February 12, 2008

How good was Obama at running the Harvard Law Review?

Not so hot. On Volokh.com, somebody calling himself LawStatMan goes all Bill James on the citation record:

Obama’s vol. 104 is the least-cited volume of the Harvard Law Review in the last 20 years

I've run electronic searches to determine the number of times Obama’s volume 104, and every other volume of the Harvard Law Review published during the last 20 years, has been cited in all law reviews during each subsequent year for which full data is available (starting in the year after the last issue of each volume appeared, and running through 2006, the last year for which full citation data is currently available).

The results of my searches are in a PDF which you can download here: http://www.mediafire.com/?bxdzmmtuanx.

Some highlights, using only the first 12 years of citations to each volume, where available (obviously, the more recent volumes have fewer years of citations available):

1. Obama’s volume 104 (1990-91) has been cited an average of 170 times a year. That is, it was cited 2045 times in the first 12 full years after publication (i.e., 1992 to 2003). It has been cited at the lowest rate of any volume published in the past 20 years.

2. By comparison, for all other volumes published during the past twenty years for which at least a year’s worth of data is available (vols. 101 to 103, and vols. 105 to 118), they have been cited an average of 262 times a year -- a rate 54% higher than the citation rate for Obama’s volume.

Did LawStatMan do his calculations right? Did he get the time periods aligned properly? Beats me. I know far more about how to analyze the really important stuff -- baseball statistics -- that I do the stuff that influences the clerks of senescent Supreme Court Justices.

Another commenter cites a paragraph from p. 11 of a leftist book about Harvard Law School in those years, Eleanor Kerlow's Poisoned Ivy: How Egos, Ideology, and Power Politics Almost Ruined Harvard Law School (1994):

"Obama was friendly and outgoing, but the class succeeding him wanted a tougher editor to lead them. [David] Ellen, quiet and fair-haired, had graduated summa cum laude in history and science from Harvard College in 1987. He had worked at The New Republic in 1989, the summer before starting law school, and was seen as someone who would be a more rigorous blue-penciler."

There doesn't seem to be any record of Obama publishing anything in his own journal. The commenter who say he's a former editor of HLR claimed on Volokh:

"The law students on the Review all have the right to publish at least one piece (typically they publish at least their third-year papers, which they have to write anyway), and many publish at least two pieces. It would seem surprising if Obama published nothing at all in the very Review over which, he has so often boasted, he presided as President."

Okay, assuming all this is true, what are we to make it?

1. Obama was, objectively speaking, a lousy president of the Harvard Law Review.

2. It's difficult to say how hard Obama tried. He was apparently keeping his grades up (he graduated an impressive magna cum laude), was planning his big book on race and law, advising Blair Underwood of "LA Law," and his heart was in Chicago, where his girlfriend and political future resided. After all, who cares about the Harvard Law Review (other than those clerks of feeble Supreme Court Justices)?

3. This doesn't prove it, but it fits in with the theory that Obama was intentionally avoiding leaving a paper trail "to maintain my political viability" (as Bill Clinton explained his complicated draft-avoidance plan back during Vietnam).

4. Obama got a lot more out of the Harvard Law Review than the Harvard Law Review got out of him.

5. Obama didn't show particular management skill, although he showed political ability in getting himself elected as the compromise candidate of the conservative minority at Harvard Law School. (But then we already knew that he's good at giving an "I have understood you" impression. On the other hand, he's evidently managing his campaign well enough.

6. By the standards which we demand of our Presidents, being the worst editor of the HLR in two decades is really pretty good. If George W. Bush had been editor, it would have looked like the Beavis & Butt-Head Law Review, but with more drunken nicknaming. And W. got better grades at Yale and scored higher on military aptitude IQ tests than John Kerry, who almost got elected President. Kerry had to go Boston College Law School, even though he may well have been the most celebrated person in America to apply to law school that year.

7. It does suggest a strategy that might make McCain's campaign a little less hopeless against Obama. He could say:

"Obama is a state-of-the-art B.S. artist who tells everybody what they want to hear. Everybody loves him because they think he agrees with them, but that's because he has spent his whole adult life not telling anybody what he really thinks. In contrast, lots of people hate me because I'm always saying what I really think."

Of course, the problem is that a lot of people hate McCain for very good reasons. What McCain really thinks is often maniacally disastrous. But, McCain does let us know what's on his mind. You have to give him that much credit.

8. To return to the pressing question of who is The Real Obama, one of the more boring possibilities is that he really is the technocrat with a long laundry list of minor reforms that his website lists. Perhaps Obama wants to be President not to unleash any master plan, but because he's always felt that getting elected President would fill the father-shaped hole in his soul that his traumatic family background left him. And while he's enjoying the therapeutic benefits of being President, he might as well try to push through some little high IQ changes in 401-k regulations or whatever.

After eight years of a President who knew he was too lazy and bored to manage a lot of details, so he decided to roll the dice on about three giant policies -- invade the world, invite the world, and in hoc to the world -- and see what happens, an era of technocratic reform might be welcome.

9. On the other hand, the cultish insanity Obama has elicited this winter might be going to his normally cool, calculating head. His Super Tuesday speech:

“We are the ones we've been waiting for, we are the change that we seek.”

sounds like he's auditioning to take over Keanu Reeve's Neo role in the next sequel: "Matrix: Re-Election."

In summary, the combination of a secretive individual like Obama, mass hysteria, and a press terrified of being smeared as racist for asking tough questions means that we shall be living in interesting times.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

41 comments:

Derek Copold said...

This may be off topic, but to keep current with the flurry of posts, this quote from Obama's The Audacity of Hope is responsive to your and Mickey Kaus' worry about Obama's views on welfare reform:

"We should also acknowledge that conservatives--and Bill Clinton--were right about welfare as it was previously structured: By detaching income from work, and by making no demands on welfare recipients other than tolerance for intrusive bureaucracy and and assurance that no man lived in the same house as the mother of his children, the old AFDC program sapped people of their initiative and eroded their self-respect. Any strategy to reduce intergenerational poverty has to be centered on work, not welfare--not only because work provides independence and income but also because work provides order, structure, dignity, and opportunities for growth in people's lives."

In the same chapter he rails against loose morals and illegitimacy, and also suggests a new battery of training programs. It's sort of leftish Clintonian.

His discussion of immigration notes how illegal immigration squeezes blacks out of the job market. He's still an amnesty-firster. Given his poor showing with Hispanics, that might change, though. This would be especially so if McCain were to beat him in the general among Hispanics while he still won overall.

An interesting writing tic: he doesn't use the annoying, ill-scanning label "African-American." It doesn't appear in the index. When he refers to blacks, he uses the word "black." It's hard to believe this isn't a deliberate decision.

The rest of the book (and I'm still on the last chapter) really isn't that frightening from a conservative point of view.

His views in the book on foreign policy are relatively sane. He opposes unilateral intervention, wants to use aid to encourage freedom and democracy, but doesn't want to use force outside of a large coalition. Judging by the book, it's unlikely that he'd try another Kosovo stunt, or even an intervention in in Darfur. His big foreign policy speech of some time ago kind of gives an opposite impression, but given Obama's record of preternatural precaution, he would be the most reluctant of armed crusaders.

Now the only factor that could change this is how much Obama would be affected by the CNN factor. If his supporters see too many suffering moppets on the tube, will they push him into going all Princess Di on crack and launching the cruise missiles? Could he take the sting of being accused of allowing another Rwanda to happen on his watch? Would he risk it? I don't really know at this point. He has a rather cynical view of Africa and the Third World, which would counter any utopianism. IMO, it's a toss-up. His, opponents, however, have shown no real opposition to launching the bombers and getting "boots on the ground."

Going back to my statement that Obama seems to be a paleoliberal, I'd have to amend that assessment. He is a liberal, but he's one who's been paying attention. Yes, he may still favor government intervention, but he is aware of its limitations--in theory if not always in practice.

Given a choice between Obama, Clinton and McCain, Obama's still the best choice. He's far less likely to start a stupid war than McCain. Clinton is ideologically better than Obama, but given the damage that she and HE have done to the nation's moral environment, as well as deranging their conservative critics (myself included at times), Obama would be a welcome break from their seedy style and the sort of clean ideological challenge we on the right need to reform ourselves.

James D. Miller said...

There is a long lag between when a law review article is accepted and when it is published. I suspect that Obama had almost no influence in deciding what articles appeared in Vol 104.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more with Derek. If anything Obama's record gibes with GWB: L-A-Z-Y.

Bush let events drive him: his 2000 debates with Gore eschewed even the limited Kosovo and Haiti engagements that cost the US nothing and made the UN and Kofi Annan happy. His only initiative was Open Borders. That was it.

Then 9/11 happened. Because something ALWAYS happens that no one can predict. Bush did not have either an intellectual framework to respond (so the last person to talk to him got policy made) and couldn't direct policy once it was made. There's a new report leaked out by the Army's assessment in 2005 of what went wrong. It's not pretty reading. Bush simply refused to adjudicate basic disputes between the Army and State about who would do what in Iraq, couldn't get minimally competent people on the ground from State (remember this is the Army's report hehe) and couldn't change course when things were obviously not working.

I don't see Obama any different. If he couldn't manage Harvard Law Review to even middling status what makes ANYONE think he could the same with the much more challenging Presidency where he will HAVE to make enemies and piss people off?

If anything Obama would be the worst qualities of Bush on steroids. Hillary or McCain are better choices. They're not afraid to make enemies and every President will have to do it at some point.

Obama's utopianism and UN-NATO stuff is a disaster, an excuse for not doing anything until something really BAD happens. [Both the UN and NATO are essentially "dead" institutions anyway outside US carrying the entire load.] Either Hillary or McCain are likely to realize the utility of the "Killing Pablo" strategy as outlined by Mark Bowden in his book. Which seems where we are going.

Various Delta, Green Beret, SEAL, CIA teams hook-up with local militaries. Use divided loyalties to crush medium size problems before they become too big and out of control. They stay out of the press, give the locals the credit, don't provoke fights with powerful patrons like China or Russia. No troops, no missiles, no bombing. As secretive as possible.

McCain has a generally good relation with the Military, Hillary an abysmal one (she's got the habit of treating uniformed officers as waiters and bell boys and does poorly to conceal her contempt if you believe Dick Morris). But both would probably do a much better job than lazy and clueless Obama in implementing this policy (which in some ways goes back to Bush 1 - early Clinton).

Anonymous said...

This implication that Obama is lazy is ridiculous. I am an attorney and the kind of person who would be an avid law review editor would be an unbearable tyrant/grammarian.

Obama realized that he did not want to practice in big law, clerk for federal judge, or go into academia. He realized the pointlessness of bluebooking and took it easy for a year. That was the last year he did take it easy. The next year he was on the streets of the south side of Chicago when he could have worked at any law firm in the world.

Maybe Obama doesn't publish because that would require him to adopt a world view that's bounded within some overarching theory. Obama is full of contradictions which I think recognizes a textured world: He's an unabashed Christian who supports abortion, he's a strong member of the black community without being part of the victimology movement, he's opposed to gay marriage but doesn't reject homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

When someone is peddling a consistent theory, once in power they try to shape the world to that theory instead of the other way around. See: Exporting democracy circa 2002.

Anonymous said...

I looked it up online and I guess it was Derbyshire who mentioned Mencken's celebratory obituary for Coolidge, who did almost nothing, wonderfully. I like that aspect of Obama. I think he's a good propaganda face for the USA, too...he won't budge the POV of the conspiratorial anti-Israel/US foam-at-the-mouth psychos, and he'll inflame the anti-black racists across the world with stand-up routines, but I think it'll all be to the good. I was reading an interview with a Nigerian 419 scammer, and caste-losers in Africa really do look up to successful black Americans like our rich black athletes and musicians. Maybe it's liberal, but I think a worldwide multicultural "role-model" isn't a bad idea. After all, it's the corruption and lack of integrity that go along with low-IQ government/business complexes, that majorly hobble them from enshrining meritocracy. While I respect the POV of the South African gents who've been posting on isteve comments (especially after reading their messed-up web site), Obama's just a symbol, like Bush and Clinton, it won't lead to degraded government in the USA...Obama's smart enough. It's good for the world as long as it's not insane policy, like the psycho South African affirmative action, that's unreported in the west, that's evidently, if not obviously-before-the-fact, wrecking the first-world South African society.

Although I've really come around to the VDARE POV on immigration, and I think forceful measures should be taken there, for the good of the USA and the world, ultimately. But Mccain's not about it, and I want out of Iraq NOW.

Our technology break-throughs trickle-down, substantially, all over. Messing up our flow messes up everybody's flow. I think that's a rational, humane stance on mass immigration to the USA.

You bring foreign populations in + PC nonsense into our meritocracy, and you're looking at Soviet-style economic stagnation.

Born Again Democrat said...

I must say that I am warming to Obama. Of course, unlike most of the commenters on this site, I am a self-identified life-long Democrat, even if a culturally conservative one. If nothing else, this looks like the beginning of a much more politically active and idealistic generation of young people. Hopefully they will do a better -- more constructive -- job than the 1960's generation. I doubt they will be detoured by drugs.

Derek Copold said...

I couldn't disagree more with Derek. If anything Obama's record gibes with GWB: L-A-Z-Y.

There's nothing in Obama's record to suggest he's lazy, either physically or mentally.

You read his books, and you can see the man has thought through both sides of most arguments. He's slippery as hell when it comes to specifics--like a lot of focus-grouped politicians these days--but he's not averse to weighing both sides of an arguments and granting validity to the side he disagrees with. This is not the mark of a lazy man.

Bush simply refused to adjudicate basic disputes between the Army and State about who would do what in Iraq...

Well here's an idea: maybe he shouldn't have gotten into Iraq in the first place. Who's less likely to get us into another Iraq given the recent past? Clinton? Please. McCain? Don't make me f'n laugh.

Obama is far from perfect, and I may very well change my mind in the coming months, but from where I'm at, he's the best choice of the three for the country.

As far as his executive skills go, here's something to consider: As of today, Obama, a neophyte on the national scene, has managed to run a national campaign that beating the pants off a candidate who had practically been coronated last year. a candidate with years in the Senate, and national name recognition. Yes, he's had some advantages with good press coverage, but HRC started off with a lot more.

In fact, HRC's management style has bordered on the Dubyan, as Kaus points out on his blog. She kept an out of touch idiot in charge long after it was clear her ship was sinking.

darby said...

An important factor to consider when evaluating a candidate for the Presidency is the people who advise him. This is especially important when the candidate is young and has little track record.

We have a some idea about who would be advising Clinton or McCain. Obama, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Chayes got allot of money from USAID.

Udolpho said...

"If nothing else, this looks like the beginning of a much more politically active and idealistic generation of young people."

Only an idiot would see this as a good sign. The young are the most strident and dogmatic when it comes to partisan ideology, the most likely to vote for the world they would like to see no matter how much it ruins the world they actually live in.

mq said...

As you yourself seem to realize, Steve, Obama's law review editorship really was not that bad, certainly not the "worst" in 20 years. That was a crazily political time at HLS, with all sorts of bizarre theories floating around, and he kept the Review relatively clear of that. If he had opened up the doors to all the craziest Critical Legal Studies theories, then his volume of the HLR probably would have been cited two or three times as much. Would that have proved he was a better editor?

I'd say his editorship demonstrated a clear, calm head and unusual political skills -- same as we're seeing now.

He's far from perfect, maybe he won't be electable. But I'm basically coming to the conclusion that you don't like him because he's high-IQ and (half) black, which sort of conflicts with a lifetime of your theorizing.

Svigor said...

Just to make the sure the horse is REALLY dead: the real trouble with Obama is his blackness - the media will be paralyzed and unable to criticize him or report honestly on his presidency. That's a recipe for corruption, and we really don't need to encourage corruption in a black racial activist with ties to Africa.

Martin said...

"Born Again Democrat said...

If nothing else, this looks like the beginning of a much more politically active and idealistic generation of young people."

Let's hope not. God save us from idealistic young people. They are not fit to govern, and should not be allowed to.

I admit that Obama seems to be the most personable candidate remaining (seems to be is the operative term: the chief skill of the policitican is seaming to be something). And he would probably be the most interesting of the candidates to hold a conversation with.

But I'm not voting for a hip friend. He appears to be a doctrinaire liberal at best; at worst he may be a red-blooded socialist. Some have argued that he only seeks to be a technocratic liberal, like Michael Dukakis. Perhaps. But he would be a much more charismatic, and effective Dukakis, and that we don't need.

Mind you, we don't need John McCain either. It is a dark day indeed when Hillary Clinton is the least objectionable candidate. At least she has a lot of baggage which will slow her down, and has a long history of not being effective in implementing her plans.

I may cast my vote for the ghost of Dwight Eisenhower.

P.S. Steve I will lay claim for previously having made the Obama-Keanu connection. In a previous post, I dubbed him "Neo". For as in the Matrix: he is treated as "The One" who will usher in the funky, colorful, non white-bread millenia, in which all people are multicultural hipsters. Well at least some of us are. I guess the rest of us are just Agent Smith.

David said...

anon. said:

[Obama] took it easy for a year. That was the last year he did take it easy. The next year he was on the streets of the south side of Chicago when he could have worked at any law firm in the world.

ROFL.

Chillin on the South Side with Rev. Wright, "community organizing" n' stuff = hard work.

Working at a major law firm = taking it easy.

Why do I get the feeling Obama-supporters are jejune?

Lucius Vorenus said...

Anonymous: You bring foreign populations in + PC nonsense into our meritocracy, and you're looking at Soviet-style economic stagnation.

Uhh, doesn't that describe Obama in a nutshell?

Lucius Vorenus said...

Derek Copold: There's nothing in Obama's record to suggest he's lazy, either physically or mentally.

But, at the same time, there's nothing in Obama's record to suggest he's NOT lazy [either physically or mentally].

Which is the point of these on-going threads at iSteve: OBAMA HAS NO RECORD.

He's never been tested. He's never been asked anything other than softball questions on the campaign trail [either in these silly beauty contests which they call "debates", or in any of the Sunday morning shows, or in any interview]. As Rush was saying today, he's never even been on the receiving end of a negative ad.

He's never held any management positions. He's got all of 1 year of experience in the private sector, and, even there, his job sounds very fishy. He was President of HLR and a lecturer at UChicago Law School for 11 years [where his specialty was supposed to have been "Constitutional Law"], and there isn't a single academic paper out there with his name on it.

Just on and on and on.

How can anyone in their right mind claim to know what the guy's made of?

He's a blank slate - we have no earthly idea what's lurking behind the facade.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that each year the number of recorded citations increases. I bet the calculation shows a generally increasing number of citation with each volume.

Since the author looked at only the 3 years before Obama and the 16 years after, it is not a fair comparison.

With the improvements in word processors and the rapidly increasing number of law journals out there, it may be the case that Obama's year had a lower absolute number of citation as compared with 2005, but got a higher percentage of total citations that 2005, which is a more honest comparison.

Regardless, law reviews don't serve much of a useful purpose. Neither lawyers or law students read them up, just a few academics who looking for articles to cite in their own draft articles.

Derek Copold said...

The young are the most strident and dogmatic when it comes to partisan ideology, the most likely to vote for the world they would like to see no matter how much it ruins the world they actually live in.

That is a good point, and I find Obama's syrupy somewhat self-righteous style off-putting. Still, on balance, I'd rather put up with four years of Obama's earnestness than a third Clinton presidency or a third Bush presidency (which is what McCain offers).

Derek Copold said...

Just to make the sure the horse is REALLY dead: the real trouble with Obama is his blackness - the media will be paralyzed and unable to criticize him or report honestly on his presidency.

I disagree. Obama will get an extended honeymoon, no doubt. However, to preside effectively, he's going to have to step on people's toes, and he and his supporters can't just say "Leave him alone, he's black" forever. Not even liberals will put up with that forever.

If anything, his presidency will get Americans used to criticizing a black man without obsessing over his race.

Derek Copold said...

But, at the same time, there's nothing in Obama's record to suggest he's NOT lazy [either physically or mentally].

Yes, there is. Someone who's graduated MCL from Harvard Law can hardly be called lazy. During his time at UC, he was also working as a state senator, and he ran in a competitive primary for the U.S. Senate. He did get lucky in his opponents for the general. During this time, he also cranked out two books.

I'm not going to say he's the busiest of bees, but he's certainly in the top percentile.

Mentally, as Steve himself has noted, Obama can repeat conservative arguments back, sometimes with better phrasing. He has certainly engaged with the ideas.

Which is the point of these on-going threads at iSteve: OBAMA HAS NO RECORD.

His record is sparse. He's not the ideal candidate. The problem is that we know the other candidate's record, and I'd say they're just as bad, if not worse. What makes them really bad is that both Clinton and McCain have enough experience to get their bad ideas enacted.

Anonymous said...

"Chillin on the South Side with Rev. Wright, "community organizing" n' stuff = hard work.

Working at a major law firm = taking it easy."

Anyone who's ever gotten a better paying job knows that it's easier than the last one. Working at a big firm law office takes a lot of hours and stress but it also includes gymns, meals brought into the office nightly, and all sorts of other goofy benefits.

Obama's community organizing helped him elect the unelectable Carol Mosley Braun. If anything this guy is too hardworking for his own good (or ours).

none of the above said...

I think svigor has a point, and to my mind, that's the strongest argument against Obama. It's not that nobody will ever question him, it's that he'll get fewer direct attacks, harsh criticisms, hard questions, etc., than another candidate/president would.

The big question is whether, over the course of the presidential campaign and his honeymoon in office (assuming he wins), the press and people will get used to the idea that they can criticize him without being a racist. If not, he's set up for a genuine disaster, because he won't get meaningful feedback from outside his advisors until people are completely fed up. (And then, the dam will break, and people will look upon him with the respect given to Carter, or to W these days.)

That said, he still looks more appealing than McCain, and arguably more appealing than Hillary. McCain's history and expressed preferences are all pointing toward disasterously bad policies. Maybe Obama will follow bad policies, too, but there's no question that McCain will. Hillary Clinton probably won't try to find more Arab countries to invade, and she's certainly not immune to criticism in the same way Obama is, but that's about all I can say for her.

Anonymous said...

Steve,you say Obama graduated magna cum laude. Are you just quoting a report by someone else,or is that a real fact? How about his LSAT? I have never seen it,do you have that info? I have never seen any info on Hillary also. A very different situation than the mediocre Rudy and McCain's records.-Josh?

that guy said...

"If anything, his presidency will get Americans used to criticizing a black man without obsessing over his race."

Fat chance.

People said the same thing in Chicago, didn't work that way in Chicago after Harold Washington. People said the same thing in New York, didn't work that way in New York after David Dinkins.

Shelby Steele put it succinctly:

"The day after President Obama enters the Oval Office, Minister Farrakhan and Reverend Sharpton will NOT retire."

Lucius Vorenus said...

Derek Copold; His record is sparse. He's not the ideal candidate. The problem is that we know the other candidate's record, and I'd say they're just as bad, if not worse.

The point is that with a "sparse" record, you don't know anything about the guy.

With McCain and Hillary, we have lengthy, decades-long records [in Hillary's case, going all the way back to the Rose Law Firm in the 1970's, or even to her Saul Alinsky undergraduate thesis before that, and, in McCain's case, going all the way back to Vietnam in the 1960's].

How can you compare an empty record with decades-long records, and come to the conclusion that "they're just as bad"?

The point being that you can't conclude anything from an empty record.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Derek Copold: Yes, there is. Someone who's graduated MCL from Harvard Law can hardly be called lazy. During his time at UC, he was also working as a state senator, and he ran in a competitive primary for the U.S. Senate.

Again - he was president of HLR, and a lecturer at UChicago Law School for ELEVEN YEARS [1993-2004], and never ONCE found the time to have his name listed as an author on any scholarly law text?

Not even as a second, third or fourth author?

BTW, how do you keep a gig at one of the best universities in the world for ELEVEN YEARS and never appear as even a second author on anything?

Where do I go to get a gig like that?!?

PS: My impression of academic publishing is that to spend a decade in a university setting and leave behind no evidence of your presence, then you would have had to have actively avoided having your name added to any papers with a zeal bordering on paranoia.

It's almost impossible not to have your name added to some massive list of second authors - heck, the department secretaries practically get added as second authors these days.

Either that, or else you were so lazy [or such an obvious quota hire] that it never occurred to anyone that you would want your name added as a second author.

Half Sigma said...

People are trying too hard to find fault with Obama. Most people could only dream about serving on the Harvard Law Review. Bringing this up makes me want to vote for him despite the fact that I HATE liberals.

Anonymous said...

This race is a great example of how gender bias trumps race bias. White male Democrats would rather vote for a totally flakey black man (Obama ain't no Colin Powell, or even a Jesse Jackson) than for a white woman who has proven her effectiveness.

OK, we know Hillary is a liberal who wants to implement a big expensive universal health care reform. Other than that, she is pretty solid and would be better than average at handling international affairs (including military intervention).

So why is it that everybody hates her, without any good reason. Kind of like everyone just loves Obama, for no apparent reason. He's not hip. I'm not even sure he's black. Funk dat!

And what exactly was so bad about the Clinton years that Obama and others are going on about?

Derek Copold said...

The point being that you can't conclude anything from an empty record.

Well, actually, yes, I can. To this date, I know that he hasn't corrupted himself in the same way Clinton has, vid: the Puerto Rican pardons, the Marc Rich pardon, renting out the Lincoln Bedroom, covering for her husband's perjury. Nor has he incited political wars, as Hillary did with Kosovo, or try to take over 14% of the GDP with a secret commission.

In my view, this stuff positively excludes Clinton from being worthy of the office. I prefer a novice to a criminal.

McCain, OTOH, is simply unstable and vicious. A rotten temper, mulishness and undroppable grudges might work in the Senate, but they're positively disastrous in the White House. He has also been involved in his share of scandal, such as the Keating disaster. This, again, in my view, disqualifies him.

By default, I'm left with Obama. If you can overlook the sins and "eccentricities" of the other two, bully for you. I can't.

Again - he was president of HLR, and a lecturer at UChicago Law School for ELEVEN YEARS [1993-2004], and never ONCE found the time to have his name listed as an author on any scholarly law text?

And again - during much of that time he was running for office and serving as a state senator. He wrote an autobiography, ran for and lost a congressional race, had a couple of kids, then ran for and won a senatorial race. By any standard that's a fairly busy schedule.

Half-sigma indicated in the previous thread that lecturers don't really write these sorts of articles. I don't know how that works compared to other academic pursuits. That Obama didn't get listed as a second, third or fourth author doesn't bother me. Why should he participate in the same fraud others do? Was he being paranoid for not signing on to someone else's opinion while holding office? To me that sound more like good sense.

Here's a wiki entry with highlights from his tenure in the state and national senate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama

That's a 12 year record of public office. Bill Clinton had 14 years total by 1992, and W had six. This still puts Obama on the light side compared to people like George H.W. Bush, but he does have a record.

And that record should be examined more closely. If something damaging comes up, I'll change my mind.


I do, BTW, find it interesting that he worked with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative senators, on the transparency act.

Derek Copold said...

This race is a great example of how gender bias trumps race bias.

Can we please avoid this pomo rationalization? If Hillary and Obama's bios were swapped, I'd be making the same arguments for her against him.

Look, I may disagree with Lucius Vorenus, but at least his criticisms of me are based on his view of the facts and logic, not baseless supposition.

ricpic said...

An Obama presidency will be reconstruction all over again. But this time for the whole country.

Svigor said...

I disagree.

Reconsider. The media will produce just enough criticism of Obama to have something to point to and fool the gullible, but it won't get picked up and there'll be no feeding frenzies. In other words, business as usual with NAMs. They'll keep minor "scandals" (Pres gropes the wife, enterprising cameraman gets exclusive photos) on the burner and bury the rest.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Derek Copold: The point being that you can't conclude anything from an empty record.

Well, actually, yes, I can.


Derek Copold: Look, I may disagree with Lucius Vorenus, but at least his criticisms of me are based on his view of the facts and logic, not baseless supposition.

No, my disagreements with you are based on the ABSENCE of facts and logic.

We have NO facts about Obama - none.

And when you say that you can conclude something from an empty record, you're being illogical.

The only things you can draw from an empty record are the fantasies of your own imagination.

You need facts to come to logical conclusions, and we have no facts about Obama.

Anonymous said...

I have a simpler explanation: affirmative action. Obama is simply not as good as some of the other people who went to Ivy League colleges and became law professors at the Univ. of Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I don't need a saint to be my president. I want someone who is competent to advocate for our national interest. These days, we really need it.

There is no way to have an active career in politics and never get your hands dirty. That "clean slate" record is exactly what don't have confidence in.

Ali said...

Mr Copold:

Any chance of seeing a return of the Texas Mercury? I tried searching for some of the old articles but can't find any archived copies.

Derek Copold said...

Lucius,

My argument was two-fold. First, I argued from the facts we do know about Clinton and McCain. Those facts alone convince that they're simply unworthy of the office. No fantasy or imagination was involved there.

Second, I did show that Obama has a public record (over a decade's worth) in the state and national legislature.

J. said...

Lucius, Absense of published papers only proves that Obama was not interested in an academic career. From Harvard he went to agitate in a Chicago slum, to develope a street-level grass-roots political power base. That he is a competent thinker and writer we know from his book, which he wrote all by himself, something we cannot say of John Kennedy and even Richard Nixon. Popular leaders speak, they dont write except in jail or exile. I agree that he benefited from the racial quota system, but the fact that he did not follow the easy privileged life granted to him by that system, but choose to work (hard legal and political work) in Chicago shows that Obama has character. There is one thing no one has reported here: very very early in his career, Obama was identified by George Soros's x-ray vision searching for diamond in the manure heap, and he was (is?)helped ($$) by him. Watching from afar Omaba's advance, I see him walking on dry land while the sea is opening up like a wall to his left and to his right. Somebody must be working for him from above, maybe Soros et al. I would feel reassured should it be so, I much prefer politician tied to a plutocrat than a kadoor to'eh(wild shot).

Derek Copold said...

That "clean slate" record is exactly what don't have confidence in.

So someone who releases known terrorists for a senatorial seat is A-OK? Or someone who's alienated a good portion of his own caucus and takes pleasure in betraying and denigrating his party's base and promises another 100 years in Iraq?

Derek Copold said...

Ali,

No, but thanks for asking.

sad person said...

derek copold said...
"If anything, his presidency will get Americans used to criticizing a black man without obsessing over his race."

Derek, I think Svigor is right. Just alook accross to Africa. South African white political role players dare not criticize the ANC regime seriously because it could get them into serious trouble (lose there jobs, companies etc.) or even get them killed. Why should it be different in the US. The fact Obama is becoming prez., with all the cultural baggage that goes with it, is the result of incessant US multicultural hyping on all government levels for almost 4 decades. Many countries have been destroyed or weakened by this US foreign policy, and now it is going to backfire on the US. As one of the leading actors in 3:10 to Yuma said: "And that's too bad".