The Enigma of Barack Obama

What's my line? What's my line?

Put me down in the Roger Simon camp on this one: without wandering into Birther territory or the inconclusive musings of Jerome Corsi... who the heck is this guy, really?

To put it bluntly: nobody knows nothin’ about the president of the United States, aka the leader of the free world. And what little we do know is highly uninformative and often contradictory.

In a world where every phone call, email, text message, Tweet, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook post, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn link, Google + post, blog post, semaphore, morse code, Braille, and probably burp has been recorded digitally for posterity and beyond, nobody knows what Barack Obama even got in freshman English. (Well, maybe the NSA does, but they’re not telling.)

Does this matter? I don’t know – and that’s the point. In an administration that once proclaimed that it would be transparent like no other, but now has lied like no other, one can only guess.

Obama’s unseen college and graduate school records (Occidental, Columbia, Harvard Law) are only one part of the Mystery of the Shrouded POTUS – another is the Khalidi tape, its possibly anti-Israel contents locked in a vault at the L.A. Times – but those academic records are certainly a significant part.

Has there been a modern presidential candidate about whom we know less than the former Barry Soetoro? Other than what he's told us about himself in Dreams from My Father -- a book proven even by sympathetic biographers to be filled with fabrications ("a man one step removed from his own life," according to David Maraniss)? Has anyone ever had the audacity to run for national office without a thorough vetting by the national media, replete with quotes from those who knew him then, interviews with his high-school classmates, examples of his writing, anecdotes, etc.? Would a dope-smoking member of the Choom Gang ever have even made it into the Senate were that aspect of his background widely known? What about his alcoholic, bigamist father?

One way to look at Obama is as a man of remarkable political skills who has overcome a "compelling personal story" that would have sunk anybody else. The problem, of course, is that the media fell for the other "compelling personal story" -- its own. "When the legend becomes fact," goes the famous line from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "print the legend." And, boy, did they ever...