A few weeks ago I ran across Wayne Allen Root’s challenge from last summer. Root was the Libertarian VP candidate and he was theoretically a schoolmate of Obama’s at Columbia.
Welch: Were you the exact same class?
Root: Class of '83 political science, pre-law Columbia University. You don't get more exact than that. Never met him in my life, don't know anyone who ever met him. At the class reunion, our 20th reunion five years ago, 20th reunion, who was asked to be the speaker of the class? Me. No one ever heard of Barack! Who was he, and five years ago, nobody even knew who he was.
Other guy: Did he even show up to the reunion?
Root: I don't know! I didn't know him. I don't think anybody knew him. But I know that the guy who writes the class notes, who's kind of the, as we say in New York, the macha who knows everybody, has yet to find a person, a human who ever met him. Is that not strange? It's very strange.
I’ve read over this several times since because it’s more poignant than all off the plot points that we heard last summer because it kind of explains everything with Wright, Ayers, Allinsky and what not.
He most likely skirted at Columbia and that’s why no one knows him there and it’s why he won’t release his grades. After four years in the real world and the added maturity he went to Harvard Law and applied himself and he’s more than willing to share those grades and stories. But like a talented athlete he treated Columbia like he was a bonus baby and he treated Harvard like he was playing in his option year.
I'm kind of getting the feeling that he treated the campaign last year as the option year and he's now skirting. It’s common to make campaign promises that you don’t intend to keep, but it’s surprising the number of times he’s made an actual policy decision as president and then backtracked. That’s clearly the tendency of a guy who isn’t doing his homework. It’s also one explanation as to why the teleprompter is going everywhere. He’s a talented guy use to getting by on glib philosophical statements and that just doesn’t work in the White House. The CEO of a successful corporation isn’t the smartest guy in the company but the hardest working.
Look at Obama's post Harvard Law years. Instead of using such a degree to find his own success he went into public service where even if he were a failure no one would ever know. We do know that he couldn't make enough money to buy his own house and needed the shady Tony Rezko to accomplish it for him.
When all the talk was going around last summer that he had no personal accomplishments it was derided because he was such an exciting person. But electing a man with no accomplishments gives such a man the idea that the world is about keeping cool rather than making tough decisions. Obama has been accomplished in getting elected to things, but he has yet to make his mark in any particular job.
Bush didn’t speak well, but he knew the issues and where he stood as President. Obama has been unable to understand how his radical upbringing fits into the real world decisions of the presidency. It’s going to take a lot of hard work for him to be as comfortable with decision-making as Bush and nothing in his past suggests that he is up to the task. Once the newness wears off so will the facade. At some point you have to actually judge a president based on his own accomplishments instead of his contrast to the previous leader. I hope that we can get there before the 2010 election.