Thursday, July 19, 2012

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Me

Do you care about all the little things,
Or anything at all?
            —Thriving Ivory, Angels On The Moon

I’ve applied for a number of professional positions over the course of my career.  As to every single one, I had to submit a resume, the details of which were probed in interviews and third-party background checks.  My prospective employers, whether they were private law firms or publicly-held corporations, wanted to know what, exactly, my experience was and how it was relevant to the job.  They wanted to know where I went to school, what I studied, and how I did; for every one I had to provide access to my college and law school transcripts.

But never a tax return.  Not once.

No one would credibly attempt to deny that the office of President of the United States is a professional position.  With respect to the Presidency, long-gone are the days of the gentrified citizen-servant.  Too much is at stake, and frankly the position has evolved—unconstitutionally, in my view, but that’s a subject I’ve covered in any number of other posts—into one that wields far too much power to be left to amateurs.  We, the People, are the employers with respect to that position, which you may not have realized is the only nationally-elected office in the federal government.  And as the employers hiring someone to fill that position, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our fellow citizens to do our due diligence and ask those questions a rational employer would ask of the applicants presenting themselves for our consideration.

Well, for you on the Left, let me ask you:  What do you really know about the experience, qualifications, and background of candidate Barack Obama?

No, I’m not talking about birth certificates, or years lost in a cloud of pot smoke at Occidental or Columbia (although does it at least strike you as odd that he is the only Presidential candidate in modern history to hide his college records?).  But let me just bring a few items to your attention that you won’t find on CNN or in that dogeared and highlighted copy of Dreams From My Father you keep on your nightstand.

“Brilliant legal scholar” Obama’s name has never appeared on a published an academic work.

Obama is frequently touted as the first black President of the Harvard Law Review (law reviews are periodicals published by law schools containing scholarly articles by academics, practitioners, and students discussing legal trends and issues).  That’s an accomplishment, but what do you make of the fact that he is the only President/Editor-in-Chief of that august publication never to publish a work in his own name?  In fact, despite heading the Harvard Law Review and then spending twelve years on the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School, Obama never published a single scholarly work.  Nothing.  I don't have a link here, because I can't demonstrate a negative.  Do your own research—you won’t find one.  Not that published academic work is necessarily a prerequisite for the Presidency, but the complete absence of any is more than strange for a man who was head of the most prestigious law school publication in the world, and who spent a dozen years in the publish-or-perish world of academia.

Obama did virtually no work as a lawyer in private practice.

Following law school, Obama was hired as a junior associate at the Chicago firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland.  Supposedly this grounds him with real world private sector experience, except the striking thing is it shows he essentially didn’t have any.  According to the firm, Obama billed a grand total of 3,723 hours over an eleven year span from 1993 to 2004 (most of that during his first four years).  To put this in perspective, full time for a junior associate is generally considered to be 1,900 to 2,000 hours per year (40 hours/week x 50 weeks = 2,000), and most firms tacitly expect, if not expressly require, something more like 2,100 to 2,200.  2,400 billable hours in a year is common.  3,000 is not unheard of.  What this means is Obama essentially worked about a year and a half over his eleven years in private practice.  Even assuming the entire 3,723 hours was billed during Obama’s first four years, that’s barely 900 billable hours a year; not even half time.  And remember, this is the sum total of his professional experience outside of academia and elected office.

Obama won his Senate seats by kicking his opponents off the ballot or embarrassing them into dropping from the race.

In 1996, Obama launched his political career by running for the Illinois state senate.  He won the Democratic nomination by getting every one of his opponents kicked off the ballot.  In 2004 he ran for the U.S. Senate, and the campaigns of both his Democratic primary challenger and his Republican opponent unraveled when their divorce cases were magically unsealed and unsavory details leaked.   See Ben Wallis Wells, "Obama's Narrator," New York Times, April 1, 2007, and Editorial: "Why the Tribune Went to Court," Chicago Tribune, June 25, 2004.  


Obama tried to bribe Jeremiah Wright to shut up.

Fast forward to the 2008 campaign, and you’ll recall the uproar over the racist and anti-American comments littered throughout the sermons of Reverend Jeremiah Wright—the man Obama claimed as his inspiration for The Audacity of Hope before he disavowed having ever heard Wright say any of those things despite sitting in Wright’s pews for 20 years.  It has now surfaced—from the mouth of Reverend Wright himself—that Obama twice offered him a $150,000 bribe to stop making public appearances until after the 2008 election.  According to Wright, Obama told him “[y]ou know what your problem is?  You have to tell the truth.”

Problem, indeed.

Those of you who’ve been caught up in the hype—did you know these things?  Now that you do, do you care?

The fact of the matter is this man had done absolutely nothing of substance prior to being elected President.  He had never managed anything.  He had never been accountable for anything.  He had never had to produce a result.  As a lawyer he barely practiced law.  As a professor he barely taught, and generated no scholarship.  He won his elected offices not on his merits but by eliminating his competition, and even then he was more likely to vote “present” than to take a substantive position on meaningful legislation.  His only accomplishment of any note was to publish a book—about himself—and even that has proven to be more of an ideological work of semi-fiction than a factual autobiography.  When real details of his life started to cause him political problems, he tried to bribe his pastor to cover them up. 

It’s little wonder, then, that when placed in charge of the whole enchilada, this man with no real-world expertise at anything has been a disorganized, amateurish flop (his official website says “It’s still about hope”—it has to be, because it can’t be about “happening”).  The economy remains in flatline, yet he continues spending money we don’t have and accumulating debt at a pace and levels never before seen in the history of mankind.  Banana republic dictators thumb their nose at him.  He drops his pants in negotiations with the Russians.  He spends billions on unproven startup companies run by his major donors that have become an almost comic series of bankruptcies.  Nothing he does works, and all we get from him are excuses.  Bush.  Europe.  ATMs and banks.  “Wall Street” (whatever that is).  Speculators. Oil companies.  Tsunamis.  Congress (despite his party holding a super-majority in both houses for his first two years).  Warren Buffet’s secretary.  We’re 90% through his term, and still nothing’s his fault, and nothing’s his responsibility.  At what point does he actually become accountable?

I can forgive you for being blinded by the aura once.  But now that you know these things, and now that you’ve seen this man can’t swim in the deep end of the pool, are you really going to throw him back out there with the rest of us chained to him while he sinks?

EDITOR'S NOTE:  My apologies to those of you for whom Monday's post on The Middleman Always Has Price fouled the formatting of the site.  Apparently something was corrupted in the post text, and I have no idea what.  I have removed that post, and hopefully that will resolve the formatting problem.  I will repost that piece later if we see that the problem has been corrected.

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