There’s a laugh every second in this article in the New Yorker that quotes people Barack Obama knew in his community organizing and law school days in academia.
Laurence H. Tribe, a leading constitutional-law scholar and Obama’s mentor at Harvard, told me after Wednesday night’s debate with Mitt Romney, “Although I would have been happier with a more aggressive debate performance by the President, I’ve had to remind myself that Barack Obama’s instincts and talents have never included going for an opponent’s jugular. That’s just not who he is or ever has been.”
Will Burns, a Chicago alderman, who, as a student, worked for Obama in his (successful) 1996 campaign for the Illinois State Senate and his (unsuccessful) 2000 campaign for Congress, said that the format was too “loosey-goosey” for Obama, who failed to get aggressive with Romney.
“The President has always been someone who takes the truth seriously and has a great faith in the American people and their ability to handle big ideas,” Burns said.
Yeah, real serious about that truth thing.
Reverend Love grew close to Obama when Obama was a community organizer. He could tell that Obama was never particularly comfortable in the debate format. “He’s better out there by himself,” he said. “His personality has always been kind of contemplative. In that kind of format, when you are contemplative, it makes you seem not as quick on the draw.”
That and he can’t use a teleprompter in a debate.
A guy who taught Obama at Harvard (taught him everything except the basics such as “look into the camera when delivering your closing argument”):
“The reason I hate campaigns,” Edley continued, “is that being right on the substance isn’t good enough. That’s why I’m an academic. Of course, Obama knows that, but it’s also a question of what he cares about. I admire him for caring more about the substance than the tactics even if it makes me grimace when I watch him. Why does he do it? Look, we all do things in the short term that are not consistent with a long-term goal, whether it’s failing to save for retirement or watching TV instead of doing your homework. It’s called being human rather than being the ideal client of your handlers. It makes it harder to achieve his goal, which is to get reëlected. But if you wanted authenticity you got it [on Wednesday] night. And, really, you got it in an unsurprising way. We know that Obama skews cerebral and that he has never liked debates as a way to engage issues. He has said that many times.”
I love it when academics claim they’re academics because the real world can’t handle the volume and intensity of their truth. In actuality it’s precisely the opposite. Many, probably this guy included, hold court at universities for decades because in academia there is little personal consequence and accountability for being dreadfully wrong. That’s why so many of Obama’s economic advisers have skedaddled back to the safety of the campus after venturing outside its walls just long enough to help wreck the economy.
We’ll close with a look at the president who lost the debate Wednesday because he “skews cerebral”: