Belmont Club

Who is Barack Obama?

Good enough for government workJohn Fund at the WSJ describes the difficulty in finding out anything about Barack Obama, besides what he has carefully released to the public. Obama has been alternately parsimonious and extravagant about providing information about himself. He wrote an autobiography when he was only 34 years old, entitled Dreams of My Father, whose authorship was described by Wikipedia.

“In an effort to recruit him to their faculty, the University of Chicago Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book. He originally planned to finish the book in one year, but it took much longer as the book evolved into a personal memoir. In order to work without interruptions, Obama and his wife, Michelle, traveled to Bali where he wrote for several months. The manuscript was finally published as Dreams from My Father in mid-1995.”

But apart from these controlled releases of information Obama has been very guarded about his life. Fund writes that:

Ben Smith of Politico.com has written about Team Obama’s “pattern of rarely volunteering information or documents, even when relatively innocuous.” … Chasing the rest of Mr. Obama’s paper trail is often an exercise in frustration. Mr. Obama says his state senate records “could have been thrown out” and he didn’t keep a schedule in office. No one appears to have kept a copy of his application for the Illinois Bar. He has released only a single page of medical records, versus 1,000 pages for John McCain.  … All presidential candidates resist full examination of their records. But it should be the job of reporters not to accept noncooperation, stonewalling or intimidation when it comes to questions about fitness for the nation’s highest office.

Examination by the press is part of the “quality control” process that a democracy relies on to ensure that no grossly unsuitable candidate gets the nomination of a major party.  But when Bill Maher, surely no friend of the Republicans can say that the media coverage of Obama has become so biased that it’s embarssing there is little prospect that Obama will be asked any questions about Rezko, Ayers, Auchi, Mansour or anything else. Maher said

I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don’t think he thinks that he’s all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him….It’s embarrassing.

People would be aghast if nobody was interested in inspecting Air Force One before it flew. But there is less worry about the need to inspect who gets aboard Air Force One before it flies.  Does Hope and Change apply to reforming the media too?


Tip Jar.