Barack Zelig Obama

I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” – Barack Obama

Andrew Klavan:

A Fantasy Election, an Imaginary Man

Even before his inauguration, Barack Obama was an imaginary man, the creation of his admirers. Think back to the 2008 Time magazine cover depicting him as FDR, the Newsweek cover of the same year on which he was shown casting Lincoln’s shadow, or the $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”—this in 2009, less than a year after he had taken office. It was not that Obama had done nothing to deserve these outsized comparisons and honors—it was not just that he had done nothing—it was that he seemed for all the world to be a blank screen on which such hysterical fantasies could too easily be projected, a two-dimensional paper doll just waiting to be dressed in leftist dreams.


The mystery Obama—the hollow receptacle of out-sized fantasies left and right—is not a creation of his own making, political chameleon though he may well be. It emanates instead from a journalistic community that no longer in any way fulfills its designated function, that no longer even attempts the fair presentation of facts and current events aimed at helping the American electorate make up its mind according to its own lights. Rather, left-wing outlets like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, and the like have now devoted themselves to fashioning an image of the world they think their audiences ought to believe in—that they may guide us toward voting as they think we should. They have fallen prey to that ideological corruption that sees lies as a kind of virtue, as a noble deception in service to a greater good.


The Obama of the imagination is the media’s Obama. Out of their fascination with the color of his skin and their mindless awe at his windy teleprompted rhetoric, they constructed a man of stature and accomplishment.


Governor Romney’s unprecedented dismantling of the president in their first debate—an encounter so one-sided it reminded me of the famous cartoon in which Godzilla meets Bambi, with predictable results—was surprising only for Romney’s warmth and clarity. Obama’s hapless fumbling, bad temper, and inarticulate inability to defend his record were actually thoroughly predictable. They were simply facets of the man as he truly is, unfiltered by the imagination of his media supporters: a man who has succeeded, really, at almost nothing but the winning of elections; a man who cannot distinguish between his ideology and life; a man who does not seem to know how the machinery of the world actually works.

I think Klavan gives the media too much credit, or perhaps I should say blame. Obama has been a fake and a phony all his life.

It’s clear from his own autobiography, pictures and interviews that Obama has always tried to portray himself as someone more exotic and sophisticated than he really was. He told other kids that his father was an African prince. He wore a sarong and held his cigarettes differently and listened to jazz instead of rock or soul music like the other students his age. He pronounced his name “Buh-ruch” instead of “Ba-rock.”

Ironically, racism actually boosted his career. I’m not talking about Jim Crow racism, I’m talking about the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” racism of the liberal elites. It’s related to what George Bush called “The soft bigotry of low expectations.”

There are a lot of people out there with Ivy League degrees. Every high school in the country has a valedictorian. Every year our top colleges and universities receive thousands of applications from high school seniors with 4.0 GPA’s and perfect or near-perfect SAT scores. The vast majority of those applicants are white.

Here was Barack Obama, an ostensibly black kid with above-average intelligence who was raised in a white family that was originally from Kansas. He was a dean of admissions dream. He was black but he had graduated from a fancy prep school. He wasn’t even an athlete!

Barack Obama literally had to learn how to be an African-American. He took a job as a community organizer, but he only worked in the South Side of Chicago, he lived in Hyde Park. The AA community was leery of him at first, so he started attending Trinity United Church. He stopped dating white women and hooked up with Michelle.

He began to ingratiate himself with the Daley machine, then he strong-armed Alice Palmer off the ballot to win a job as a state senator. For a few years there he was a lawyer, law school professor and a state senator all at the same time, but really didn’t leave a mark in any of those jobs.

His political positions have shifted with the winds. When he was a state senator he represented a mostly black district and he took very liberal positions. When he ran for the US Senate he became a moderate. Then he started cozying up to the big money special interests. Oh, and remember when he used to be religious?

All of his adult life Barack Obama has been graded on an affirmative action curve. There is nothing particularly remarkable about his accomplishments except for one thing – he is black.

Columbia University graduates a couple thousand kids a year. Harvard Law School cranks out about 500 new lawyers every Spring. Barack Obama wasn’t the first president of the Harvard Law Review, he was the first black president. He didn’t invent community organizing. His legal career was undistinguished, as was his record as a senator in both Springfield and Washington DC.

A white guy (or a woman of any color) with his record would never have been taken seriously as a presidential candidate.

The truly remarkable thing about Obama is that he got away with it for so long.

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75 Responses to Barack Zelig Obama

  1. driguana says:

    A blank screen and an empty chair….now there’s some reassuring images for a leader…..

  2. myiq2xu says:

    David Remnick:

    Obama’s Old Friends React to the Debate

    When Barack Obama was a student at Harvard Law School, he was never known as a particularly good debater. In class, if he thought that a fellow student had said something foolish, he showed no forensic bloodlust. He did not go out of his way to defeat someone in argument; instead he tried, always with a certain decorous courtesy, to try to persuade, to reframe his interlocutor’s view, to signal his understanding while disagreeing. Obama became president of the law review—the first African-American to do so—but he won as a voice of conciliation. He avoided the Ames Moot Court Competition, where near contemporaries like Cass Sunstein, Deval Patrick, and Kathleen Sullivan made their names.

    Laurence H. Tribe, a leading constitutional-law scholar and Obama’s mentor at Harvard, told me after Wednesday night’s debate with Mitt Romney, “Although I would have been happier with a more aggressive debate performance by the President, I’ve had to remind myself that Barack Obama’s instincts and talents have never included going for an opponent’s jugular. That’s just not who he is or ever has been.”

    Some of Obama’s old friends from Harvard and from his early days as an organizer and as a neophyte politician in Chicago were disappointed that Obama so clearly lost the debate—at least on the level of sheer performance if not substance—but the tone of that performance did not come entirely as a shock.

    Christopher Edley, Jr., who also taught Obama at Harvard, served as an informal adviser, and is now dean of the law school at the University of California at Berkeley, laughed when I asked him if he was disappointed by the President’s strangely absent demeanor and pedagogical answers. “I’m a professor and he was a professor: What’s the problem?!” he said. “I usually don’t treat being professorial as a problem. It’s usually great in my book, but he played in that particular comfort zone of his and it was a mismatch for the occasion. I’ve been in too many debate-prep sessions to count with Presidential candidates—I worked with Dukakis, Gore, Dean, and Obama, in 2008—and there are some basics that the President just didn’t check off. Most glaringly, for starters, he failed to look into the camera for his closing statement.

    “The reason I hate campaigns,” Edley continued, “is that being right on the substance isn’t good enough. That’s why I’m an academic. Of course, Obama knows that, but it’s also a question of what he cares about. I admire him for caring more about the substance than the tactics even if it makes me grimace when I watch him. Why does he do it? Look, we all do things in the short term that are not consistent with a long-term goal, whether it’s failing to save for retirement or watching TV instead of doing your homework. It’s called being human rather than being the ideal client of your handlers. It makes it harder to achieve his goal, which is to get reëlected. But if you wanted authenticity you got it [on Wednesday] night. And, really, you got it in an unsurprising way. We know that Obama skews cerebral and that he has never liked debates as a way to engage issues. He has said that many times.”

    Obama’s friends from his days as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side and his first campaigns in the city concentrated less on his forensic shortcomings; they were more frustrated with what they saw as Romney’s capacity to get away with inconsistencies and worse.

    Will Burns, a Chicago alderman, who, as a student, worked for Obama in his (successful) 1996 campaign for the Illinois State Senate and his (unsuccessful) 2000 campaign for Congress, said that the format was too “loosey-goosey” for Obama, who failed to get aggressive with Romney.

    “The President has always been someone who takes the truth seriously and has a great faith in the American people and their ability to handle big ideas,” Burns said. “He doesn’t patronize them. He uses the campaign as an educative process. He wants to win but also wants to be clear about his ideas…. He took complex ideas like Medicare and the debt and tried to explain it to people so they can understand them while at the same time not being patronizing. And he is doing this with an opponent who is completely dissembling on every issue! There is a certain brazenness about Romney. It’s like [Stephen] Colbert talking about ‘truthiness.’ Romney stood there, with his hair and his jaw and his terrific angles—and he lied! About taxes, about Medicare. Obama pushed back on the five-trillion-dollar tax cut or the way Romney’s version of Medicare would destroy Medicare as we know it. And Romney just tilted his head and said, Oh, no, it won’t. At some point, you have to believe that the facts speak for themselves.”

    Burns recalled that when Obama ran for Congress against the incumbent Bobby Rush and a fellow state senator Donnie Trotter, he would often find the debates frustrating, even absurd. “Obama always tried to keep his cool,” Burns said. “I sensed that last night. He was trying to keep his cool.”

    Maybe so, said the Reverend Alvin Love, of the Lilydale First Baptist Church, on the South Side, “but I thought the President was a little laid back. Romney was really aggressive, even overly aggressive and got away with some stuff. The President stuck to the issues and took great pains to explain his positions and sometimes that can come off, in that setting, as a little cold. I thought he held his own but I guess when you get into that first debate, you want your guy to blow the competition away, and that didn’t happen.”

    Reverend Love grew close to Obama when Obama was a community organizer. He could tell that Obama was never particularly comfortable in the debate format. “He’s better out there by himself,” he said. “His personality has always been kind of contemplative. In that kind of format, when you are contemplative, it makes you seem not as quick on the draw.”

    Johnnie Owens, one of Obama’s fellow organizers on the South Side, told me, “I’ve seen him better. Some people said he came off flat and he did. He did his best, but a number of times when Romney was asked, Barack kept his head down too long and it made it look as if he didn’t want to deal with what Romney was saying, as if he was reading something. It would have looked better if he had lifted his head up and looked Romney in the eye.

    “The job of being President,” Owens went on, “you can see it in his face—that level of seriousness, having to do what he does, and then go debate. His hair has gotten grayer so quickly! Mine, too, but for him it’s almost overnight. You can really sense the stress on him.”

    His hair changes color overnight all the time.

    • yttik says:

      “…he showed no forensic bloodlust….. instead he tried, always with a certain decorous courtesy, to try to persuade…”

      Bovine poop! He’s nothing but a quivering mass of bloodlust. . President Obama has never tried to win an election or a debate using “decorous courtesy, to try to persuade…” Instead he always resorted to bullying, to dirty tricks, to getting his opponent disqualified.

    • votermom says:


    • Constance says:

      So basically Obama wants to talk at people rather than interact with them.
      As far as the honest educative Obama…we can all see the stone walling and lies relative to the terrorist attack in Libya, Fast and Furious, and apparently the jobs numbers. Please! we aren’t as stupid as we must look.

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Honk, honk!! Exactly so.

  4. myiq2xu says:

    • DeniseVB says:

      Notice his byline “Former New York Times Columnist”. Heh, if it’s in the NYT it must be true, that was a good article.

    • Lulu says:

      This is why turnout is going to be low within the base. When politicians do absolutely nothing, NOTHING, for their base they lose. The base can pretend only so long.

  5. catarina says:

    The whining and shrieking about Romney’s plan to “murder” Big Bird has reached fever pitch.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Mitt’s just planning for Thanksgiving.

    • votermom says:

      GOP should spin this the other way – Mitt wants to free Big Bird from the chains of govt cotrol.

    • cj says:

      Big Bird is a big brown-nosing dope. The muppets would be better off without him, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

    • DeniseVB says:

      I think it was Jim Treacher who tweeted : “If you care more about Big Bird than the death of Ambassador Stevens #YouMustBeALiberal.

      The Sesame Street brand is worth millions and the CEO makes almost a million a year. Evil Corporations !!!1!! Big Bird is the 1% 😀

      We need to find out who the CEO donates to. 😉

      • angienc says:

        To Sesame Street’s credit, they’ve stayed out of it accept for a message (via Twitter) that they are a non-partisan corporation but they are happy to know that both sides of the aisle like Big Bird. (paraphrased – but gist of it because, as the vile progs don’t seem to remember,Romney said “I like Big Bird” but “I’m sorry” funding PBS isn’t worth borrowing money from China).

        And btw, if we are going to be adults here & look where we can make cuts so that we can start paying back this $16 trillion in debt so we can get back to “being broke” (h/t Mark Steyn), is that really an awful *test* that Romney offered — i.e., “is the program so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to fund?” Seriously, if we can’t cut funding to PBS — which, btw, only means they will have to do more fundraising OR start running advertising on their station — what the FUCK can we cut? I swear to God, the entire Dem party has become Veruca Salt parodies — I WANT MY BIG BIRD AND I WANT IT NOW DADDY!!!! Grow the fuck up.

        • angienc says:

          *except not accept.

        • DeniseVB says:

          I have a non-activist liberal friend who supports PBS with donations and volunteering for their local telethons. When I brought up defunding she asked me “then how will the poor children get exposure to the arts” ? Then I remembered a good response I read somewhere, “I’m sure poor children are more concerned about where their next meal comes from more than worrying about missing the Three Tenors”.

          Let’s not forget, the Obama administration took money from the food stamp program to finance Michelle’s Let Move Our Fat Butts And No More Tasty Food For You campaign 😀

      • gxm17 says:

        He should change that to “You must be a Progressive.” I’m a liberal and I have been loudly enraged about the assassination of Ambassador Stevens and the Benghazi cover-up. Big Bird, not so much.

      • foxyladi14 says:

        bet it is the Dems 🙂

  6. cj says:

    Excellent post myiq. Klaven’s had a good take on the media, but he certainly didn’t paint the whole picture. You did, and you did it very, very well.

  7. yttik says:

    I should say I don’t blame President Obama for affirmative action. I place the blame for that squarely on the media who created him and on elitist liberals who roll around in the bigotry of soft expectations.

    The sad part which I’ve said all along, is that their racism put him on a pedestal and their racism will knock him down. Hell hath no fury like a scorned do-gooder with an ungrateful or uppity pet.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Barack’s problem is he can never live up to their expectations. He’s not a demi-god.

      He can’t help but disappoint his fans, and they can’t believe they misjudged him. That makes his failure willful in their minds.

      • bluestate says:

        That makes his failure willful in their minds.

        i agree. i think it was one of those situations where obama knew he couldn’t catch up to romney even if he did the work, so he slacked on the prep somewhat, but it wouldn’t have mattered. i think in the next town hall debate, he’ll smile a lot, turn on the charm, more of the “happy anniversary, sweetie” crap, because he cannot match romney blow for blow. we’ll see.

      • DandyTiger says:

        I keep being tempted to tell my Obot friends that Obama has never been able to debate or really anything else. That he’s always been this way. But then I think, no, don’t correct them. Let them think he’s god like and is just failing them now. They’re all pissed at Obama. I don’t want them to be pissed at themselves instead. Yet. 🙂

      • DeniseVB says:

        Makes me wonder, why was HE the chosen one ? Surely there are more gifted and talented black politicians in the Democratic party? I think a Newark mayor could run this country better. A woman would have been just as historic. Obama’s only half black too. So is Derek Jeter, but he’s not a great ball player because of his color. I think even those who hate the Yankees, like Jeter 😀

        • cj says:

          I don’t know if we’ll ever find out why he was chosen. If he loses there will be an avalanche of tell all books, but if (and I’m not convinced there was) a conspiracy, the power brokers will stay hidden.

          btw, thanks for not putting Jeter & Lord Voldemort in the same sentence. There’s only so much I can take this early in the morning.

        • kc says:

          he was chosen be because he would play ball with the money boys–he can be compromised.

    • Lulu says:

      I do blame Obama because while he took advantage of aa he also continues to demand it. As you say the providers of those advantages expect a return on their granting off aa goodies. It is seen by the elites as a tradeoff in which they gain a moral superiority for doing something good for once but they expect a high level of performance which is up to their own standards. Obama did not meet that part of the bargain. He was trumpeted as the next JFK. He isn’t. Their baloney investment has tanked. The elites are pissed because he has not held up his side of the grand bargain to perform publicly at a high level like a good Harvard grad should and continue to enrich the already rich while passing out crumbs to the riffraff. Tribe et al where the ones who vouched for this nitwit and they are scrambling to cover their rears. The elites got gypped and they are pissed.

      • angienc says:

        to enrich the already rich while passing out crumbs to the riffraff.

        This can’t be repeated enough — the mega-rich have gotten richer & everyone else has gotten poorer under Obama. The idiots who support him over what they ignorantly term the “robber barron” Romney are mind-numbingly unaware of this. They say — look, the economy is getting better under Obama, the stock market is doing great & those greedy bastard corporations (see, corporations *are* people when Obama supporters want to call them “greedy bastards”) are sitting on piles of money. Well, no shit, morons, the corporations are sitting on money because they don’t want to LOSE it by investing it in this economic environment and rich people have got to put their money somewhere — so right now it is in the stock market instead of private equity to invest in businesses. Romney said it perfectly at the debate — the rich are going to be OK no matter who is POTUS. However, the Obama supporters have even *less* understanding about basics economics than Obama does. All Obama has given the middle class is cheap money & no jobs — and all he’s offering is more of the same.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Whoa Debbie Whatshername Schultz, a glamorous version from a recent magazine spread. Bless her heart, air brushing and photo shopping are indeed her friends. And Spanx 😉

    • cj says:

      Wow. I wonder if it’s more than photoshopping though. I’ve noticed that Debbie has been MIA from the shrieking Greek Chorus lately, maybe she was busy having some work done?

      I can’t stand her, but good for her either way. If I had money to burn, I’d seriously think about a little nip & tuck too.

      • DeniseVB says:

        I know there’s non-invasive surgeries that can reshape your body and face, even noses. But I doubt any of those procedures would turn me into Dana Perino 😀

        • cj says:

          I’d be aiming for, what do they call it; a refreshed look? Believe me, my expectations don’t rise much higher than that. ROFL

  9. angienc says:

    I watched that movie glennmc linked in the previous thread — very powerful stuff there.

    Anyway, I’m bringing this comment up from there:

    Morons & sociopaths — the real Obama “base” reveals itself.

    Seriously, they are too pathetic & dangerous to even argue with — any person with half a brain & an ounce of decency would be rushing to vote for & elect Romney right now, not trying to excuse the pathetic performance and complete ignorance of the man who at this moment has access to the red phone. If Wednesday night didn’t wake them up, they’re a lost cause.

    Even The New Yorker gets it, for the love of God!

    • cj says:

      Very good point. All Romney has to do is get voters to connect the ominous red phone to the incompetent boob sitting in the oval office, and the election is in the bag. I really wish the foreign policy debate was next while the empty chair imagery is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

      And yes the Bots are very dangerous, all you have to do is read some of the ugly crap they post on twitter.

  10. Constance says:

    Well put! The thing that kills me is that if the Dems had let Hillary succeed she would have won in 2008, been a much more competent President, and won again in 2012. If they had put the much junior Obama in as VP he would have had the chance to actually develop the judgment and credentials to run for President in 2016 and probably would have won and made a much better President at that point in his life than he has now. Or maybe he is just an empty shell who never could develop into anything so they had to rush him ahead of Hillary before he passed his expiration date and people figured out the emperor was buck naked. At any rate the east coast misogyny and bizarre racial guilt cost this country a lot.

    • angienc says:

      I agree about Hillary & I used to think the same about Obama in the VP slot, but not anymore — he wouldn’t have learned anything under that scenario & would be just as incompetent, intellectually incurious & detached in 2016 as he now. If 4 years as POTUS can’t teach you anything, 8 years as VP wouldn’t have.

    • DM says:

      Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t hire Obama for anything. I’m okay with the way things turned out. Obama embodies the Democratic Party. Like the obots who project on Obama what they want from a politician, until 2008, I too used to project on the Democratic Party my ideals, excusing the party with ineptitude. I want Mitt and the Republicans beat Obama and the Democratic Party throughly on election day.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I don’t think VP paid enough to support the Obama’s lifestyle 🙂

      Would Oprah hire him to run Harpo? Would George Clooney hire him as his business manager or run his career?

  11. lyn5 says:

    If this doesn’t work, could you please fix it

  12. gxm17 says:

    Just spent about 20 minutes talking to a Romney “door knocker.” At first he couldn’t fathom where I was coming from, a Stein supporter who is seriously contemplating voting for Romney, but the penny finally dropped when I told him it was the “the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet” comment that sent me into the undecided column. I told him not to worry, if it remains close in VA, I’ll vote for Romney. When he left, he shook our hands and told us we’d made his day. Oh, and he said he has been getting great response.

  13. lyn5 says:

    This one I love.

  14. carol haka says:

    Andrew, what took you so long to figure it out? All of us former Dems had BHO pegged 5+ yrs. ago. Of course we were looking for some clue of substance, not skin color! 👿

  15. HELENK says:

    I just read one of the best descriptions of backtrack

    out of his depth in a parking lot puddleI

  16. DM says:

    OMG. Look at the gas prices is Los Angeles $5.79 per gallon with a credit card! The people in LA live in their cars; they have to drive to go to their bathroom.

  17. carol haka says:

    Someone who can go to drudge to post. Intelligence Agency is blowing whistle on administration. Iran has been behind bs in ME because of sanctions – the spooks are madder than hell. Maybe GOD will put an end to this nightmare. Hillary’s going down with ship! 👿

    • carol haka says:

      Hopefully the Intelligence answer will be the same as the next to last scene in Clear & Present Danger: “Sorry Mr President, I don’t dance.” 👿 I hate that motherfucker piece of shit! 👿

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