Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Obama watch, part 16: the HLR years

The NYT investigates:

“He then and now is very hard to pin down,” said Kenneth Mack, a classmate and now a professor at the law school, referring to the senator’s on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand style.

Charles J. Ogletree Jr., another Harvard law professor and a mentor of Mr. Obama, said, “He can enter your space and organize your thoughts without necessarily revealing his own concerns and conflicts.”


Another of Mr. Obama’s techniques relied on his seemingly limitless appetite for hearing the opinions of others, no matter how redundant or extreme. That could lead to endless debates — a mouse infestation at the review office provoked a long exchange about rodent rights — as well as some uncertainty about what Mr. Obama himself thought about the issue at hand.

In dozens of interviews, his friends said they could not remember his specific views from that era, beyond a general emphasis on diversity and social and economic justice.


“The things that make law school politics fractious are different from the things that make American politics fractious,” said Ron Klain, who preceded Mr. Obama at the law review and later served as Vice President Al Gore’s chief of staff. Mr. Klain has watched the senator’s rise.

“The interesting caveat,” he said, “is that is a style of leadership more effective running a law review than running a country.”

Perhaps Michael McConnell was onto something.

Discussions - 16 Comments

Doesn’t this entering into someone else’s brain without really revealing yourself sound like the road to political success? He may not be for much of anything, but that leaves him plenty of room to create the impression that he’s for whatever I’m for. He’s going to be one formidable candidate.

Formidable, and apparently careful from very early on, with his hoped-for political career in mind. But perhaps this is more than care, but ingrained personality tic, that is connected to a particular vague-o brand of liberalism.

"In dozens of interviews, his friends said they could not remember his specific views from that era, beyond a general emphasis on diversity and social and economic justice."

Dozens of interviews with college era friends. Unless most of them are also being deliberately public relations, (quite possible) that seems a little odd. Even a little creepy. No one can remember a single specific cause, or candidate he disliked?

This is a dangerous man.

What point of my previous comment on your Hussein Obama "watch" did you miss?

Who gives two damns what this fraud Hussein Obama says or does?

He has about as much chance of getting the Democratic nomination in ’08 as I do, or Fung does, or Steve Hayward does.

So knock the Hell off. None of us gives two damns what Obama does or says. And thus none of us gives four damns about your various Obama "watches." Snap the Hell out of it. If you continue this crap about Hussein Obama, ALL of us will deem you part of the clueless White House political team. Get the picture dude.....


I read your previous comments. On the one hand, you’re right. On the other hand, you’re wrong. If you don’t like the Obama posts, don’t read them. There is, I think, plenty of other content on this blog.

Carl’s right that there’s something creepy about this guy’s capacity not to be pinned down enough to be memorable even for his friends for his actual opinions. It remains to be seen whether he has Bill Clinton’s capacity to combine fashionably vague liberal platitudes with the real flexibility required to get things done. He may or may not be a cute empty suit when it comes to actually governing. In the short term, he seems destined to inspire the hope for greatness that Americans lavished on the Kennedys.

Peter is onto something, I think. Obama has something of the Clinton capacity to be vaguely inspirational, though it’s not clear, for example, that he’s quite as good at connecting with African-Americans.

After reading the Sunstein and NYTimes pieces, I don’t believe a fairminded person can be anything other impressed with Obama’s intelligence, charisma, and ambition. whether he wins the nomination this time around or not, he is almost certainly going to be a formidable political presence for a long time. Obama’s abilities, especially his ability to absorb and sympathize w/ opinions that are almost certainly not his own, are earily similar to the most talented poltiician of this generation, Bill Clinon. The good news for America is that that there is little or no evidence that he shares Clinton’s personal narcissism. I don’t forsee myself ever voting for someone who supports the policies Obama supports. However, I am pleased to see that poltical life is still able to attract some of our most talented people. And I believe that Obama will be good for the Republican party. To be competitive we are going to need better candidates, running on a tighter platform. And that will be really good for America.

It’s true that Obama is less "black" than Bill. He’s not even a descendent of the Africans brought over to America as slaves--the precise category that Taney said was excluded from American citizenship. But it’s hard to call having no connection at all with our unhappy heritage of slavery and all that a bad thing. And the African Americans will still be happy enough with Obama, despite the best efforts of envious losers like Al Sharpton. The big point is that he’s at least as smart and as eloquent as Clinton, and, as Ryan says, that a real challenge for us pedestrian Republicans.

You’ll have seen this by now. If true, then he, like Bill Clinton, has moved beyond a complicated childhood (where the flexibility comes from, perhaps?) and IS a remarkable person. Yet, he must have a certain amount of personal narcissism to be in the position he has made for himself, and to take himself seriously as a presidential candidate. Still, I almost begin to like him. It’s a pity about his politics.

Cheer up Kate... for all we know, he AGREES with your politics.

I like the idea of a guy like this in the executive branch - he listens, decides where the concensus is, and acts. Strictly speaking this is the ideal president. As opposed to, say, the guy we got now.

It sounds cynical, but dammit, Democracy is supposed to work this way. We vote for people to represent us!

Hussein Obama is but the political topic du jour. Sure, there is something creepy about the guy’s ability to skate away from his wholly orthodox lefty views and votes. But Kerry almost skated away from his many votes as well. And if it wasn’t for Zell Miller’s electrifying speech at the GOP convention, he very well may have gotten away from ever being confronted with his many votes that thoroughly identify him as a lefty. Obama can’t get the nomination in 08. And that means that he’s going to have to have, at the very least, another four years of votes on various topics in the Senate before he could possibly get a nomination. Those votes will provide even greater ammunition for Republicans to brand him what I’ve already branded him, a fraud. That is, someone who talks one game, while all the while voting hard left on issue after issue. I’m not worried about Obama.

A far greater problem before the GOP is the prospect of Hillary placing an Hispanic on the ticket.

Even if Hillary makes a serious blunder during her quest for the nomination, which is certainly possible, for Hillary has a notorious tin ear, and if she gets abraided during the nomination process, her discipline might begin to badly fray, in which case she might explode, revealing the true Hildebeast lurking ever so close to the surface, but even if she makes a serious blunder, the Dems wouldn’t turn to somebody named Barack Hussein Obama. Just think about it for a second. They’ve got the Senate, the House, and are ever so close to completing the trifecta, by getting the White House, which means the ability to ram through all of their Judicial selections. And unlike the Republicans, they won’t allow the opposition to thwart them from packing the judiciary. So at this time, they won’t risk blowing it by selecting somebody with the moniker Barack Hussein Obama. Just not gonna happen.

Gore has a far better chance getting the nomination.

Obama won’t get the presidential nomination, but he has a good chance for VP. The Dems would be smart to name Richardson as their presidential candidate, but if Hillary gets the nod, they’d better put Richardson in as VP if they want to have a chance to beat someone like Rudy (who, in my opinion, is the GOP’s best chance for victory).

Although, a Gore-Richardson ballot would probably to a lot better for the Dems than a Clinton-Obama or Clinton-Richardson ticket.

Joe Knippenberg, Obama Watch "Part 16" is ridiculous. He isn’t worth this much space. I think you’re mostly irritating your conservative readers, and giving your liberal readers excuses to be interested in this clown.
NLT is losing credibility with this and similar fixations. As Dan said, you should say more -- much more -- about Islamofascism. Just for starters.

I think I’ll make it a practice to judge a candidate’s chance of success on how early the opposition party starts name calling. "Hussein" Obama? Yes, sure it’s his real name, just like the president’s real name is Junior.

When "Senior" started referring to Bill Clinton as "Slick Willie" in speeches, I was pretty sure he was a lock.

What’s your beef with referring to Obama as Hussein Obama? Don’t you think that little tidbit about Obama is going to knell the death toll of his Presidential ambitions? If you think that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama has a chance at the Presidency, then you have as much of a political tin ear as the White House political team about now.

As for referring to Bush as "Junior," that would be inaccurate. For the simple reason that his father’s full name is George HERBERT Walker Bush, whereas our President’s full name is George Walker Bush.

The fraud Obama is trying desperately to separate himself from his muslim antecedents. Good luck with that Hussein. Despite the media’s adulation, despite that false messiah Oprah touting him to the heavens, Hussein Obama isn’t going to find his way on to the ticket. And every year he spends in the Senate only increasingly makes his claims of being beyond partisanship, and beyond the traditional Republican and Democrat divide increasingly threadbare. Thus every vote, every time he affirms his lefty convictions only further removes the White House from his outstretched arms.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL:

Warning: include(/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2007/01/obama-watch-part-16-the-hlr-years.php on line 811

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/sp/php7.2/lib/php') in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2007/01/obama-watch-part-16-the-hlr-years.php on line 811