NYT scoop: Barack Obama’s law students really liked him

posted at 10:10 pm on July 29, 2008 by Allahpundit

Not a jot of actual news here but plenty of character insight, which makes it worth reading in full. The line near the beginning about Professor Obama keeping people guessing about his precise positions made me laugh aloud. Our Barry? Slippery on the issues?

“I don’t think anything that went on in these chambers affected him,” said Richard Epstein, a libertarian colleague who says he longed for Mr. Obama to venture beyond his ideological and topical comfort zones. “His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he’s always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he’s never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings.”…

While students appreciated Mr. Obama’s professorial reserve, colleagues sometimes wanted him to take a stand. When two fellow faculty members asked him to support a controversial antigang measure, allowing Chicago police to disperse and eventually arrest loiterers who had no clear reason to gather, Mr. Obama discussed the issue with unusual thoughtfulness, they say, but gave little sign of who should prevail — the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed the measure, or the community groups that supported it out of concern about crime.

“He just observed it with a kind of interest,” said Daniel Kahan, now a professor at Yale.

Nor could his views be gleaned from law review articles or other scholarship; Mr. Obama has never published any. He was too busy, but also, Mr. Epstein believes, he was unwilling to put his name to anything that could haunt him politically, as Ms. Guinier’s writings had hurt her.

“He figured out, you lay low,” Mr. Epstein said…

Because he never fully engaged, Mr. Obama “doesn’t have the slightest sense of where folks like me are coming from,” Mr. Epstein said. “He was a successful teacher and an absentee tenant on the other issues.”

How long has Obama had his eye on higher office? If you believe Epstein, it must be a decade at least. If you subscribe to the “political expedience” theory of why he joined Trinity after he got to Chicago (as opposed to the “nutty kindred spirit to Jeremiah Wright” theory), it’s at least two. So much for being a new breed of politician. Lots more at the link, including a selection of Obama’s final exams; be sure not to miss the exchange between him and a colleague about gubernatorial candidates.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

NYT story next week: Barack Obama always returned his Blockbuster movies on time.

carbon_footprint on July 29, 2008 at 10:12 PM

NYT story week after next: Barack Obama always cleaned the erasers and chalkboard after class.

carbon_footprint on July 29, 2008 at 10:16 PM

NYT story three weeks from now: Barack Obama always left the last bit of the roach for his friends to smoke.

carbon_footprint on July 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM

NYT story in one month: Barack Obama always slept in the “wet spot”.

carbon_footprint on July 29, 2008 at 10:19 PM

And IBD’s scoop in the headlines is he’s a trained Marxist.

TheBigOldDog on July 29, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Oh, now I understand his voting record. He was caught up in the habit of taking attendance for class. “Present”

- The Cat

MirCat on July 29, 2008 at 10:22 PM

Obama’s teflon protective shield is looking like it is going to wear out a lot sooner than the Denver Convention.

Obama aspires to the Presidency, and one of the fortunate/unfortunate requirements of that Office is that the person sitting in the Oval Office has to step up to the plate. Daily. At times many times a day.

Giving the matter deep thought is not stepping up to the plate. Pontificating is not stepping up to the plate.

Not publishing professional papers to keep his name off something that is not popular with everyone is not something a President, any President, is going to be able to carry into the Oval Office. Taking a stand…popular or not…right or wrong…is pretty much the soul of the job.

Frankly, he may be a wonderfully articulate campaigner…but when January rolls around and he moves in at the White House…seems a bit late to start honing that particular apparently missing set of job skills.

And more Americans need to recognize this long before November. Not after.

coldwarrior on July 29, 2008 at 10:22 PM

General Casey: [talking on phone] Hello? This is General Casey. I get to meet the Martian Ambassador! Ain’t that great? Oh, it’s a hell of an honor. But didn’t I always tell you honey, if I just stayed in place and never spoke up, good things are bound to happen. Yeah… Ok
[makes kissing noises and ends the phone call]

Mars Attacks.

lorien1973 on July 29, 2008 at 10:23 PM

Barack Husseign Obama drafts Cliff Notes for his latest Book:

My mama was a radical commie hippie who hated her own country and thought that sleeping with third world men was a cool way to rebel.

My father was a loutish, drunken Kenyan who used the airlift program to get into the country, get a US government subsidized education, knock-up a white girl, and then abandon both her and the country which gave him a second chance in order to go back to Kenya, impregnate a variety of women, then abandoned them too and kill himself in a drunken-driving incident.

“Vote for me!”

Alden Pyle on July 29, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Alden Pyle on July 29, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Doh!

bridgetown on July 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM

Very intriguing,so Obama was a law professor!

Dennis Hutchinson comments:

“He tested his ideas in classrooms”

Sounds more like liberal indocturnation!

Every seminar brought a new round of is;

“Is affirmative action justified”?

“Under what circmstances”

Sounds more like ACLU speak to me,however
Obama will probably make a new Office,of
the New Affirmative Action,that will closely
reflect more to Obama’s thinking! jus sayin!:)

canopfor on July 29, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Geez.

He voted “present” even back then.

drjohn on July 29, 2008 at 10:30 PM

Alden Pyle on July 29, 2008 at 10:24 PM

You nailed it. Plus this was his rock star dad that he wrote his book about, and dreamed to be like! PUKE.

byteshredder on July 29, 2008 at 10:30 PM

The Socialist Democratic Party all say to Fauxbama,”You’re the one, Neo, you’re the one.”

After four years of Fauxbama in office, America will say, “You’re the one, Nero, you’re the one. Now drop the fiddle and up against the wall.”

Come to think of it, everytime he wears those cool shades, Fauxbama looks a lot more like Morpheus. Vote against Marxist Socialism, vote McCain ’08…………..

adamsmith on July 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM

“Vote for me!”

Alden Pyle on July 29, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Ouch; you are the master on this thread, I will refrain from posting my little insignificant attempt at humor until a new thread…

I’m not worthy…

Dale in Atlanta on July 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM

This will definitely help Michelle’s children.

A little off topic,but this article on Obama should seal the deal in not voting for this socialist (for thinking people at least).

Obamanomics Is a Recipe for Recession
By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN
July 29, 2008; Page A17
http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB121728762442091427.html

The top 35% marginal income tax rate rises to 39.6%; adding the state income tax, the Medicare tax, the effect of the deduction phase-out and Mr. Obama’s new Social Security tax (of up to 12.4%) increases the total combined marginal tax rate on additional labor earnings (or small business income) from 44.6% to a whopping 62.8%. People respond to what they get to keep after tax, which the Obama plan reduces from 55.4 cents on the dollar to 37.2 cents — a reduction of one-third in the after-tax wage!
Despite the rhetoric, that’s not just on “rich” individuals. It’s also on a lot of small businesses and two-earner middle-aged middle-class couples in their peak earnings years in high cost-of-living areas. (His large increase in energy taxes, not documented here, would disproportionately harm low-income Americans. And, while he says he will not raise taxes on the middle class, he’ll need many more tax hikes to pay for his big increase in spending.)
On dividends the story is about as bad, with rates rising from 50.4% to 65.6%, and after-tax returns falling over 30%. Even a small response of work and investment to these lower returns means such tax rates, sooner or later, would seriously damage the economy.

(via Powerline)

Now we know why he doesn’t like to wear an American flag.
With these types of economic ideas,he might as well be wearing the French colors.

Baxter Greene on July 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM

Oh, now I understand his voting record. He was caught up in the habit of taking attendance for class. “Present”

- The Cat

MirCat on July 29, 2008 at 10:22 PM

Ouch!! that’s gotta hurt!

Baxter Greene on July 29, 2008 at 10:34 PM

Baxter Greene on July 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM

Huh! You think that’s bad. Go read the this. You have to read the whole thing. I’ll give you teaser:

A perfect storm of statism is forming, and our economic freedoms are at serious risk.

Those who care less about looking politically correct than preserving the free-market individualism that’s made this country great have to start calling things by their proper name to avert long-term disaster.

TheBigOldDog on July 29, 2008 at 10:39 PM

…said Richard Epstein, a libertarianal U of C colleague who says he longed for Mr. Obama to venture beyond his ideological and topical comfort zones. “His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he’s always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he’s never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings.”…

As much as this meets with the obvious reality of Obambi never ever saying what he means, does it make any sense in the context of a junior Senator with zero qualifications running (credibly) for the Presidency? If that isn’t “taking a full swing” then wtf is?

Jaibones on July 29, 2008 at 10:41 PM

How long has Obama had his eye on higher office?

Hippie momma’bama made a Hawai’indonesian Candidate.

Stephen M on July 29, 2008 at 10:43 PM

In his voting rights course, Mr. Obama taught Lani Guinier’s proposals for structuring elections differently to increase minority representation. Opponents attacked those suggestions when Ms. Guinier was nominated as assistant attorney general for civil rights in 1993, costing her the post.

“Interesting,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s like Clinton threw her under a bus. He claims he didn’t have any idea she had these extreme views. I’ll have to remember that.”

MamaAJ on July 29, 2008 at 10:44 PM

When is anyone going to start paying REAL attention to how parental abandonment molds a psyche?

Stephen M on July 29, 2008 at 10:45 PM

Running for office in the mode of American Idol, and having to take no personal responsibility for the gaffes and miscues along the way; being covered by a swarm of handlers and advisors and cloaked by an adoring public is not exactly taking a “full swing.”

Making necessary life or death decisions with a minimum of information in the middle of an emergent crisis unscheduled and without a lot of notes to go on…that is taking a full swing. Personally, I don’t believe Obama has made the Double A’s let alone the big leagues yet.

coldwarrior on July 29, 2008 at 10:48 PM

carbon-footprint, you made my day.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

fogw on July 29, 2008 at 10:58 PM

fogw on July 29, 2008 at 10:58 PM

Thank you fogw. I was in the Twilight Zone for a few minutes there. Where did everybody go! lol

carbon_footprint on July 29, 2008 at 11:08 PM

Never published in the law review? I thought he was the freakin’ PRESIDENT of the Harvard Law Review. There was some recent rankings of colleges, informal I think, rating Occidental College of LA, Cal as THE MOST liberal college in the US. The same college Obama went to for 2 years before he transfered to Columbia U., which also has to be one of the most liberal in the country.

Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2008 at 11:08 PM

Stephen M on July 29, 2008 at 10:45 PM

When is anyone going to start paying REAL attention to how parental abandonment molds a psyche?

If we’re going to have a Dem prez how about one whose bio dad was there when he was growing up. I think we know well what happens when there’s not a dad in the home. Doting mothers, narcissistic sons. Clinton and Obama.

Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2008 at 11:10 PM

Nor could his views be gleaned from law review articles or other scholarship; Mr. Obama has never published any. He was too busy, but also, Mr. Epstein believes, he was unwilling to put his name to anything that could haunt him politically, as Ms. Guinier’s writings had hurt her.

I don’t blama Obama for this. It’s just a tragic fact of how we play politics now. I think we need more interesting politicians, but too many people want to apply the most simplistic of litmus test, including the one where McCain isn’t conservative enough. Why can’t we just accept a wider ranger of ideas. I was saddened by the outcome of the 2002 election in Georgia, because Congress lost two of its most colourful in politicians in Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney. We need people like them to introduce new ideas into the political discourse–just as we needed Jesse Helms and need Russ Feingold. Another Chris Dodd or another Kay Bailey Hutchison does nothing for me–so much velveeta cheese spread on white bread.

I should emphasize that I’m not opposing moderation here. Olympia Snowe remains my favourite Senator, but I would love her even more if developed a few outlandish ideas.

We need to consider what makes democracy great. It’s partly because it represents the will of the people, but it’s also because it opens up the possibility of moving quickly to new ideas when it is required.

Let’s be less harsh about the ideological quirks of our politicians. It’s why we have so many of them, so the quirks will balance out.

thuja on July 29, 2008 at 11:11 PM

I know it’s the New York Times, so facts are treated as afterthoughts but why do they keep referring to him as a “professor”?

He clearly was not a professor since the very same article noted that the highest rank he achieved was Senior Lecturer.

I know some professors – they earned the title. And not by teaching part time and never publishing.

landshark on July 29, 2008 at 11:14 PM

Judging by his speeches, he still sucks at following the Constitution.

Tim Burton on July 29, 2008 at 11:22 PM

I’d be very interested to hear what Hussein taught his class about the 2nd amendment. It appears that he has no idea what it means, but it would be nice to know what he “taught” others about it.

He clearly was not a professor since the very same article noted that the highest rank he achieved was Senior Lecturer.

I know some professors – they earned the title. And not by teaching part time and never publishing.

landshark on July 29, 2008 at 11:14 PM

Yes. As I understand it he was just an adjunct – which is tantamount to Instructor, though they love giving fancy titles to all.

I still want to see Hussein’s SATs and LSATs, because he can’t argue his way out of a paper bag and seems to have no intelligence that I can detect. I want to see some numbers.

progressoverpeace on July 29, 2008 at 11:37 PM

NYT story in one month: Barack Obama always slept in the “wet spot”.

carbon_footprint on July 29, 2008 at 10:19 PM

NYT story the following edition: Barack Obama always replaced the toilet paper roll, even when 2-3 sheets of paper were left on the old roll.

Unrelated

He never pulished any

How did such a prominent university professor get away with not publishin anything? Two Americas?

Entelechy on July 29, 2008 at 11:51 PM

How did a mediocre High School student (from an admission that I read) get into Harvard in the first place?
Two Americas, indeed.. or at least a quota system..

TexasJew on July 29, 2008 at 11:57 PM

Never published in the law review? I thought he was the freakin’ PRESIDENT of the Harvard Law Review.
Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2008 at 11:08 PM

I think everyone on the Law Review at my law school had to publish which is why I avoided it like the plague. I actually worked at a law firm writing things for other lawyers to argue, in other words, seeing what real law was like. It is inconceivable to me that the head (Chief? Editor?) of the Harvard Law Review was unpublished. But we are talking about BO here.

HawaiiLwyr on July 29, 2008 at 11:58 PM

NYT story the following edition: Barack Obama always replaced the toilet paper roll, even when 2-3 sheets of paper were left on the old roll.

Entelechy on July 29, 2008 at 11:51 PM

He would never have made it at Ft. Sill if he waited nearly that long.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

thuja on July 29, 2008 at 11:11 PM

In other words, let the inmates run the asylum.

HawaiiLwyr on July 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

It is inconceivable to me that the head (Chief? Editor?) of the Harvard Law Review was unpublished. But we are talking about BO here.

HawaiiLwyr on July 29, 2008 at 11:58 PM

First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review

By FOX BUTTERFIELD, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: February 6, 1990

Change in Selection System

Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review’s 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.

Until the 1970′s the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank. Among these were Elliot L. Richardson, the former Attorney General, and Irwin Griswold, a dean of the Harvard Law School and Solicitor General under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

That system came under attack in the 1970′s and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.

Harvard, like a number of other top law schools, no longer ranks its law students for any purpose including a guide to recruiters.

progressoverpeace on July 30, 2008 at 12:06 AM

thuja on July 29, 2008 at 11:11 PM

In other words, let the inmates run the asylum.

HawaiiLwyr on July 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

You know, we are all the inmates.

thuja on July 30, 2008 at 12:08 AM

An interesting tidbit from that article:

On his goals in his new post, Mr. Obama said: ‘I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I’m fairly opinionated about this.’

Interesting.

progressoverpeace on July 30, 2008 at 12:13 AM

Didn’t they make a movie about his law teaching days in the 1970s? Something like the stuffy-but-honest law prof whose daughter falls for one of his students. It was called Love Story, wasn’t it? Or was that about another Democrat?

andycanuck on July 30, 2008 at 12:16 AM

Huh! You think that’s bad. Go read the this. You have to

read the whole thing. I’ll give you teaser:

A perfect storm of statism is forming, and our economic freedoms are at serious risk.

Those who care less about looking politically correct than preserving the free-market individualism that’s made this country great have to start calling things by their proper name to avert long-term disaster.

TheBigOldDog on July 29, 2008 at 10:39 PM

This is why I keep telling people to turn off the Jesus light everytime they look at this guy and start looking in to what he stands for.

He dosen’t give a damn about the poor,he just wants to be one of the rich that we have to slave for in their socialist utopia.

This part of the article fits in well with the socialist movement in the 70′s going away from titles like communism and socialism and putting lipstick on their pig with titles that glorify supposedly helping the poor and the working class.

“Economic justice” simply means punishing the successful and redistributing their wealth by government fiat. It’s a euphemism for socialism.

They fail to mention that in their plan,98% of us will be the poor working class.

This constant rant about the rich not doing their fair share(because you know it’s the poor in this country that are creating jobs and new investments….right?)is helping them push their agenda.As usual,it is all bullsh!t:

Their Fair Share
July 21, 2008; Page A12
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121659695380368965.html

Washington is teeing up “the rich” for a big tax hike next year, as a way to make them “pay their fair share.” Well, the latest IRS data have arrived on who paid what share of income taxes in 2006, and it’s going to be hard for the rich to pay any more than they already do. The data show that the 2003 Bush tax cuts caused what may be the biggest increase in tax payments by the rich in American history.

Obama trying to push his government controlled health care,tax increases,Global warming induced measures that will
increase energy cost sky high,appeasement of our enemies abroad combined with going back to dealing with terrorism as a “law enforcement operation”,no drilling for oil/natural gas or increase coal and nuclear power,amnesty for illegals…..
is going to make this 9% Congress look like the Roman Empire within 2 to 3 years of an Obama Presidency.

No wonder they think the solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions can be solved by “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too”,they can’t be based in reality if they think these policies will create jobs and increase growth in our Economy.

Baxter Greene on July 30, 2008 at 12:17 AM

to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.

That should read “ensure”. I guess that says alot about how far the Times has fallen.

andycanuck on July 30, 2008 at 12:18 AM

How did such a prominent university professor get away with not publishin anything? Two Americas?

Entelechy on July 29, 2008 at 11:51 PM

His wife, on the other hand, published a ‘brilliant masterpiece’ in her thesis. I actually printed the darn thing out. It’s .pdf and took forever. In the end it was nothing of substance, a rant about black students being ‘unhappy’ bla, bla, bla….but the style and level of writing were not even satisfactory for 9th grade. I blushed reading it and English is not even my 2nd language.

I taught at universities in Masters programs. She would have never passed a class, never mind the thesis paper.

Entelechy on July 30, 2008 at 12:19 AM

Er “…not publishing anything”

Entelechy on July 30, 2008 at 12:20 AM

No wonder they think the solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions can be solved by “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too”,they can’t be based in reality if they think these policies will create jobs and increase growth in our Economy.

Baxter Greene on July 30, 2008 at 12:17 AM

If only someone would have read them “The Goose That Layed The Golden Eggs”, we’d all be safer.

progressoverpeace on July 30, 2008 at 12:22 AM

That was “Laid”.

What can I say? I studied with BHO.

progressoverpeace on July 30, 2008 at 12:43 AM

Allah – took your cue to look at the final exam questions. Wow – definitely worth reading through! They contain some hypotheticals that are at least mildly interesting.

And I think I’ve finally located some of the missing 57 (or is it 58?) states, including these:

Wazoo
Futura (as in, “Futura is one of the 10 states that has banned human cloning…”)
Prosperity
Nirvana
Utopia (whose “new governor”, according to Prof. Obama, is “Arnold Whatzanager”…)

RD on July 30, 2008 at 1:02 AM

DfDeportation on July 30, 2008 at 1:52 AM

NYT story in one month: Barack Obama always left the toilet seat down

Mojack420 on July 30, 2008 at 1:57 AM

I’ve listened to his book being read on a radio talk show. He’s equally uncommitted there as well. It’s a lousy book BTW. He’s the accidental tourist through life, always commenting, isn’t that interesting, but never having his own opinion. People like that disturb me.

Mojave Mark on July 30, 2008 at 2:07 AM

How long has Obama had his eye on higher office?

Who cares?

Obama is a coward and he still cannot stand tall on any position.

Obama is the existential candidate that we all will live to regret.

winemkr on July 30, 2008 at 2:10 AM

You know, we are all the inmates.

thuja on July 30, 2008 at 12:08 AM

I thought that you were put in charge of filing off the bars. I’m doing my part by distracting the guards.

MB4 on July 30, 2008 at 4:21 AM

NYT Story next week, Sunshine seems brighter since Obama candidacy confirmed by scientists…

sabbott on July 30, 2008 at 8:01 AM

… yawn…

Barack Obama = Chance from Being There.

Hmmm… The Hope ‘N’ Chance Express?

rockbend on July 30, 2008 at 8:23 AM

This isn’t the first time the Times has gone trolling among law students for reactions to a high-profile lecturer. Of course, one of the previous times they did it, the reactions were not quite what they were hoping for from the students.

jon1979 on July 30, 2008 at 10:22 AM