April 26th, 2011

Trump: Obama’s gadfly and jester

Commenter “Daniel in Brookline” calls Trump a gadfly. It’s a word I’ve thought of often in connection with him and the Obama presidency, one that was originally used by Socrates to describe himself.

Here’s an explanation of what Socrates meant when he used the term [punctuation and spelling corrected]:

Socrates liken[ed] himself to a GADFLY (a horsefly). Just as a gadfly constantly agitates a horse, preventing it from becoming sluggish and going to sleep, so too Socrates, by moving through the city stirring up conversations in the marketplace, prevents the city from becoming sluggish and careless and intolerant.

It fits pretty well, although Trump’s most assuredly no Socrates. More and more, he also reminds me of a jester, although not one directly in the employ of the Obama court.

Why a jester? Well, he combs his hair funny. But mostly it’s because he fulfills this function of the traditional jester:

In Renaissance times, aristocratic households in Britain employed licensed fools or jesters, who sometimes dressed as other servants were dressed, but generally wore a motley (i.e. parti-coloured) coat, hood with ass’s (i.e. donkey) ears or a red-flannel coxcomb and bells. Regarded as pets or mascots, they served not simply to amuse but to criticise their master or mistress and their guests.

Jester/fools could say things no one else could say, ask questions no one else could ask, because they had little to lose and were given license to tweak. Trump has already voiced the unspeakable birther concerns, and now he gets into the very un-PC question of how Obama gained admittance to the two Ivies, Columbia and Harvard.

The insinuation is that Obama was either promoted by nefarious and unspecified helpers or was a beneficiary of affirmative action. Either suggestion could be scotched by Obama releasing college transcripts that show evidence of his stellar academic performance at Occidental (indicating he had the grades to get into Columbia) or Columbia (indicating he had the grades to get into Harvard Law School).

It’s really quite simple, but Obama has not done it, mainly because he’s never had to. People have always taken his brilliance for granted, as evidenced by his deep and sonorous voice uttering words mostly written by others.

I have no idea what Obama’s grades actually were, but I’d certainly be interested in knowing. It’s not that I think grades are the measure of all things, either; plenty of intelligent people don’t have very good ones. But Obama has always ridden on the idea that he’s an academic star, and it would be nice to know if he really was one.

It does seem to be clear, however, that once Obama got to Harvard Law he did pretty well, graduating magna cum laude, which according to Harvard means in the top 10% of the class (his Law Review presidency was an elective office, and therefore does not count). But that’s after the fact. When he graduated from Columbia it was a different story:

Obama graduated from Columbia University (to which he transferred after his first two years at Occidental College in California), with a degree in Political Science without honors, so had a GPA less than a 3.3.

Trump appears to have hired a team of investigators to look into this sort of thing (he certainly has the money to do so). He has said, “”I heard he was a terrible student, terrible…How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” He doesn’t offer evidence that Obama was a bad student, but the question of what sort of student Obama was is a valid one, and it’s something the MSM should have asked back in 2007, when Obama officially became a presidential candidate.

If you look at much of the commentary on Trump’s question, you will find the query treated as either a joke or a racist outrage or some combination of the two (see this, this, and this, for example). It shows just how untouchable Obama still is to many people.

Are they frightened of what such an inquiry might reveal? I don’t know, but my guess is that many of them truly do believe that Obama is a genius and of course his transcripts would reflect that. And that Donald Trump is a fool.

Or a Fool.

[ADDENDUM: More from Ace on the subject of Obama's academic record. Read the whole thing. But one of the most interesting parts is the following:

Where I went to school, magna was reserved for the top 5%. When Obama was at Harvard, it was much, much easier to grab that accolade -- only after he graduated did they institute a policy limiting magna to 10% and cum laude to 30%, which means, of course, before he graduated the honors were given out much more freely.

How freely? This freely:

"Under the old system, 76% of Harvard Law grads earned honors, the school said."

Eric adds:

"So when Obama graduated in 1991, all he had to do was graduate in the top 76% of the class to get a cum laude honor. The article doesn't specify, but I expect that the cutoff for Magna Cum Laude was 50%. Which means a C student could graduate with a Magna Cum Laude."

I had always read that a magna degree from Harvard Law meant Obama was in the top 10% of his class, which would be an impressive achievement. This new information casts a great deal of doubt on that. Here's the full article from 1999:

When members of Harvard Law School's class of 1999 receive their prestigious degrees Thursday, 36% fewer graduates than last year will be awarded with honors, the school said Wednesday.

The relative scarcity of honors grads is the result of a new policy intended to boost the value of a cum laude degree and remove the stigma associated with not graduating with honors, Harvard Law spokesman Mike Chmura said.

Under a system implemented three years ago that first took effect with this year's class, Harvard Law said it will limit magna cum laude degrees to the top 10% of the class. The next 30% will receive cum laude degrees.

The policy for summa cum laude, the highest honor, is unchanged. One summa degree was awarded this year, Harvard Law School said.

Under the old system, 76% of Harvard Law grads earned honors, the school said.

Wow.]

58 Responses to “Trump: Obama’s gadfly and jester”

  1. Libby Says:

    I don’t want Trump to be president or even on the ballot (as the Republican or an Independent candidate).

    However, I could not be happier about his campaign to force Obama to reveal some very basic information about himself that every other serious candidate for the presidency has had to share. It’s about someone took on this glaring double standard.

    While his most recent accusations about bad grades have been crude, you’ve got to appreciate him throwing down the gauntlet. All through the ’08 campaign we were told how brilliant Obama is. Now Obama is in a position to to either prove him wrong by revealing his grades or remain silent. And Trump is finally making Obama’s silence look suspicious.

  2. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Trump is many things. He’s got a very transparent (as far as I know) public record. He has a huge ego, just like Obama. Unlike Obama he has a record of accomplishment. (Though far from unblemished.) He knows how to lead and Obama doesn’t. It appears at this juncture that he is not afraid of the MSM or the Obamaites. All of this is refreshing when you watched how reticent McCain was to take off the gloves in 2008.

    Many of his claims about what he would do, particularly with respect to China and the oil sheiks in the ME, sound like a lot of bombast to me, but maybe they really have been rolling us for many years and we just have to stand up to them to change it. Unfortunately, the Chinese and ME sheiks are not above putting money on someone who is more compliant such as Obama.

    Challenging Obama’s credentials was considered “racist” in 2008 and is still labeled as such by the MSM. However, as long as Trump keeps trumpeting (could not resist that one) these issues, I think many independents may begin to ask why Obama has kept these details out of view.

    Trump may not get the nomination (and I hope he doesn’t), but he is blazing the trail for all the R candidates, should they choose to follow.

  3. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Can’t find the blog which said, I think yesterday, that Obama had some Muslim big shot pushing/advocating him for Harvard.
    Colleges are notable for weighting unastounding applications by accompanying money.
    See Yale Press and cutting the Motoons from a book on the Motoons due to a donation from a Saudi.
    And was it Harvard which had a cartel of profs shilling for Gaddafi? For pay, of course. One of the Ivies.

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    Trump is just fine as a gadfly as long as he does not overstay his welcome.

    I know that I am a suspicious and cynical person; still I am not sure that I put give much credence to the Magna Cum Laude achievement at Harvard Law. I have never trod the halls of a prestigious Ivy league school; but, I have been given to understand that once you are in, you are virtually assured of completing with some accolades. This was alleged to be particularly true of Law schools. How much more likely for a well sponsored person of color?

    Relative to the above, I noted that even in my humble graduate school, populated exclusively by military types, the Professors were reluctant to give anything below a C; A’s and B’s were the norm. (Of course they may have been afraid of us) Heck, I made the Dean’s list twice. So, how much more likely that paying students, or those of their sponsors, are stroked heavily at a place like Harvard.

  5. Occam's Beard Says:

    I second Libby’s take 100%. Trump is doing yeoman’s work in forcing the MSM to actually address the issue. He’s not Presidential material, but he’s nevertheless rendering the Republic a much-needed service.

    But Obama has always ridden on the idea that he’s an academic star, and it would be nice to know if he really was one.

    I guarantee he was not. He lacks any of the indicia of a formidable intellect, whether they be verbal and/or mathematical skill, facility in abstract reasoning, or just general knowledge. I’d guess he was at best a journeyman student.

    And the magna cum laude from Harvard Law doesn’t mean a thing, in my opinion, for several reasons. First, and most obviously, if he had the requisite grades, then call for releasing his transcript should have occasioned no resistance. If he were legitimately in the top 10% of his class, then his transcripts must reflect that performance, right?

    Second, consider Laurence Tribe’s actions in this connection. Just before the election, Tribe claimed that Obama was the most brilliant student he’d ever had at HLS. Really? Where was the contemporaneous evidence? If Tribe thought that at the time, he doubtless could’ve made one phone call, reiterated that assessment, and gotten Obama a prestigious Federal clerkship. One at the Supreme Court wouldn’t have been out of the question.

    Instead Obama goes off to Chicago as a garden-variety associate at Sidley Austin where he does … pretty much nothing, by all accounts. Does that modest position comport well with Tribe’s latter day assessment? Of course not. Tribe would have been beside himself to see such a star throw away such an opportunity (an opportunity not just for Obama, but also for Tribe, to be made to look good by a protege). Conclusion: Tribe’s assessment was the political equivalent of a litigation-induced opinion.

    My guess: Obama received his magna from an affirmative action boost by the faculty. (I can hear the faculty committee now: “Well, he did try hard, and he’s had to overcome so much coming from poverty [a favorite liberal meme, even though it's not true in Obama's case], and we need to help these people, and so … we’ll give him credit for ‘life experiences.’” Heads nodding all around the committee table.) In short, exactly the way he apparently became the unpublished president of the Law Review – as a minority mascot.

  6. nohype Says:

    In making sense of asymmetric information, economists assume that people respond to incentives, or that people reveal those things that are in their interest to reveal and hide those things that are in their interest to hide. That Obama hides his academic records either means that whatever is in them would harm him or that he is too stupid to do the things that are beneficial to him. No one I know finds the second possibility plausible.

    It is interesting watching the Obama fans trying to spin this.

  7. Jack Says:

    Oldflyer,

    I agree with you, though your concern may be mostly related to Harvard (Columbia apparently did him no favors grade-wise). About 10 years ago, specifically after pressure from the other Ivy League schools, Harvard was forced to re-analyze its grading policies, as it was found that in almost all classes, over half the students were getting A’s, not because everyone had 93%+ averages, but because there were lax grade demarcations. It was thought Harvard did this grade inflation to give their students an advantage when applying to the top professional schools.

    So if that was rampant at an undergrad level up to about 10 years ago, what was going on at the Law School when Obama was there? Wouldn’t they also follow the institutional policy of grade inflation to give their grads a leg up when seeking top jobs?

    So I take Obama’s magna cum laude in Law School with a grain of salt. I didn’t attend law school, but I would assume it’s much more subjectively graded than med school, which I did attend, where it was mostly objective right/wrong-based. If so, what liberal professor wouldn’t be partial to their minority students?

  8. Occam's Beard Says:

    Oldflyer’s comment posted while I was typing is exactly on target:

    I know that I am a suspicious and cynical person; still I am not sure that I put give much credence to the Magna Cum Laude achievement at Harvard Law. I have never trod the halls of a prestigious Ivy league school; but, I have been given to understand that once you are in, you are virtually assured of completing with some accolades. This was alleged to be particularly true of Law schools. How much more likely for a well sponsored person of color?

    Oldflyer, in this context, “suspicious and cynical” = “realistic.” In addition, the average grade at Harvard (undergrad; don’t know about the law school) used to be an A-, IIRC. Displease the students and win a tete-a-tete with the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Corporation is only too aware that today’s students are tomorrow’s potential donors.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    Oops, Jack made the same point while I was typing. I’ve got to type faster!

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    It was thought Harvard did this grade inflation to give their students an advantage when applying to the top professional schools.

    The main factor is the tight focus on research, the key to professional advancement for the faculty. For them it’s more time-efficient (and easier on the stomach lining) to swim with the current, grade generously (as everyone else does), and get back to research, rather than to try to hold the line and to have to go two falls out of three with every importunate undergrad unhappy about his grade.

    It’s rather like the incentives of politicians negotiation with public sector unions, now that I think about it.

  11. stumbley Says:

    I was valedictorian of my high school class. For my efforts, I got a free subscription to Reader’s Digest. The hispanic graduate in my class with the “D” average got a full ride to Harvard.

    I got a 3.8 average in college. I’m not sure that the other guy ever graduated. Obama never struck me as particularly intelligent. I can speak “Austrian” too.

  12. T Says:

    Whether or not Trump makes it through the primary gantlet, I can only quote Glenn Harlan Reynolds, “I will vote for a syphilitic camel for president before I’ll vote for Obama!”

    But I think that Trump is very consciously playing the “Fool” as Neoneocon noted above. He realizes he can get away with saying things that others can’t. He can do this because, simply, he visibly is not bothered by the cries of “racism,” “birther” or “clown” that make less formidible egos quake in their boots. In doing so he brings a certain toughness to the political dialogue that other candidates will have to match. Why? Because Trump realizes that he’s boisterously saying what many Americans of lesser courage have been whispering for the last two years.

    He is also drawing attention to the biased mainstream media not by calling them out on that bias, but by repeating over and over in very public fora the questions that they should have been asking for the past three years. Trump’s spotlight exposes their reticence and willing incompetence as much or more than it exposes Obama.

  13. gcotharn Says:

    Trump is conducting a marketing campaign. Trump is marketing the idea that Obama is a fraud who misled the American public. Trump knows how to market a concept. Trump is selling the idea in language which Americans understand. No high falutin nonsense about going back on his word re esoteric technicalities: campaign funding, et al. Who can keep up with that horse manure?! But, we Americans all know that Obama represented himself as a brilliant man! If Obama lied about that, then HE LIED TO US. This is what Trump is marketing, and we Walmart Americans are who Trump is marketing to.

  14. T Says:

    Just returned from Kyle-Anne Shriver’s Article at American Thinker:

    “Donald Trump is striking all-American chords during an anti-American presidency, and the supposedly very smart people don’t get that? Oh, I think they do get it, but are scared down to their little woolies over what national calamities might ensue if The Donald is “allowed” to continue rattling the presidential goal posts.”

    Read the entire article:
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/the_chord_donald_trump_strikes.html

  15. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I wouldn’t vote for Trump either, but he is doing great work as a trail breaker for other, more serious candidates by broaching subjects that will now be talked of and broached, too, by those candidates that have any guts.

    As for the Muslim who was pushing—soliciting money and letters of recommendation to get Obama into Harvard Law–it was Black Nationalist and convert to Islam, Dr. Khalid al-Masour, who–likely not coincidentally—was a financial adviser to Saudi billionaire Prince Awaleed bin Talal, a Saudi Prince who has been so active in donating millions for Islamic Studies to influential U.S. universities and buying influence over the teaching of Middle Eastern studies here in the U.S. and over our cadre of Middle East experts in the process (see http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/ and scroll down several articles to the headline “Trump—Obama was a terrible student”…Black Muslim Nationalist Campaigned to Get Obama into Harvard”.

  16. Jack Says:

    More importantly, popular talk shows like The View and Good Morning America can’t seem to get enough of Trump. So not only is he voicing things that were either not voiced or silenced in 2008, but he’s doing so in very public forums and on a regular basis.

    People who were kept in the dark by the MSM about issues like Obama hiding his entire educational record, and who weren’t curious on the internet, are now hearing of this for the first time. Those of us here, our minds are set. Those at leftist websites, their minds are set. Trump is reaching those in between who didn’t know enough to care.

  17. physicsguy Says:

    Even this afternoon, CNN is pushing the “Obama was born in Hawaii” response to the furor that Trump has brought on.

    For myself, I really don’t have much doubt he was born in Hawaii. What CNN, and the rest of the left keep trying to do is deflect the issue away from what Trump is really saying: there’s something on the birth certificate that BHO wants hidden. By trying to reframe the issue into “those nuts who dont’ believe he was born in Hawaii”, they can avoid the more substantive questions.

    I don’t see Trump as President, but he raises a great point: someone doesn’t spend millions of dollars to keep not only a birth certificate hidden, but also grades, law records, etc. unless that person has something serious to hide. I say, let the bulldog Trump loose and see what he comes up with.

  18. Oldflyer Says:

    Jack and others are right on. I sometimes resent that Trump 24/7 is sucking the O2 away from candidates I favor. After more reflection, I realize that at this point he is gaining access that others will never be granted. There is a long way to go, and I believe that if he keeps hammering Obama on various “ancillary” issues, it will take a toll. Facing facts, many our brethern and sistern(?) are not swayed by the serious issues. Ancillary issues count heavily in many minds.

    But, as I said; so long as Trump does not overstay his welcome. If he turns on fellow Republicans, then the clock has run out in my mind.

  19. Jack Says:

    Personally, I think there’s a certificate and it’s not out of the ordinary.

    I think it was Democratic strategy by Obama’s handlers to lock it away at the same time as his grades/test scores. I think the grades/test scores were the big deal and the birth certificate was the red herring.

    In order for the idea of Obama to work, he had to convince people that he was super-intelligent. He had the diplomas, and his handlers could get professors to attest to his brilliance as a favor. All that was needed was to hide all the evidence to the contrary, namely the grades and test scores that would show him to be mediocre.

    At the same time, they knew that, at first, before Obama was well known, questions would arise about his actual credentials. The media made an issue of rooting out grades, coursework, and SAT scores for Bush, Kerry, Gore, Lieberman, and Dean in the prior 2 elections. Early on, the MSM at first wasn’t picking sides with Obama or Hillary. So his handlers had to create a diversion, and they did it through the birth certificate.

    They locked up the certificate and floated rumors that he was born in Kenya. And that story ran from there, helped along by the strange refusal to release the long form and many Kenyans eager for the publicity “verifying” that he was born there. The right-leaning conspiracy nuts went to work and did their thing, as expected.

    The media was now distracted from the grades and more concerned with outing “racists” that claimed Obama wasn’t an American citizen. At this point, anyone questioning his grades would be branded with the same broad brush as a fringe lunatic. Instead of investigating the issues, the MSM prefered to marginalize anyone who questioned the birth certificate, and few did.

    The internet buzz on right-wing sites was a lot more focused on the birth certificate before the election (because after all, that issue could disqualify him) with the grades as an afterthought.

    Obama was thus able to do his thing in the primaries, with the media “proving” to America that he was a genius because they said so (or at least, made no effort to prove otherwise), and with the media “proving” to America that he was a great orator because they said so.

  20. Libby Says:

    Just posted on Ace of Spades, there’s a linked article that states that prior to a change in 1999 “…76% of Harvard Law grads earned honors.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jun/10/news/mn-46135

  21. Jack Says:

    There a lot of wiggle room to argue both sides of the aisle here.

    Let’s assume that magna cum laude meant at that time that he simply graduated in the top half of his class.

    The Left can then say that as a super-genius, he likely was in the top 5-10%.

    We can say that as a mediocre student, he was more likely near the 50% cutoff.

    I need more information on what goes into law school grades. How much do grades depend on subjective things like essays, papers, and “performance evaluations” versus objective things like multiple choice questions or fill in the answer where one is either right or wrong?

    If the grades are mostly subjective, who would find it hard to believe that as one of the few black students, Obama wouldn’t be given the benefit of doubt by his professors (and fellow students), enough to push him into the top half of his class?

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Jack: in many law schools, exams are essays but the student’s name is not on the exam. There is an identifying number instead, so they are graded without the professor knowing whose paper it is. I have no idea whether this was the policy at Harvard Law when Obama was there, though.

  23. Curtis Says:

    Trump is an opportunist and saw the opportunity for personal advancement. It was and is a perfect fit for him. The pride and arrogance of Obama created this opportunity. In essence, Trump is our Obama. While that has advantages, it has the same disadvantages that Obama presents. Pride goeth before a fall.

  24. Jack Says:

    Curtis, not that Trump is going to hide his grades or test scores, but if he wasn’t a good student, the media will bash him with it and he’ll be branded as another Bush who needed daddy to get him into Wharton.
    But I doubt he’d be stupid enough to speculate on Obama as a terrible student if he was one himself.

  25. Scott Says:

    I just viewed a video narrated by Bill Whittle at Hot Air. This is the first in a series which he intends to release over time.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/04/26/video-perusing-the-public-record-of-barack-obamas-life/

    From the video, I learned that Obama’s father got straight As while earning his undergrad degree. Then he went to Harvard to get his graduate degree. So Obama’s father was obviously very bright. And whatever Obama’s undergrad grades were, when he applied to Harvard he had the huge advantage that his father also went to Harvard.

    Obama admits he got less than great grades while at Occidental. Then somehow he was able to transfer from Occidental to Columbia. Then he rode his father’s coattails as a Harvard alum, affirmative action, and his Columbia undergrad degree to get into Harvard Law.

    I can see a logical path going from Columbia to Harvard. I’m more intrigued about how he was able to transfer from Occidental to Columbia.

  26. Parker Says:

    stumbley Says:
    April 26th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
    I was valedictorian of my high school class. For my efforts, I got a free subscription to Reader’s Digest. The hispanic graduate in my class with the “D” average got a full ride to Harvard.

    I got a 3.8 average in college. I’m not sure that the other guy ever graduated. Obama never struck me as particularly intelligent. I can speak “Austrian” too.

    That says it all!

    Obama is not brilliant, he is someone who conforms, 100%, to this list of personality traits:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001930/

    I wish to add, he needs a tele-prompter in a kindergarten classroom.

  27. Doom Says:

    So, one is a jester. Does that mean his default master is a clown as well? It seems everything you imply, and seemingly reasonably, to the Donald (duck), could easily be ascribed to Obama but with regards to academia rather than the duck to the clown in chief? It doesn’t take mental gymnastics to see that, if that is what you are suggesting.

    Hey, just… thinking out loud a bit here, trying to see if I am missing or hitting the target.

  28. Henry Bowman Says:

    Obama’s grades do not matter, for to the Dems, Obama is Awesome. That’s all some folks need to know.

  29. Artfldgr Says:

    he is on which side?

    he is helping secure a win for obama

    duh

  30. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: I would agree with that assessment if Trump insists on running as a third party candidate if he’s not the Republican nominee. Otherwise I’m not sure that I see your point.

  31. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    The first suit, in 2008 before the election, seeking to compel production of Obama’s birth certificate, filed by Philadelphia Lawyer and former Democratic Party official Philip Berg, laid out three or four different sequential legal scenarios at different points in Obama’s early life, each one of which would have made Obama, at best, someone who had first Kenyan, then dual U.S. and Indonesian citizenship or, finally, someone who was an Indonesian citizen and sometime after his return from Indonesia at age 10 and before his 18th birthday, as the law required, might have petitioned to become a “naturalized U.S. citizen”—but none of these scenarios made Obama the “natural born citizen” that the Constitution requires.

    Thus, Berg’s suit (see Berg’s chaotic website obamacrimes.org) not only asked for production of the supposed original, long form Hawaiian birth certificate, but it also sought the production of any other documents relating to Obama’s time in Indonesia and his citizenship status while there, his passport records relating to his trip to Pakistan during college, and any State Department/Consular documents related to Obama’s possible application for naturalization.

    I note that all of the commentators and controversy have focused on the Hawaiian birth certificate, but no one is really ocusing on Obama’s time in Indonesia and what the legal ramifications of that period of his life might be for his claim to the status of “natural born citizen.”

    It may well be that Obama’s time in Indonesia is the real crux of the matter, and that this emphasis on the Hawaiian birth certificate is a deliberate “distraction,” diverting attention away from the real issue.

  32. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The anti-birthers could say, “So he wasn’t born in the US. So what? It’s a different world.”
    But they don’t. Implicitly, they validate the importance of that aspect of eligibility for POTUS.
    Which will put them in a bind if it turns out that Obama really isn’t eligible.
    Their “So what?” is going to be kind of lame. I fully expect somewhere north of 99% of the anti-birthers to go the “So what?” route if and when. But their integrity (oof! hurt to say that) will be obvious.
    ‘cept it already is, on so many other issues.

  33. Curtis Says:

    I AM A PROUD BIRTHER!

    What bothers me about those who aren’t birthers is their assumption that birthers believe there was a conspiracy at Obama’s birth to hide the fact he was born in Kenya and that someone planted evidence for the one great day he would be PRESIDENT.

    Well, this a straw man argument. Birthers merely don’t know where Obama was born and think they should. Whether or not verification has been strictly required is not the point. Our President should lead the pack in demonstrating his desire to show conformance with the Constitution.

    But Obama does the opposite. He spends 2 million dollars to keep mum on the subject and has employed the slander and smear defense to anyone who “dares” to ask.

  34. Parker Says:

    While I think there is something odd about his birth record that BHO does not want to make public, I seriously doubt he was born somewhere other than Hawaii. To me, this media tempest detracts from the important issues concerning BHO’s past associations and his undeniable record as POTUS.

    IMO Trump is serving a purpose in that he is calling into question BHO’s past. But in the end, Trump is of little consequence because Trump goes nowhere in the Iowa caucuses, nor the NH primaries. Anyone here who takes Trump seriously needs to think about the fact that he’s donated heavily to democrat candidates over the years, and as recently as 2010.

  35. rickl Says:

    After reading the post, it only confirms my view that Ivy Leaguers must be kept out of positions of power at all costs. They are a real menace.

    The typical community college graduate is probably better suited–and more qualified–to govern.

    So, for that matter, is the average auto mechanic or convenience store owner.

  36. Promethea Says:

    Rickl . . .

    I’m with you. Just as “affirmative action” has made me suspicious of any medical or legal professional with a black or hispanic background (sorry, folks, but that’s what aff ac does), so has a “Harvard degree” make me automatically suspicious about the person’s qualifications.

    That’s what cheapening the brand does. Harvard’s brand is in the toilet. Ditto other Ivy League schools.

    Only a candidate who has run a business would impress me now. (Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Herman Cain, etc.) I automatically disqualify all the other types.

    It will be interesting to see how Rahm Emanuel runs Chicago. He’s on my s**t list. Maybe he can prove me wrong.

  37. Rathtyen Says:

    I believe Trump is attempting to do two things:

    The first is he is doing “an Obama”. Obama lost his first political race, but won the ones before becoming president by having his opponents knocked out of the race either on a technicality (such as “printed” rather than “signed’), or with the leaking of confidential divorce records to the newspapers, causing opponents to retire – twice. The birth certificate issue resonates with the signatures issue, while the academic record accords strongly with divorce records leaking – ie these are issues which will put Obama out of the race on a technicality, or cause sufficient loss of face to cause him to lose the election.

    This may or may not work depending on whether there really is an issue, and whether it can be demonstrated. There certainly appears to be something amiss with the Obama “story”, and if Trump sticks at it, he may turn something up.

    The second thing Trump appears to be doing is levelling the playing field. If he does run, the press are going to scrutinise him intensely. What Trump is doing is making it more difficult for them to do that without also scrutinising Obama. This works for Trump, but it also works for someone like Palin, whom I increasingly think will be the Republican contender.

    Until now, anyone who criticised Obama and/or his policies was accused of racism etc. Trump is changing all that. He is opening Obama up to scrutiny, and that is the one thing Obama cannot handle. Not only does it reveal the holes in the Obama story, but the President doesn’t like it. He gets testy with journalists, and that in turn makes it look like he is hiding more (plus the hell hath no fury like a journalist scorned perspective). If Obama loses the press, he loses everything, but he is too arrogant to realise that.

    I think Obama is facing the perfect storm. It’s a year and a half to the election. The economy is probably going to sour, and unemployment rise in that time. Interest rates will go up, and there is a good chance by then the electorate will fondly remember $4 gallon petrol, as it pushes to well, well beyond that price (wait for a terrorist attack on Saudi refineries and/or pipelines). The “lets make everyone like America by bowing and being completely ineffective” foreign policy is likely to be demonstrably a total disaster, and whoever replaces Hillary this year will be even worse than she has been. Plus Hillary will be mounting a primary campaign, splitting the Democratic party, possibly permanently.

    And on top of this, with everything going to dust, because of Trump the press will finally be poking into Obama’s past, highlighting how much of his story has been a fake. Just as Obama is trying to blame Bush and claim himself as the only possible saviour, his real history will likely reveal him as a flake. Just when Obama desperately wants the press to be focussed on Palin’s supposed negatives, the story will be about his short-fallings instead.

    And “The Donald” will be able to claim a big chunk of the credit.

  38. Parker Says:

    rickl says, ” After reading the post, it only confirms my view that Ivy Leaguers must be kept out of positions of power at all costs. They are a real menace.”

    Agreed. I favor a Constitutional amendment restricting Ivy League grads from obtaining any elected office beyond mayor of Wasila, Alaska. ;-)

    “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.” — William F. Buckley, Jr.

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    Rathtyen: Obama won his first and second campaigns, for State Senate (the first victory by disqualifiying through technicalities all of his Democratic opponents, including mentor Alice Palmer). It wasn’t until 2000, when he ran for US House, that he lost to Bobby Rush, his only loss.

    A while after that came the two wins through leakage of divorce records.

  40. Trimegistus Says:

    I know it’s cool how Trump is finally putting Obama on the defensive . . .

    But as a candidate, let alone as a President, Trump would be a disaster. I really don’t know much about his political beliefs — but I do know he has donated to Democrats in the past, and many of his views are in synch with theirs.

    I hope he is satisfied with his brief period of attention and goes back to building condos.

    What I fear is that he’s going to go third-party and hand Obama the Presidency on a God-damned silver platter.

  41. expat Says:

    I agree that Trump is raising questions in a way that gets the attention of the public, and I think it is great that someone is finally showing the miserable vetting done by the media. I am worried by the blogosphere commenters who are now totally in Trump’s camp because of his in-your-face style. At some point. Trump will take things a step too far, and the Dems will use this to characzerize all Obama opponents as nuts. I worry that the serious criticisms will once again be buried under tabloid-style characterizations similar to the gun-toting, religious fanatic, racist, haters of the poor that have been used against us. I wish that the average voter would read a few months’ of comments from this blog to learn how intelligent, informed, and civil Obama’s opponents can be. In fact, I wish a few media types would check out Neo’s fans. Of course, that could deliver a serious blow to some inflated egos.

  42. Parker Says:

    “Rathtyen: Obama won his first and second campaigns, for State Senate (the first victory by disqualifiying through technicalities all of his Democratic opponents, including mentor Alice Palmer). It wasn’t until 2000, when he ran for US House, that he lost to Bobby Rush, his only loss.

    A while after that came the two wins through leakage of divorce records.”

    BHO was aided and a betted by the Daley machine throughout his political career; and now William Michael Daley is the new Rahm who was enabled by the Daley machine. Circular cluster copulation.

  43. blert Says:

    Saudi billionaire Prince Awaleed bin Talal…

    Is but a front man for the King’s monied interests.

    He has NO personal money. ALL of his investments are at the behest of the King.

    Thusly: Fox and Citigroup…

    All such investments would attract way too much controversy if it was widely understood that they were the King’s.

    Oh how easily the kafir are fooled.

    Our man famously offered an insulting $10,000,000 to New York for 911 victims. It was rightly refused.

    I really wish that this clown was properly exposed: ALL of his amazing wealth is but a portfolio for the King.

    In an absolute monarchy he has zero rights to such wealth — it must be surrendered at a trice.

    Wherever this clown goes, so goes the King.

    A front man, plain and simple. NOTHING he does is in anyway divergent from the King.

  44. strcpy Says:

    The “birther” issue is one I find interesting.

    If he is *not* really born in the US he should have released it a few months into his Presidency. His mother was a US citizen and the courts *will* find that enough and so will over all public opinion (there are too many implications with pregnant women traveling and too many people under that situation). I can certainly see waiting until after the election due to not wanting to fight it (further it would have been, if handled well, a way to show “birthers” as being nutso).

    As is so much has been expended to hide it that it is, at best, neutral. If it turns out he wasn’t born in the US it shows a high level of dishonesty, if he turns out to have been born in the US then he just looks stupid for withholding it and the issue goes away (which is, by now.his best case for continued hiding). I had continually expected him to do a Bush like thing with the whole AWOL thing (which has a great deal of similarities in what I describe in the hiding and release of records at opportune times).

    Frankly I find this issue one of the most perplexing thing he has done. At this point there is *nothing* that can be on it that is worse than what is happening with his refusal and has been for a large number of months.

    As far as his transcripts go – I suspect that he is better off with whatever fallout happens from hiding it to the extreme. Too much *still* rides on his “brilliance” and his supporters ability to grasp at straws about it (that being the primary one).

    I don’t think the average voter is really going to care over all, indeed I suspect the average voter figures he is an affirmative action candidate anyway. But it *does* kill enthusiasm and gives ammunition to make his *supporters* look bad. Their enthusiasm is catching and is (IMO) primarily what got him elected – people like a party and it got them one.

    Sadly I think that opinions on politicians are so low it frankly doesn’t matter at all on any of this. The primary question on his reelection is who the republicans run. So far it looks like we are going to choose such a polarizing figure that it is going to be near impossible to get elected or such a wishy washy one that we might as well flip a coin. The vast majority of decent candidates look at the political climate and refuse to run (can’t say I blame them either).

  45. Roger Drew Williams Says:

    For what it’s worth, I heard an interview of Mr. Trump on the radio, during which he stated that he would NOT run as a third party candidate, because he was concerned about stealing conservative votes from a GOP candidate who could possibly defeat President Obama.

  46. Gary Rosen Says:

    If it can be shown he was only an average college student that would be important because it would show what a fraud has been perpetrated on the public by the MSM with their “Obama the genius” blather. But to me what is most glaring is the fact that the substantive accomplishments of his adult life after college and before Nov. 2008 amount to exactly zip dot squat.

  47. Beverly Says:

    Trump is breaking trail. Good for him for doing that.

    Re Hobama’s academic records: it’s become clear that he was an affirmative action Law Review president, because a magna-level graduate would never have cut the mustard in the past (you had to be Number One in your year, which means summa).

    The importance of it, really, is what it says about his character: do we have a liar and a sneak in the White House?

  48. texexec Says:

    Beverly: Yep, we do.

  49. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    “I need more information on what goes into law school grades. How much do grades depend on subjective things like essays, papers, and “performance evaluations” versus objective things like multiple choice questions or fill in the answer where one is either right or wrong?”

    In most law schools, especially at the time Obama was in law school (more or less the same time I was), grading usually depends on a single final exam — no essays, no homework assignments, no presentations, no midterms. The student’s written response to the final exam question or questions is identified by a number rather than a name, so the professor does not know whose paper s/he is grading — and most likely would not recognize handwriting since the professor had not seen any intermediate assignments.

    This system came about, in part, because the exams themselves are highly subjective. Most most law school exams are variations on “issue-spotters” where the student is presented with a complicated fact pattern and asked to write an essay identifying all the potential legal issues and how they would likely be resolved. Multiple choice questions and the like are comparatively rare, though they do appear on the Bar exam.

    I don’t know if Harvard did it this way when Obama was there, but if so, it means his grades probably did reflect achievement rather than affirmative action or special consideration of some other kind.

  50. strcpy Says:

    Well, Obama released his long form birth certificate. His speech certainly tried the rope-a-dope thing of wasting his time and Republicans are wasting time when real problems are going on.

    It will be interesting to see what happens now. It appears as if everything is in order and the whole thing was a political ploy (nothing being hidden).

    I think that window flew months ago and it makes him look, at best, neutral and at worst trying to hold it for “perfect” timing – which leads his attempt at spin as whining.

    Now if Trump starts asking the right questions about “why not earlier” then Obama can easily be painted as a purely partisan hack.

  51. Curtis Says:

    So. Obama will show good manners only when forced to.

    There was a spiritual element to the refusal to release the birth certificate. Christians call it rebellion and Obama and his crowd have shown they are in rebellion against established tradition and authority.

    It is the act of a small child grown up but with his fist clenched and raised with the words “You can’t make me” ringing out.

    Many have come before but they were not believers and do not qualify as true rebels. I think there is an “inner circle” which does believe in spiritual forces, and they have chosen the side against what America, with all its diversity, has traditionally identified as good.

    Obama’s refusal was more than symbolic; it was symptomatic of a darkened will which is ultimately controlled and driven by someone else.

  52. Curtis Says:

    No long form yet. Just the COLB.

    I hope people see the real story here, which is that Obama declared himself above law, expectations, manners, and commonsense. Perhaps the whole thing was a ruse and now we are supposed to trust whatever Obama says “because remember that birth certificate thing!”

    To those who say it is a distraction, perhaps; but also is much more than that and central to understanding who Obama is. And there’s some irony in that.

  53. Occam's Beard Says:

    This could backfire on the Messiah, for several reasons.

    The obvious one is why this took so long, and why he wasted millions of dollars (IIRC) when apparently a good rummage around would have laid the issue to rest.

    But, secondarily, now that he’s provided this, why not release the transcripts too? Surely the pressure to do so will increase. I mean, after all, there was nothing untoward about the certificate of live birth, was there? And the universities doubtless have the transcripts. One letter to each, and a nominal fee, and voila! Three transcripts.

    It’ll be interesting to see his argument against doing so. The “this is a distraction from important work” rubbish won’t cut it for long, for how long does it take to tell a subordinate to draft a letter requesting the transcripts for his signature?

  54. JFM Says:

    Donald Trump is asking the questions that the mainstream press should have asked three years ago.

  55. IgotBupkis, President, United Gadfly Society Says:

    I have no idea what Obama’s grades actually were, but I’d certainly be interested in knowing.

    Racist.

  56. IgotBupkis, President, United Gadfly Society Says:

    Donald Trump is asking the questions that the mainstream press should have asked three years ago.

    …Try *SIX*

  57. IgotBupkis, President, United Gadfly Society Says:

    Colleges are notable for weighting unastounding applications by accompanying money.

    Puts me in mind of R.A.H.’s comment on this:


    “The secret is never to set up a permanent fund but to dole it out when the need is sharpest, every academic year. Done that way, you not only own a campus, but the town cops learn that it’s a waste of time to hassle you. A Univer$ity alway$ $tand$ $taunchly by it$ $olvent a$$ociate$; that’$ the ba$ic $ecret of $chola$tic $ucce$$.”


    – Robert A. Heinlein, “The Number of the Beast” -

    Also:


    “…I’ve heard that there are things no whore will do for money, but I have yet to find ANYTHING that a University Chancellor faced with a deficit will boggle at…”


    – Robert A. Heinlein, “The Number of the Beast” -

  58. IgotBupkis, President, United Gadfly Society Says:

    That Obama hides his academic records either means that whatever is in them would harm him or that he is too stupid to do the things that are beneficial to him. No one I know finds the second possibility plausible.

    Similarly for the whole “birther” thing. I really doubt that it holds anything damning as far as his “birthplace” goes, but am willing to bet it does have some other particularly embarrassing item — something like: “Father: Unknown” or something of that ilk.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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