Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on October 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

For today’s entry, I’m coming back to the message that Barack Obama sent to India to mark Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday last week.  The Times of India’s coverage focuses on a passage that bothered me last week, and also a couple of e-mailers who pointed it out as well:

As the world celebrates International Day of non-violence, US President Barack Obama on

Thursday said America has its “roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi.”

“His teachings and ideals, shared with Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement,” Obama said on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Americans owe enormous gratitude to Gandhi, he said.

“The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence which he led,” Obama said in a statement.

This is minor but aggravating point, but it’s annoying when people try to make everyone relate to each other in false ways that serve to insult more than compliment, especially in this case — and I mean insult India, in a sense.  First, America does not have its roots in Gandhi’s India, as any fool who ever studied history could tell you, not even the “America of today.”  It has its roots in a completely different tradition, and even the civil-rights movement King led took its inspiration from American and Christian roots.  And for that matter, so did Gandhi’s.

Gandhi got at least some of his inspiration from the American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who wrote a series of essays on passive resistance before the American Civil War that were later collated into Civil Disobedience in 1866.  Gandhi wrote a detailed apologia of Thoreau’s work in 1907, crediting it perhaps too generously with ending slavery in the US, about a year after he had begun resisting the South African Boer government on behalf of people of color there.  Gandhi also credited some of his philosophical development of nonviolent resistance to the New Testament.

Obama refers to the nonviolent civil-rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, but that non-violence had its roots in Christianity, not Gandhi, who never pretended to invent it in the first place.  Also, while Obama gives Gandhi credit for Dr. King’s philosophy, Dr. King was also first inspired by Thoreau in his years at Morehouse (1944-8), as he wrote in his autobiography, long before he traveled to India in 1959:

During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau’s essay On Civil Disobedience for the first time. Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery’s territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau’s insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.

After reading that passage, how can anyone claim that King’s movement and the “America of today” had its roots in India?   Did Obama ever bother to read King’s book or study him at all?

Both Gandhi and King had the same initial inspirations: Thoreau (an American) and the New Testament.  Gandhi also had other influences, such as the Bhagavad Gita and perhaps some pursuit of Buddhist philosophy as well.

Finally, as I mentioned, this idea might tend to offend some Indian admirers of Gandhi’s nonviolent movement.  Barack Obama is currently conducting a war in Afghanistan, helping Iraq militarily, and in general using military might to pressure other countries into behaving better.  Those are good policies for the US, but it makes a mockery of the notion that the “America of today” has any kind of roots at all in Gandhi’s vision of a nonviolent India.

Update: A few people who can’t read for comprehension think I’ve said that King was not inspired at all by Gandhi.  Of course he was; so were a lot of people, because Gandhi was an inspirational figure.  But the roots of nonviolence don’t start with Gandhi, and Gandhi never claimed they did.  The America of today does not have its roots in India.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!


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Go away dthorny. You make all Obama critics look dumb with your birther and conspiracy BS.

I do believe Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams, but Ayers was not at Harvard or even in New York at that time. What’s the point of those random theories?

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I just spent the last 10 minutes reading this article.
Looks to me like Obama got it right and Ed’s got it wrong.

http://span.state.gov/wwwhspjanfeb092.html

bridgetown on October 8, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Don’t you think he owes it to his pathetic apologists (not to mention the American public at large) to at least hire someone who can write a coherent, intellectually rigorous speech for him to read off the teleprompter?

Not only is Obama a dope, he’s an arrogant dope. Maybe by some time early next year even the Obama-Krishna zombies will begin to see it.

mr.blacksheep on October 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Gibb’s answer to your question: ahhh….well, he has a lot on his plate…left over from the Bush admistration, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda….Oh, and YOU ARE A RACIST.

The useful idiots who voted for this paper tiger will believe everything this man says, he gives them FREE cash.

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

And, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law while editing the Law Review, so we’re pretty sure he at least didn’t fudge his way through that.

Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Just for point of reference, 90 percent of students at Harvard graduated “with honors” during Obama’s time there. Which was so laughable they changed the system to make the grades actually worth something.

Skywise on October 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

It’s birthday message, not a history lecture and not even a real policy speech.
Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 9:32 AM

But that’s not my point.

misslizzi on October 8, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Your point is, then, obscured by your prose. You suggested that the speech lacked historical depth. I responded by saying that that was neither necessary nor appropriate for the type of communication he was engaged at that it was fully successful in its mission. Are we clear? You are being an intellectual snob for no real reason except your derangement.

And, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law while editing the Law Review, so we’re pretty sure he at least didn’t fudge his way through that.

Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 9:32 AM

You sure on that? Seen any of his transcripts from Harvard? Occidental? Columbia? His Hawaiian High School? His grade school?

Hmm, do they teach Indian history in Kenya’s schools?

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM

To be awarded Magna cum Laude you have to graduate in the top 10% of your class. So, as I said, we at least know that he didn’t slack off in Law School. I have no idea what happened elsewhere.

Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Gandhi said everything.
Much was contradictory.
You can pick and choose…

Haiku Guy on October 8, 2009 at 10:04 AM

“The America of today has its roots in the India Venezuela of Mahatma Gandhi Hugo Chavez,” Obama said in a statement.

Ted Torgerson on October 8, 2009 at 10:06 AM

It seems that this cretin believes that America has given nothing to the world but slavery and colonialism, pollution and waste, repression and inequality. It is so sad that we have elected a man to be our president who has little or no regard for American accomplishments or culture.

allstonian on October 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM

America has made mistakes, like young folks do, but it is what we do to correct those mistakes that makes our character. Who does the world turn to in troubled times. Europe and Obama both have forgotten.

Johan Klaus on October 8, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Martin Luther King’s doctoral dissertation had its roots in the work of another theologian.

Actually, not just the roots, if I recall, but the trunk, the branches, and the damn twigs too.

Astute readers know what I’m talkin’ about.

As to the rest of you, I’m sorry, but the event I’m referring to can only be discussed obliquely during repressive times like ours.

jeff_from_mpls on October 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Silly person, history began on January 20, 2009.

No, on August 4, 1961, when the great Barack Hussein Soetoro Obama was born in Kenya Hawaii after being conceived in Selma because JFK brought his father to America before taking office. Or something like that.

Steve Z on October 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Catch the sequel:

Slumdog Putting-on-airs, starring Barack Obama.

TXUS on October 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

I do believe Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams, but Ayers was not at Harvard or even in New York at that time. What’s the point of those random theories?

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM

The point is to get people to ask questions about this guys background and associations and that it never happens again that we elect anyone without proper vetting of presidential candidates.

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Marty King “met with” women not his wife, assaulting one of them, the day he was killed.

Did he get that nonviolent idea from Ghandi?

Is that the fruit born by these roots?

Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM

The religious values of civil rights have their roots in Judaism; Christianity does not exist without Judaism. Not to make too big a deal of it but saying that non-violent civil rights has its roots in Christianity is only partly true unless you make it clear that those roots come from the Jews

georgealbert on October 8, 2009 at 10:10 AM

It might be stretching the point, but both the America and the India of today have “roots” in the British Empire, and both Thomas Jefferson and Gandhi rebelled against it. Although Jefferson got there first, by about 150 years.

Steve Z on October 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Read this for comprehension: I was there. Generation-wise, physically and spiritually I was right there from the first inklings of MLK’s movement.

And I can tell you that Ghandi was right up front. Prominent. Public. Big time.

Thoreau? Not anywhere near as much. And as far as the media were concerned, virtually not at all.

Better get your head out of that moist orifice called theory-land and talk to some of us who were actually there.

Ghandi was the big dog as far as influence citations were concerned.

Now. Try again.

pabarge on October 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM

He just says stuff. A name-dropper, is all. You’d say he’s insulting his audience’s intelligence but that would require him to actually know he spouts air. I’m not convinced his controllers don’t think rising to about 6th grade-level research isn’t what running a country is all about. (No slur on 6th-graders intended.)

curved space on October 8, 2009 at 10:12 AM

We should call Obama the Cliff’s Notes president. He appears to have scanned the back covers and/or Cliff’s Notes of a wide variety of written work. This, combined with his inability to realize his speeches are saying the exact opposite of what he wants them to say, leaves him making little or no sense most of the time.
He’s like a school kid who, assigned to read “David Copperfield,” writes a book report about the suffering of a young Victorian boy who becomes a famous magician.

Mad Mad Monica on October 8, 2009 at 10:12 AM

He’s like a school kid who, assigned to read “David Copperfield,” writes a book report about the suffering of a young Victorian boy who becomes a famous magician.

Mad Mad Monica on October 8, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Exactly! Nice shot!

mr.blacksheep on October 8, 2009 at 10:14 AM

I do believe Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams, but Ayers was not at Harvard or even in New York at that time. What’s the point of those random theories?

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Might I offer a reasonable answer?

You see, many highly paid professors of Literature spend years of their professional lives studying such things as whether a certain manuscript was actually the work of Shakespeare, or was perhaps a forgery by some second-rate imitator.

Such researchers will pay close attention to what are called “minor encoding habits,” which are verbal habits a writer tends to fall back on. Identifying minor encoding habits is taken by pretty smart people as good evidence that a manuscript is either authentic or a copy.

Why do Literature professors study these things?

Because they want to understand the man, Shakespeare, and his times.

I don’t think the people looking into the authorship of Dreams are off base at all. In any other context, it would be a reasonable exercise. But in the present personality-cult of Obama, it’s apparently a grave offense.

This is disheartening to real intellectuals.

jeff_from_mpls on October 8, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 10:03 AM

No.

misslizzi on October 8, 2009 at 10:14 AM

The religious values of civil rights have their roots in Judaism; Christianity does not exist without Judaism. Not to make too big a deal of it but saying that non-violent civil rights has its roots in Christianity is only partly true unless you make it clear that those roots come from the Jews georgealbert on October 8, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Christianity recognizes Genesis to Revelation as Holy Scripture. The OT is not wholly “Jewish” as you imagine. I.e., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not Jews. Etc.

Insofar as anything of value came from the Jews as you assert, it came from God through the Jews.

So, focus.

Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:16 AM

To be awarded Magna cum Laude you have to graduate in the top 10% of your class. So, as I said, we at least know that he didn’t slack off in Law School. I have no idea what happened elsewhere.

Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Based on a claim from someone who said “just words, just speeches”? “No illegal alien coverage in this plan” as Joe Wilson mentioned and was proven to be right, as language was changed the next day, and the number without healthcare Obama used dropped from 47 million to 30 million? “The police acted stupidly” when he tok the black activists side without ANY facts known on the incident and claimed they are racist when CrockObama is racist.
How do you add 25% MORE people to the healthcare rolls and remove 35% of ALL doctors and not ration care?

Some other CrockObama glitches: 57 states, speak Austrian in Austria, no American meddling in Iran while we meddle in Honduras and Israel, iPod with his speaches to the Queen who has no idea on how to use one, wrong region DVD’s, bowing to Saudi king……

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Just for point of reference, 90 percent of students at Harvard graduated “with honors” during Obama’s time there. Which was so laughable they changed the system to make the grades actually worth something.

Skywise on October 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

They changed it? I thought that was still standard practice, among Ivy Leagues in general.

misslizzi on October 8, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I just spent the last 10 minutes reading this article.
Looks to me like Obama got it right and Ed’s got it wrong.

http://span.state.gov/wwwhspjanfeb092.html

bridgetown on October 8, 2009 at 10:01 AM

It looks like Ed had it right and Obama has it wrong. Here it is, in Martin Luther King’s own words:

During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau’s essay On Civil Disobedience for the first time. Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery’s territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau’s insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.

MLK roots his philosopy of nonviolent resistance to Thoreau.

Finally, Ghandi himself, in 1907, acknowledges the effects of Thoreau on his own thinking:

Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself. He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced. At the time of the abolition of slavery movement, he wrote his famous essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”. He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable.

unclesmrgol on October 8, 2009 at 10:20 AM

I’m really shocked and annoyed so few of you understand what Obama is doing here. This is not obamateurism; he is deliberately seizing on Gandhi’s birthday to rewrite American history. To the marxists who are now in power “today’s America” started in the 1960s, replacing the old capitalist, racist America. That is history as it will be taught to your children and grandchildren.

Obama is not a historian. Neither is Noam Chomsky – he’s a linguist. These academic marxists understand that controlling the language is controlling the culture. Liberal arts departments have been obsessed with post-modernist theory for decades.

Obama’s use of language has been very deliberate and effective – hope and change instead of revolution etc. Alinsky is the tip of the iceberg. Coopting Gandhi in this new foundation story of America is part of broader agenda going back decades. A majority of Americans probably already shares this view of American history, certainly most under 30.

BTW, India is great. I’ll try to move there if Obama gets a second term.

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:20 AM

he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law while editing the Law Review, so we’re pretty sure he at least didn’t fudge his way through that.

Bleeds Blue on October 8, 2009 at 9:32 AM

You can’t prove any of that. Restated for accuracy it would read:
There’s no proof he graduated Harvard, no proof it was Magna Cum Laude, no proof he edited anything ever. We’re very sure he fudged, is fudging, and will fudge pretty much everything he has, is, or will be associated with.
[note: I wrote associated not involved. Involvement appears to be too much effort for Akbar to manage. Also I wrote fudge to stay in theme. I would’ve written “YOU LIE!” but we all know Joe Wilson (R) owns the copyright to that.

Blacksmith8 on October 8, 2009 at 10:27 AM

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:20 AM

I think Ed and the rest of us do understand. And Obama’s attempts at this rewriting of history via linguistic party tricks are amateur, at best.

I’d say Ed’s work here is an effort to not let Obama & Co. slide on the deliberate fudging. To reference something I said earlier in this thread, Ed is no lazy professor.

misslizzi on October 8, 2009 at 10:27 AM

dthorny, the truth will set us free. Stick to the facts.

The birther stuff is counter-productive, destructive. There was no reason for Ann Dunham to go to Kenya to give birth or for Obama Sr. to bring his Hawaiian girlfriend home to his Kenyan wife and extended family. It makes no sense and give the Obamacrats an excuse to paint us all as crazies.

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:29 AM

They changed it? I thought that was still standard practice, among Ivy Leagues in general.

misslizzi on October 8, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Ehhh… upon doing a little more research it’s probably safer to say “they’re working on correcting the problem”. But it was a big issue when reported in 2001.

And Harvard has confirmed he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

But that distinction is NOT tied to grade or class ranking. It can be bestowed for any distinction (IE… Editor of the Law Review)

Skywise on October 8, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Should have just stuck with Happy Birthday, Mo!

mchristian on October 8, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Insofar as anything of value came from the Jews as you assert, it came from God through the Jews.

So, focus.

Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Perhaps this is why our American culture has, in the past, often been referred to as the Judeochristian Tradition? Of late it seems our tradition will be more accurately noted as the Postdemocratic Tradition, or the Marxist/Odamna Tradition. (insert prayer to the diety of your choice here).

Crusader Rabbit on October 8, 2009 at 10:34 AM

pabarge on October 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Yeah, well there were a bunch of us there, too. I was at Berkeley during SDS, Che portraits and “Unite the Workers”. I didn’t see Marx and Lenin so much, but they were the roots of That movement.

To say Thoreau was not at the inception of Ghandi’s philosophy because You didn’t recognize it is stupid. How’s that for a try?

OkieDoc on October 8, 2009 at 10:42 AM

But that distinction is NOT tied to grade or class ranking. It can be bestowed for any distinction (IE… Editor of the Law Review)

Skywise on October 8, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Very good to know!

I never realized that part. But it makes sense. How could they not let a Law Review editor, etc. graduate with some distinction. Harvard has a reputation to uphold, after all.

misslizzi on October 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Perhaps this is why our American culture has, in the past, often been referred to as the Judeochristian Tradition? Of late it seems our tradition will be more accurately noted as the Postdemocratic Tradition, or the Marxist/Odamna Tradition. (insert prayer to the diety of your choice here). Crusader Rabbit on October 8, 2009 at 10:34 AM

I don’t know what a JudeoChristian is, or where they meet. The founders never used the term that I’m aware of. “Christian” sufficed for them. And me.

Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM

What Obooba’s advocating is HindooChristian. Or something.

Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:47 AM

An interesting essay here the roots of Judeo-Christianty: “Judeo-Christian Values vs. Western Values.”

publiuspen on October 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM

An interesting essay here the roots of Judeo-Christianty: “Judeo-Christian Values vs. Western Values.”

publiuspen on October 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Here is the actual address here if you’d rather not click on a link.

http://conservativethoughts.us/2008/01/07/judeo-christian-values-vs-western-values/

publiuspen on October 8, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Christianity recognizes Genesis to Revelation as Holy Scripture. The OT is not wholly “Jewish” as you imagine. I.e., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not Jews. Etc.
Insofar as anything of value came from the Jews as you assert, it came from God through the Jews. So, focus.
Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:16 AM
================================================

Well, I really don’t care what you say Christianity recognizes because clearly you just make it up as you go. Since Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are Jews by any definition accepted by Jews and since the Christion Messiah was a Jew and the apostles were Jews…. and since the base of Christian theology is from the Jews, foolish statements made by someone who does not let facts get in the way of their opinions, really do not matter. Maybe you should try posting on Daily Kos, that seems more your speed

georgealbert on October 8, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Enough with the whitewashing… Mohandas Gandhi thought blacks were inferior, and often referred to blacks “kaffirs” and “animals”. He even worked with the white-minority apartheid regime in South Africa to suppress blacks. Let’s not even get into Gandhi’s rather foul role in the war between the Zulus and the British. While his non-violent resistance strategy was, somewhat ironically, a big influence on the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, let’s not treat him like a saint. Gandhi, without question, had a foul streak, one which history has been increasingly kind to omit.

Roc on October 8, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Excellent perpective, excellent history.

Thank you Ed for ironing out the record a bit from Barry’s wrinkly offering.

Shivas Irons on October 8, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Gandhi and MLK were also heavily influenced by the religious and moral writings of Tolstoy, who in his latter years was an advocate of total nonviolence. So those roots were Russian as well. Perhaps he should use this line of thought the next time he’s kissing the you know whats of the Russia govt.

herrevery on October 8, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Somebody really needs to take a careful look at Obama’s speechwriters. I recall the lead writer was a 27 year-old guy with not much of a background. He and the teleprompter keep churning out the same old theme: Bush very bad; Obama very good. Additionally, he, or they, keep getting history wrong. And Obama doesn’t have the knowledge to correct them, or even, as George Will recently noted, to take out the airy nonsense.

rgeaste on October 8, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Interesting.

And regarding the last post (which is the only one I’ve read in the thread), I say Obama needs to keep his speechwriters.

Alana on October 8, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Remember I Berliner…

Dr Evil on October 8, 2009 at 8:31 AM

“Ich bin ein Berliner”, mit Kaffee.

Johan Klaus on October 8, 2009 at 9:36 AM

“Ich bin ein Berliner”, mit Kaffee.

Sweet….

Dr Evil on October 8, 2009 at 12:15 PM

But that distinction is NOT tied to grade or class ranking. It can be bestowed for any distinction (IE… Editor of the Law Review)

Skywise on October 8, 2009 at 10:33 AM

So, wired for Harvard, wired to edit law review (wasn’t he the first black?), wired for magna cum laud.

Imagine having your way greased for you like that. Tsk. Feel sorry for him…NOT.

curved space on October 8, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Ghandi was the big dog as far as influence citations were concerned.

Now. Try again.

pabarge on October 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Given what a basket case Ghandi was, that doesn’t reflect well on MLK.

Count to 10 on October 8, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Obama called for students to take responsibility and to learn from their failures so that they succeed in the end. “Hi. I’m Lilly. And if you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be,” Obama was asked by one of the students.

“Dinner with anyone dead or alive? Well, you know, dead or alive, that’s a pretty big list,” Obama responded amidst laughter. The next moment he was serious. “You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine,”

Obama said. “Now, it would probably be a really small meal because he didn’t eat a lot,” he said amidst laughter. But Mahatma Gandhi is someone who has inspired people across the world for the past several generations, he said.

Stay classy, Obama.

Chris_Balsz on October 8, 2009 at 12:44 PM

We should call Obama the Cliff’s Notes president. He appears to have scanned the back covers and/or Cliff’s Notes of a wide variety of written work. This, combined with his inability to realize his speeches are saying the exact opposite of what he wants them to say, leaves him making little or no sense most of the time.

A nice summation. Let’s just hope he’s actually reading those war strategy books the WSJ says he is, and not just the jacket blurbs. He’s brilliantly managed to make a bigger mess of Afghanistan “the necessary war” than it already was.

The President and his academic cronies Administration need to quickly realize that the theories they spout in their classrooms have ridiculously little to do with the real world.

PoodleSkirt on October 8, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Civil Disobedience is starting to sound like good thing. If Congress/Obama corruptocrats pass Obamacare and Cap&Tax and push to limit freedom on the Internet and Talk Radio, they are going to see civil disobedience like Ghandi never dreamed of.

Christian Conservative on October 8, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Didn’t Penn & Teller do a bit on Gandhi awhile ago?

Ahhh… history. Gotta love that stuff.

ajacksonian on October 8, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Obama has already proved he’s an idiot, why does he keep trying to prove it further?

Spiritk9 on October 8, 2009 at 2:22 PM

This goes along with Obama’s mistaken view that NOTHING of VALUE is generated OR created in the USA. Guess that even goes for Dr. MLK where he’d rather give India CREDIT for something CREATED in the states!
2 seconds ago · Delete

Sultry Beauty on October 8, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Gandhi is the second most over rated celebrity of the 20th Century. Only the mass murderess Rachel Carson is more over rated.

During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis. Later, when the extent of the holocaust was known, he criticized Jews who had tried to escape or fight for their lives as they did in Warsaw and Treblinka. “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife,” he said. “They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.” “Collective suicide,” he told his biographer, “would have been heroism.”

He essentially advised the world to surrender to the most evil regime that the modern world ever saw.

In 1940, when invasion of the British Isles by Nazi Germany looked imminent, Gandhi offered the following advice to the British people (Non-Violence in Peace and War)

“I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions…. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.”

Had the British followed his suggestions India would have fallen to the Nazis.

Do you think they would have been as accommodating as the Brits were when he went on his hunger strike or would they just shoot him?

As for his actions in India I believe he caused far more harm than good. The British were eventually going to give the people of India their freedom anyway.

The accelerated process only resulted in the deaths of thousands during 1947 between Pakistan and India and created a schism that still hold the potential of the first nuclear exchange in the world’s history.

He was fortunate that he was fighting an authority that recognized human values. The Brits weren’t going to take him out and shoot him. But had he tried the same tactics in the Soviet Union or anywhere in Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy what do you fancy his life would have been worth?

Plus, Gandhi teaching reflects very clearly he was a Luddite. He opposed both capitalism and progress.

As I said, over rated.

Least you think that I’m opposed to Pacifism that is not true; I encourage it in all my enemies.

E9RET on October 8, 2009 at 4:30 PM

After reading that passage, how can anyone claim that King’s movement and the “America of today” had its roots in India? Did Obama ever bother to read King’s book or study him at all?

Ha — you really think Obama has any knowledge of history before 2000?

LifeTrek on October 8, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Might I offer a reasonable answer?

You see, many highly paid professors of Literature spend years of their professional lives studying such things as whether a certain manuscript was actually the work of Shakespeare, or was perhaps a forgery by some second-rate imitator.

Such researchers will pay close attention to what are called “minor encoding habits,” which are verbal habits a writer tends to fall back on. Identifying minor encoding habits is taken by pretty smart people as good evidence that a manuscript is either authentic or a copy.

Why do Literature professors study these things?

Because they want to understand the man, Shakespeare, and his times.

I don’t think the people looking into the authorship of Dreams are off base at all. In any other context, it would be a reasonable exercise. But in the present personality-cult of Obama, it’s apparently a grave offense.

This is disheartening to real intellectuals.

jeff_from_mpls on October 8, 2009 at 10:14 AM

From one Minnesoootan to another, thanks.
I would add when Obama received the credit for “the best manuscript ever written” HE LIED.

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 7:38 PM

dthorny, the truth will set us free. Stick to the facts.

The birther stuff is counter-productive, destructive. There was no reason for Ann Dunham to go to Kenya to give birth or for Obama Sr. to bring his Hawaiian girlfriend home to his Kenyan wife and extended family. It makes no sense and give the Obamacrats an excuse to paint us all as crazies.

modifiedcontent on October 8, 2009 at 10:29 AM

When is asking questions become a crime? Are you Reverend Wright? Bill Ayers? Michelle Obama? Brother George? Need a dollar for next years rent? You’re reasoning is ridiculous.
Who said I believed he was born in Kenya? I’m asking the question on WHY does he not release ALL information on his past, simple as that. Why did CrockObama spend over a million dollars on hiding his records from scrutiny? What has he got to hide?

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 7:48 PM

Obama has already proved he’s an idiot, why does he keep trying to prove it further?

Spiritk9 on October 8, 2009 at 2:22 PM

To prove you are a good judge of character.

dthorny on October 8, 2009 at 7:50 PM

FWIW, Ghandi also cited G. K. Chesterton as an influence in his commitment to independence for India.

njcommuter on October 8, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Ghandi’s tactics worked with the British because the British were not Hitler and the NAZIs.

His tactics would be a complete disaster with the NAZIS as would Dr. Martin Luther King’s tactics during the Civl Rights movement.

William2006 on October 26, 2010 at 1:57 AM

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