward to? That is Obama.

Steve Sailer said...

"Also, what do you think will happen at the other debates?"

Don't forget that Romney is 65. He's a sober, non-smoking, non-Pepsi drinking 65 with good genes and all that, but the odds of topping himself aren't high. And he's stuck with a narrow range of positions, only some of which are good ideas in 2012.

Remember about a decade ago when the New England Patriots would bring 40-year-old Doug Flutie in off the bench when QB Tom Brady got hurt, and Little Doug would run wild for a game or two? Eventually, however, upcoming opponents' defensive coordinators would say to themselves, "Wait a minute, there _are_ ways to stop a 5'10" 40 year old quarterback, even one whose comeback story is as heartwarming as Flutie's."

Midgardian said...

When Romney says 'America must lead', he means 'GOP must follow Zionists'.

Anonymous said...

"I bet michelle finds him depressing too, and she never lets him forget it."

I bet she resents that his white blood has earned him so much acclaim.

Anonymous said...

You mean San Diego. When you Wikipedia the guy don't just look at which team he played for last check out the stats too. It's more what's the word oh yes empirical.

Anonymous said...

Blah. Blah. Blah. Maraniss: blah, blah. The reviewer of Maraniss: blah, blah.

Narcissism in not uncommon. Haven't they ever met a narcissist? One needn't go looking at nurturing for explanations of the narcissist. I thought we knew Freud was hooey by now. They are born.

Average Joe said...

I wonder when liberals are going to wake up and realize that the qualities they see in Obama largely exist in their own imagination?

Cail Corishev said...

Even in the middle of an article that purports to be kinda sorta negative about Obama, he has to call him, "the man who is far more likely to be our president for the next four years."

Gotta stay on script. No matter what you say about him, keep drilling home the idea that the election's over, Romney's lost, no need to go to the polls, nothing to see here....

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous peterike said...
Where are mom's porn shots?

What do you mean, "Where are mom's porn shots?" They're on the internet, of course. (I'm afraid a hot link would be in bad taste.)

Luke Lea said...it seems unlikely to me at least that Obama will have power to do anything much, whether for good or ill.

This is a catastrophic failure of the pessimistic imagination. Obama has done TONS of terrible things by executive fiat and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

"Could you please write more stuff about "America's Cold War strategy to co-opt the Third World left by giving jobs and influence to people just to the right of the KGB"?"

Also, the West found itself in a struggle with an ideology that was capable of lighting callow naive young minds on fire, in particular in the third world, where/when western ideas were being seriously absorbed, often for the first time. The West lacked an articulated counter-ideology in the immediate aftermath of WWII. I believe it was the 6 wise men, or similar types (Acheson, Harriman, Kennan, etc.), who explicitly came up with the notion of pushing universal human rights as the counter ideology, which taken to its limits was easily morphed into modern multiculturalism, open borders, free trade, etc.. Info regarding the seeds of the ideas that got us to where we are now would be interesting.

Whiskey said...

Steve, Romney has a massive advantage over Obama. Well two, actually. One he doesn't rely on press pumping him up as Chocolate Jesus 2.0 riding in on a unicorn, and secondly he knows in detail how business, government, and politics work and work in the intersection. And can explain it.

Obama can pump himself up on Redbull and what have you, but he can't fix a lifetime on relying on narrow, White elites worshipping him, and having no real clue about how politics and government work. Obama never ran anything in his life before, which is why he's a massive failure. He cannot even keep gas prices low and wages high, in a US oil and gas boom.

That takes a real talent for screwing things up. Romney is not a supergenius. But Obama is so untalented and WRONG on nearly everything (and has no real understanding of Whites) that even a non-natural politician like Romney could and did beat him in a debate, unfiltered by media frenzy.

Whiskey said...

Let me add, that Obama vastly misunderstands Whites. White football fans all the time will call for underperforming Black coaches to get canned. Same with QBs. "Goodwill" only goes so far, just as with coaches and QBs, White Americans expect results.

Obama does not understand that about Whites. First Black President? That box was checked off. Who cares?

Pew is recording an 18 point swing, now all tied up, among Women re Obama/Romney. A margin of error lead by Romney nationally. Michigan and PA in play for Romney. Why?

Most Americans don't like Obama. They won't say it personally due to media screaming, but he comes across as arrogant, aloof, obsessed with slights, effeminate (in that regard, macho men know when to let it go), and worse of all, inept. Clueless. Deer in headlights.

Americans after Bush were willing to give Obama two years or so, to get things right. He failed. They turned on him and all Romney has to do is look like a plausible alternative.

The rise in Gas Prices in California won't hurt Obama here -- he has a 24 point lead. But the rise here gets people other places scared, and east coast rises will hurt him in states like PA and OH. That's politics 101. Clinton would have relaxed EPA gas formulation rules six months ago just for that reason.

People don't like Obama because other than media worship, SWPL narcissism. pictures of him riding a unicorn and such, he is weak, indecisive, clueless, and seemingly incapable of wielding the vast federal power to make people's lives better or at least not worse.

Karl Dorrell thought that being Black would keep him at UCLA forever. Obama is like Karl Dorrell. Only less talented.

Alcalde Jaime Miguel Curleo said...

Do chicks like Genevieve Cook still keep personal diaries IRL... Every man now seems to publicize his middling maunderings on a weblog, technical expertise barrier dispensed with

Dennis Dale said...

O is actually a little disappointed. He'd imagined himself a romantic revolutionary figure like Che Guevara. He was going to stick it to the Man in Chicago.
Then the white libs got a hold of him and carried him along like a crowd-surfer all the way to the presidency. What was he gonna do, say no?

Now he has to be the Man. He has to sign off on all those targeted killings, blow off his old friends in the Palestinian cause, shake hands with generals, carry water for Israel, take direction from Wall Streeters.

No matter how much his considerable ego is warmed by all that power, he's got to stop now and then and lament: that original dream, where he achieved a greater degree of black authenticity as the radical, reforming mayor of Chicago, that dream will never be.

BrokenSymmetry said...

Rather than "cipher" signifying something unknown, coded and enigmatic, perhaps the author was slyly alluding to the original Arabic meaning of sifr as nothing, a zero.

Anonymous said...

Even this late in the game, it's depressing to see how many iSteve-ers aren't willing to even consider the possibility that there's just no there there.

Isn't iSteve supposed to be the home of [at least] Occam's Butterknife [if not Occam's Razor]?

And isn't the simplest explanation that Obama is a standard-issue AA hire [with the standard-issue laundry list of AA resentments and despondencies and indolences] who reads good telemprompter, in exactly the same way that Harry Belafonte or Sidney Poitier or Morgan Freeman would have read it, if only they had been given the chance?

You know, Paul Robeson passed the bar exam in New York [or at least I assume he did - Wikipedia is a little sketchy on that point], and he had a pleasant singing voice, and, like Barry Soetoro, he was more than willing to let the Frankfurt School element in the American entertainment industry use him ruthlessly to further their political agenda, but I don't see anyone nowadays wasting any time wondering what Robeson's deepest innermost thoughts might have been [primarily because, as a mid- to light-weight intellect, Robeson just wasn't all tht interesting].

PS: Steve, at your age, and given your SoCal background, you must have spent some time following Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul Jabbar's career.

Alcindor/Jabbar reminds me a great deal of Barry: Articulate [by negro standards], very light-skinned, infatuated with Islam, of an IQ above 100 [although not a whole lot beyond that], and filled with so much resentfulness and uppity haughtiness that no one can stand to spend five minutes in the same room with the guy.

You even have the similarity between Alcindor/Jabbar dissappearing with migraine headaches and Obama disappearing for his nicotine breaks [or his Reggie Love sessions or whatever the heck they are].

Recently I saw Alcindor/Jabbar host Turner Classic Movies, and he seemed like a smart enough guy [although not too terribly smart], but he also struck me as being maybe one of the most deeply miserable loners on the face of the earth.

Anyway, at least Robeson could sing, and Alcindor/Jabbar had the Sky Hook - poor Barry isn't even that talented.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

As Maraniss puts it: “Ann had the will to avoid the traps life set for her...”

I would call it more his mother's talent for refusing to grow up. What are these "traps" Maraniss is talking about that Dunham--through apparently Herculean will--was able to avoid? Acquiring a marketable skill, marrying well, raising a family?

In leaner economic times, there isn't enough surplus wealth to allow young women to drift around on grants, collecting exotic bedmates and studying "anthropology" while the grandparents raise your kid for you.

Dahlia said...


Thanks for your reply.

I'm rethinking my idea that the third will be Romney's best.

First, I've become much more reductionist about elections and the underlying assumption for my belief that it is all about the economy and leadership (alpha personality, smarts, etc.) is *that the modern parties do an extremely good job finding the center in the election for president*. As such, the median voter only focuses on personal qualities and economics.

A particular debate is not the same as a general election, however. Maybe it's just me, but I think Romney is really out of touch when it comes to a desire for a strong American hegemony. Am I seeing it clearly, or am I too biased?

He'll win only because Obama's been so incompetent and much of the American public will learn just how so from Romney during the debate.

How do you think Obama will behave in the others given his mood cycles?

Truth said...

"So, I guess Dinesh D'Souza isn't totally crazy like everybody said he was."

He's not crazy, just stupid.

Anonymous said...

If America were a mulatto-majority nation--like Mexico is a mestizo majority nation--, and if Obama came to power with mulatto support, we would see the real Obama. We can see the real Hugo Chavez--a socialist-fascist--because he's a mestilatto who came to power with the support of mestilattos.

But elite power in America is controlled by Jews, and Obama was essentially elected with key white support. So, Obama cannot be freely what he is like Hugo Chavez.
More than anything, I think he's a mulatto supremacist who thinks he's better than whites and blacks cuz he's got the best of both.

Anonymous said...

Obama has to be amazed at people's (even smart people's) interest in understanding his rather simple doings.

Imagine you got so annoyed at a local policy and ran for city council or county commissioner. From there people liked you, so ran for state senate and won again. Then US senate, then White House. The serendipity of the whole ride made people curious, so they investigated the significance of your parents, dog, tricycle and Little league coach. All the while not realizing that electing a person says more about the electors than the elected.

My mother always said that the man who never made a mistake never did a damned thing.

That is Obama.

The media find nothing to criticize about Obama because they find nothing about Obama.

Marlowe said...

Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?

I can't write.

Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I'll provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers...

I can't read.

Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...

I like to watch TV.

Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!

-- Being There (1979)

Anonymous said...

Obama had one bad debate so the tingle runs up the other leg of these hacks.

I think Obama is bottom-of-the-barrel among so-so politicians. But Romney is off-the-chart awful. He lied his tail off in the debate -- flopped like a fish, said anything. He stands for nothing...EXCEPT on the level of public myth. Public myth is very important, as Barack The Great Black Zero showed us. The Mitt Myth is as follows. An eagle-eyed business genius will bring boom times to all. Riches! America isn't finished, it's morning in America! He will also (this is myth, remember) administer some overseas ass-kicking, and show the wogs who's #1. Yeah!

This particular myth, historically, the American people are bred-in-the-bone suckers for. (See Ronald Reagan.) The vector of American history is for Romney, not Obama. (For Romney's current myth, that is.)

Let's put it this way. I predict -- right now -- that Romney will win in a landslide, an orgy of hot dogs, flag-waving, threats to foreign countries, and sweet apple pie. Wall St. will postpone the profit-taking for as long as 30 seconds to cut a taxpayer-financed rug.

The Obama myth can't stand up to the overwhelming Mitt God und Country myth. Obama's is the Johnny-come-lately civilrights narrative that a po' black boy can "overcome" and can win even the highest office because...wait for it...America is deeply good (natch), i.e. "non-racist." And of course, such a "black boy" is and must be A Genius. The Nobel was handed him for no other reason.

The world is myth-manipulated. Rosa Parks... Reagan... "To Kill a Mockingbird"... Camelot. The deep structures, the real government, use these cartoons to keep the boobs in line, as they use every other form of distraction/entertainment.

What I wonder is why the right-wing spends so much time and attention on analyzing Ayers et al., and not on analyzing Paul Singer, the Kochs, Adelson, and what their agenda and psyche is.

Every guessed-at incident in Obama's childhood is fodder for long-distance amateur psychoanalysis (which is like peeling an onion in his case).

But Romney and his crew remain an unexplored continent.

Hadn't we better start exploring Mitt, this most American of myths -- since he will be the 45th President of the USA?

Or is there nothing interesting about white people?

Truth said...

"The Mitt Myth is as follows. An eagle-eyed business genius will bring boom times to all. Riches! America isn't finished, it's morning in America! He will also (this is myth, remember) administer some overseas ass-kicking, and show the wogs who's #1. Yeah!"

Yes, and we should feel sorry for him because his ascent to the top has been soooooo hard:


Carol said...

Obama really is beginning to resemble the hapless Félix Ellelloû.