April 27th, 2012

Obama the foreigner

The Obama-the-dogeater flap has highlighted the perception that Obama is, in some very basic way, foreign.

That meme reached its highest level among birthers, who believe he is not even a natural born citizen. But the general idea that Obama’s policies somehow reflect a foreignness—if not a literal physical one, then one of perspective and orientation—has been a fringe thought and a risky one (racist!!!) to express until recently.

Obama not only grew up in a foreign environment—Indonesia—he also had one parent who was foreign. Granted, his father didn’t have much direct influence on him, but if Dreams From My Father is any indication, the idea of his exotic father did. Offhand, I can’t think of any previous president with that sort of story. Obama also has never released his academic records, so we have no idea how much American history he ever studied, although we can certainly imagine the subject was on the agenda at Punahoe. But that was a long, long time ago.

It’s interesting to take a look back to the 2008 campaign in light of all this. Apparently, Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn sensed this issue early on, and advised Hillary to paint Obama as “foreign.” She declined, and focused on his inexperience instead. I don’t think the “foreign” strategy would have worked well during that campaign, but Penn’s sense of it was correct, and subsequent events have borne that out:

In a March 2007 memo to the candidate, Mark Penn, a longtime pollster and strategist for the Clintons, urged the New York senator’s campaign to paint Barack Obama as “fundamentally” foreign…

The March 19, 2007, memo included a section titled “Lack of American Roots,” in which Penn recommended making an issue of Obama’s “diverse, multicultural” upbringing. Obama was born in Hawaii and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia before returning to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.

Obama’s “roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited,” Penn wrote. “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values.”

To avoid an overt attack, Penn recommended emphasizing the word “American” in Clinton’s various campaign messages — drawing a contrast to Obama but in subtler form…

Penn’s strategy was considered but dismissed, said a former campaign aide who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to be more forthcoming.

“Even if you concluded it would be a useful line of attack, some of us were queasy about it,” he said. “It’s fair to say that most people thought it would really rebound on her.”

Now we’re all feeling queasy. The “dog-eating Obama” story is a way to laugh at the whole phenomenon while at the same time acknowledging its power.

In 2008, Obama knew the foreigner meme might be tried, and he cleverly finessed it, just in case anyone had the temerity to attempt it. Remember when he said “They’ll say I have a funny name. They’ll say I don’t look those other guys on the dollar bills”? We all thought he was talking about race, but dummy us. I now think he was talking about this sense of foreignness as well as race, and making sure that no one would dare to raise the issue. And they didn’t.

28 Responses to “Obama the foreigner”

  1. blert Says:

    I can tell you from Island experience that most Hawaiian students NEVER study the American Civil War.

    Instead, the local schools there go into great detail about the Polynesian history and their sequence of kings.

    I’m not making that up.

    Any history that Barry got was from his biological father Frank Marshall Davis; decidedly to the Left.

    Born on August 4, 1961 — Barry was conceived circa election night November 1960 — probably immediately after Nixon, FMD’s nemesis, was defeated by the Chicago vote — FMD’s old stomping grounds.

    The Davis and Dunham households were within walking distance at the time.

    In comparison, no one can place Obama, Sr. in Stanley’s arms at that biologically essential moment in time.

    In Dreams, Barry tells us that he does not believe that Obama, Sr. ever married Stanley: no mementos, tales, presents nor pictures — not even a date specific exist to mark the occasion. HIS WORDS.

    ====

    The political history that Barry got was from an avowed member of the CPUSA — and you can bet it was a 20th Century history.

    One wag has said: it’s obvious, Obama was born in Brussels — for he’s a European. Nothing he is proposing strays from the European dream.

    The sine qua non of Barry: he’s an anti-American to his roots.

    Witness the anti-culturalization of his daughters and the family preference for vacation locales.

    Compared to Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton — it’s a night and day difference.

  2. Book Says:

    The fact that Obama STILL hasn’t released his academic records is proof, to me, that the media really has no intention of vetting this guy. 5 years later and STILL no research into his past.

    BTW: Another favorite tactic of the Obama campaign is to figure out where their candidate is weakest and then accuse the other guy of having that weakness.

    in other words: Palin has no foreign policy experience! And how long has she been in office, anyway?

    Romney is a radical! He’s extreme!

    Romney is rich and doesn’t understand what it means to be a REAL American!

    Etc.

  3. George Pal Says:

    “believe he is not even a natural born citizen”

    This belief is not of the type produced in spiritual apprehension devoid of proof but of proof produced by evidence.

    The Constitutional requirement for President – as well as vice-President (Marco Rubio take note) – is that he be a natural born citizen. The Constitutional requirement for Congress is citizen, without the “natural born” stipulation. Both Obama and Rubio were/are qualified for their Senate seats; neither Obama (father, as was alluded to in the post, was not a citizen) nor Rubio (neither parent was a citizen) are eligible for the higher offices.

    The soft “believe” should be dispensed with in favor of “know”.

    Clearly the word “foreign” attaches itself to Obama as naturally and organically as barnacles attach themselves to a hull. Just off the top of my head, the ostensibly Christian Obama has had far prettier things to say about Islam than he has ever said about Christianity. To say there is something exotic about him is to give short shrift to ALIEN.

  4. Curtis Says:

    Obama’s foreignness is only in part due to Hawaii and Indonesia and a Kenyan father (although I believe the grandpa, Stanly Dunham, is Obama’s father and the cover up is not so much about where but whom).

    There was a great American Thinker article about a set of malcontents, who shared an anti-American view, and had actually been fostered by certain elements of our own government. It was being raised exclusively in this milieu which produced the anti-American foreigner which is our current President. Because America is not a place; it is a state of mind; an adherence to principles stated in our Declaration of Independence and upon which our Constitution is written.

  5. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Tragically I doubt anything about Obama’s lack of mental health, moral compass or even competence will matter. He looks and sounds good on TV. With a public that never knew anything but peace and prosperity those are the only qualities that matter.

    Romney, on the other hand, only has a great deal of practical managerial and fiscal experience and appreciation of the threats the country faces but is less of a rock star. I am afraid the 2012 election is already over.

    Book I’ve noticed that Obama also takes credit for things he is not responsible for, like oil drilling, or tried to stop, like the Boeing Plant in SC, while condemning the things he is responsible for, like the out of control national debt. and claiming things are happening, like a decrease in unemployment, that are opposite of what is really happening.

  6. T Says:

    Perhaps the most damning critique of Obama’s mindset that I’ve read so far (sorry, do not remember the source) noted that it’s too bad we have a president who identifies more with his adolescence in a foreign country than with his adulthood in this one.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Obama does look more like Frank Marshall Davis than Barack Obama Sr. which of course means nothing without undeniable proof.

    The Constitutional requirement for President is that the candidate be a natural born citizen, even both parents being foreign born makes no difference, nor do they even have to be citizens. So where Obama was born is the determinative factor. Until someone can prove that Obama wasn’t born in the US, he is qualified Constitutionally.

    Yes, we all know he’s hiding it (otherwise why wouldn’t he release proof?) but legalities, a complicit media and a risk averse Republican party prevent any official investigation.

    Curtis,
    Before you accuse a family and besmirch those in the grave with charges of incest, it’s best to be on really firm ground. Stanley Dunham was white, here’s a picture taken in the 70′s: Ann Dunham with her father Stanley Dunham and children

  8. George Pal Says:

    Geoffrey Britain

    “The Constitutional requirement for President is that the candidate be a natural born citizen, even both parents being foreign born makes no difference, nor do they even have to be citizens. So where Obama was born is the determinative factor”

    Clearly if this is so then the Constitution is one big muddle, but it isn’t so and the Constitution is clear.

    The U.S. Constitution provides the requirements for the office of President at Article 2,Section 1, Clause 5:
    “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;

    The 14th Amendment states:
    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

    The 14th Amendment is a general citizenship clause, while Article 2, Section 1, provides the specific requirement for Presidential eligibility.

    Eligibility for House and Senate does not use the stipulation ‘natural born’ because citizenship is sufficient. Obviously in the case of the presidency the Founding Fathers thought a higher standard was required, one which made divided loyalties less likely. The stipulation ‘natural born’ is not defined in the Constitution but was understood to mean just what the Supreme Court judged it to mean nearly a hundred years later. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874), the Supreme Court of the United States identified, as natural-born citizens, only those who are born in the United States of citizen parents.”

    The great birth certificate kerfuffle has been a great waste of time. Even if the certificate were produced, even if it were genuine, it would prove only that Obama was a citizen and eligible for the House or Senate. It would not prove he was born in the United States of Citizen Parents.

  9. Curtis Says:

    Let me state my position of belief (opinion) more clearly: I think Stanley Dunham impregnated a black lady (probably a friend of Davis) either on purpose (Stanley wanted a son) or by accident.

    Ever see the picture of the very young Obama on Mr. Dunham’s shoulders? They’re a match.

  10. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Illegal Immigrant Mexicans are more culturally attuned to this country than Obama.

  11. Curtis Says:

    A great explication of the “Is Obama qualified to be President” issue, George Pal. He’s not and it doesn’t even require his birth certificate, long or short, both of which are fraudulent.

    Great line for Romney when Obama asks him to be transparent about his taxes. Romney should reply that he will as soon as Obama hires an independent expert to verify his birth certificate he released in response to The Donald’s challenges.

  12. Michael Says:

    Personally the bottom line is I no longer care where the President was born.

    I just want him gone.

  13. George Pal Says:

    Curtis,
    “He’s not and it doesn’t even require his birth certificate, long or short, both of which are fraudulent.”

    Thanks for the reminder. I commented a bit hastily on the birth certificate issue being a kerfuffle. As you say, both are fraudulent, and the issue is no small thing. Recently Judge Malihi, ruling on Obama’s eligibility to remain on the Georgia ballot offered:

    “For purposes of this analysis, this Court considered that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Therefore, as discussed in Arkeny [sic meant Ankeny], he became a citizen at birth and is a natural born citizen.”

    So the Judge considered Obama was born in the U.S. but there was never any evidence of such, no certificates were proffered as evidence. The judge merely accepted the certificate made public, but not entered as evidence, to be sufficient.

    So the birth certificate issue remains important and was in no way a great waste of time.

  14. Jan of MN Says:

    I’ve always believed that pursuing the birth certificate issue is a waste of time and politically counterproductive. On the other hand, it’s been clear to me since the 2008 campaign that Obama has no affection for his country. You can love your country and still believe it’s flawed, but that’s not Obama’s viewpoint. His passion is for wiping the USA as we know and love it off the face of the earth. The hard left sees this and that’s why they stick with him, as incompetent as he is.

    Maybe even the left wouldn’t hang on if they saw that his true obsession is with himself, with Marxist philosophy far down the list in second place.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Curtis: But Stanley Dunham was Barack Obama’s maternal grandfather. Why shouldn’t Barack Obama resemble him?

    For the record, I think Barack Obama’s father was Barack Obama senior. I don’t see any resemblance to Davis in Obama, either, for those who offer the Davis theory.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    As for the definition of “natural born citizen,” courts are pretty much of this opinion:

    The Congressional Research Service has stated that the weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion indicates that the term means one who is entitled under the Constitution or laws of the United States to U.S. citizenship “at birth” or “by birth,” including any child born “in” the United States, even to alien parents (other than to foreign diplomats serving their country), the children of United States citizens born abroad, and those born abroad of one citizen parent who has met U.S. residency requirements.

  17. Parker Says:

    “Maybe even the left wouldn’t hang on if they saw that his true obsession is with himself, with Marxist philosophy far down the list in second place.”

    I agree that Obama is a narcissist first and a leftist second; but for the hardcore left BHO is a vehicle, a means to an end. Once he departs the national scene he will be relegated to a mere footnote if the left can achieve its agenda of fascism forever. The left does not balk at eating dogs (personally I have nothing against eating dogs, although I love my dogs and would never eat them) or slaughtering babies or sending millions to the gulag, nor flinch at the idea of the Pol Pot’s killing fields.

    “American progressivism, from which today’s liberalism descended, was a kind of Christian fascism (many called it “Christian socialism”). This is a difficult concept for modern liberals to grasp because they are used to thinking of the progressives as the people who cleaned up the food supply, pushed through the eight hour workday, and ended child labor. But liberals often forget that the progressives were imperialists, at home and abroad. They were the authors of Prohibition, the Palmer Raids, eugenics, loyalty oaths, and, in its modern incarnation, what many call ‘state capitalism’.”

    — Jonah Goldberg

  18. richard saunders Says:

    I finally figured it out! Barry O is the Shadow! Remember? “He learned in the Orient the secret power to cloud men’s minds.” How else can you explain how a guy who never did an honest day’s work in his life convinced folks he’s a “man of the people?” Or how a guy who knows doodely-squat about the Constitution convinced people he’s a great constitutional scholar? Or convinced black people that a fellow who never set foot in a black family, a black neighborhood, or a black school, until after he graduated from Harvard Law is a black man?

    Ya gotta beleive!

  19. gcotharn Says:

    this, from Corsi from 2 days ago http://www.wnd.com/2012/04/film-presidents-father-not-barack-obama/ , has a side by side by side photo of Barack Sr, Barack Jr, and Frank Marshall Davis. W/o coming to a conclusion, I do see more resemblance between Barack Jr and Frank Marshall Davis. I point to the ridges which are under the eyes and beside the noses. Also, a ridge which is dead center in the upper lips. Also the hair line. Also, not in this photo, but I notice that both Frank Marshall Davis and Barack Jr have similar style moles on their faces. What it means, if anything I am not knowledgeable enough to say. But it does seem likely, to me, that Barack Jr would cover up a birth certificate which does not list Barack Sr as the father.

    More importantly, the Corsi article points to evidence that Columbia era Barack was associated with “May 19th” communist group of Columbia students, and May 19th was associated with the Weather Underground. I have long suspected that Ayers began shepherding the student aged Barack. This is the first direct evidence of which I have heard (though still have not seen the evidence).

  20. George Pal Says:

    neo-neocon,

    “The Congressional Research Service has stated that the weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion”

    The Service serves up scholarly legal and historical opinion but ignores historical legal findings such as Minor v. Happersett. I am not impressed (not that anyone would oooohhh and aaaahhh at my opinion).

    Historical opinion hadn’t much to go on and most always relied on comparisons; English law “natural born subject” and American “natural born citizen”, two legal definitions of which the first could offer nothing to the question at hand as the idea of a “subject” was entirely at odds with the Founding Fathers ideas. Clearly, citizens could never be thought subjects and legal extrapolations would have been difficult at best.

    As to the Constitution and statutory construction – Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803):
    “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect”.

    The difference between “citizen” and “natural born citizen” must exist as “natural born” cannot be presumed to be without effect.

    Finally, back to Minor v. Happersett – Chief Justice Waite in Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874):

    “The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

    Quite frankly, I am surprised by the Congressional Research Service opinion. I fully expect the answer to any inquiry as to the Constitutionality of X to be answered “Are you serious… are you serious”.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    So people elected Mad Dog Thug in Chief Obama and when it doesn’t work out, they blame…. guess who they are going to blame.

  22. LAG Says:

    Not ‘foreign,’ ‘cosmopolitan.’

  23. John Says:

    Obama is Keynesian, isn’t he?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBrHkxqNT7s

  24. KLSmith Says:

    Who’s his daddy? He’s the spawn of the devil.

  25. SteveH Says:

    But liberals love foreigners. It’s that grass is always greener thingy. Even while they stand in the most beautiful and lush meadow that ever existed.

  26. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    The stipulation ‘natural born’ is not defined in the Constitution but was understood to mean just what the Supreme Court judged it to mean nearly a hundred years later. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874), the Supreme Court of the United States identified, as natural-born citizens, only those who are born in the United States of citizen parents.”

    I grant, this is the first legitimate argument I’ve heard on this topic. I’ll have to ask about for an opinion of someone more familiar with the Law.

    I think the argument that BO is not natural born to be particularly unlikely, for the simple reason that there is a newspaper article announcing his birth in the Hawaiian newspapers of the times — there is simply no rational reason for doing this (if he’s not) unless you are going to claim a 50-year plot to make him PotUS, as that’s literally the ONLY possible reason to care if he’s “natural-born” or not. And given the attitudes of the parents all around, it seems decidedly unlikely that they would believe that the DAMN RACIST Amerikkka of the 50s would turn around and legally elect a black PotUS within 50 years.

    So the only valid argument you can make is the requirement that BOTH parents be citizens AND he be native-born as opposed to being native-born alone.

    I’d also like to know exactly how the FFs used that term, myself, in other writings.

  27. blert Says:

    IGot…

    The local Hawaiian newspapers would publish such announcements if they were even phoned in by relatives in the know.

    This was done all the time — even for babies born overseas to Americans.

    FYI, Hawaii has FOR THE LONGEST TIME permitted extra territorial births as being local births if the local family phones it in.

    Such birth notices are not/ never were vetted against any official standard.

  28. Curtis Says:

    Had no ability to post ot post until now, Neo.

    But, damn good point. Why shouldn’t he look like his grandpa?

    You’re right. It neve occurred to me. More of the “what I want to believe!’ Shoots down that theory. Thank you.

    That comment was devastating.

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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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