A relevant, but perhaps overlooked, aspect of President Obama’s character was briefly mentioned in the thought-provoking documentary film 2016: Obama’s America. While a young teenager, Obama made an enlightening discovery. He figured out a trick – that he had a “knack”. The trick was, if he smiled, was polite, and “didn’t make any sudden moves”, he could manipulate people. Not only that, he could get people to want to help him. It was a “knack” he carefully perfected through the years. It became a trick that would help put him in the White House…
Does America have a Trickster-in-Chief? Who is the real Barack Obama?
Today, The Washington Examiner published an in-depth article peeling back the layers of the Obama you don’t know. In a four-month research effort, many interviews were conducted with Obama supporters and non-supporters in Chicago and elsewhere. In an effort to separate myth from reality, court transcripts, government reports and other official documents were also referenced. I’ve only highlighted some of what was written and urge you to read the entire article.
Over the years and in two autobiographies, Obama has presented himself to the world as many things, including radical community organizer, idealistic civil rights lawyer, dynamic reformer in the Illinois and U.S. senates, and, finally, the cool presidential voice of postpartisan hope and change.
With his air of reasonableness and moderation, he has projected a remarkably likable persona. Even in the midst of a historically dirty campaign for re-election, his likability numbers remain impressive, as seen in a recent AP-GFK Poll that found 53 percent of adults have a favorable view of him.
But beyond the spin and the polls, a starkly different picture emerges. It is a portrait of a man quite unlike his image, not a visionary reformer but rather a classic Chicago machine pol who thrives on rewarding himself and his friends with the spoils of public office, and who uses his position to punish his enemies.
First lady Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention that “Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions.”
It is a claim the president has repeated in his books, on the speech-making circuit and in countless media interviews. By his account, he grew up in a broken home with a single mom, struggled for years as a child in an impoverished Third World country and then was raised by his grandparents in difficult circumstances.
Uh, not so fast…
Obama’s step-father, Lolo Soetoro, had a coveted job in Indonesia as a government relations officer with Union Oil Co. They lived in Menteng, the most exclusive neighborhood of Jakarta, where economic elites resided. Obama would later live with his grandparents in Hawaii where his grandfather was in sales and his grandmother would become one of the first female vice presidents of a Honolulu bank.
The year Barack joined them, his grandparents moved to a “sleek new 10-story apartment building” close to the prestigious prep school Obama would attend for eight years. The school was one of the most expensive on the island and was a “lush hillside campus overlooking the Waikiki skyline and the Pacific Ocean.”
All the touting he’s done about his community organizing? Obama has never lived in a black neighborhood. He chose to commute 90 miles each way daily to the housing project where he worked.
Time magazine gushed in 2008 about Barack Obama’s 12-year tenure as a law lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, saying, “Within a few years, he had become a rock-star professor with hordes of devoted students.”
Time magazine put lipstick on a pig. Described by some faculty members as “disengaged” and “doing only what was minimally required”, Obama was the third-lowest ranked lecturer at the law school in 1999. Only 23 percent of his students recommended his classes.
The pattern of minimal performance at the Chicago campus was not an exception to the rule for Obama. In the state Senate during the same years he was lecturing, Obama voted “present” nearly 130 times, the most of any legislator in the chamber.
And during his lone term as a U.S. senator, according to Gov Track.us: “From Jan 2005 to Oct 2008, Obama missed 314 of 1300 recorded or roll call votes, which is 24.0%. This is worse than the median of 2.4%.”