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Our Not So Best and Not So Brightest

Why did Barack Obama think, in Rigoberta Menchu or Greg Mortenson fashion, that he could more or less make up most of the key details in his own autobiography? Again, think of it: the current president of the United States fabricated much of the information about his own life, in ways designed to enhance his self-serving narrative of  America’s racial insensitivity. But then again, for over a decade the president allowed his literary biography to claim that he was born in Kenya. His political opponents who claimed just that were written off as unhinged; but are we to think of the president himself as a birther?

I think that I should have boasted that I was born in Lund, Sweden, and dated the insensitive daughter of an agribusiness magnate, to make my past account of small farm life more effective.  But then again, Vice President Joe Biden is likewise a plagiarist -- who lifted an entire section of a speech from British Laborite Neil Kinnock, a "lapse" that recalled Biden’s earlier plagiarism in law school.

I thought Trent Lott should have stepped down for praising 100-year-old Strom Thurmond at his birthday fest in ways that could have suggested support for Thurmond’s earlier creed of racial segregation. But what does it take for his liberal counterpart -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- to quit? Declare the Iraq war lost in the midst of a surge to save it? Claim that Barack Obama is a light-skinned black who can turn on and off his black accent? Defame an African-American member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a “sh-t stirrer"? Or in McCarthyesque style fantasize that "someone" heard a rumor that Romney did not pay taxes, and hence Romney must release a decade of returns to "prove" that he is not a tax cheat -- and this from a man who became a millionaire while in public office and has not released a single year of his own returns? The treatment of Lott versus the treatment of Reid reminds one of the quite different fates of Alberto Gonzales and Eric Holder; the former was grilled by Congress to the point of being forced out, while the latter simply called his accusers racists and ignored what followed.

Liberal penance explains why Timothy Geithner apparently thought that he need not pay his full income tax obligations -- in a way a CEO of Chick-fil-A or Amway might never dare. If there is a problem with white redneck crime, will a mayor call in the racist Klan in the way Rahm Emanuel welcomed to Chicago Louis Farrakhan? Why worry whether Hilda Solis had a lien on the family business, when she issues a video invitation to illegal aliens to report their unfair employers to the Labor Department? And why did television host Eliot Spitzer, the white-collar crime fighter, think he could employ prostitutes with impunity while governor -- and, if caught, expect to end up as a cable TV news host? Or why did John Edwards, of "two Americas" fame, preach populism while enjoying the one-percent lifestyle (well aside from the lies about his campaign-subsidized girlfriend)? Or why did John Kerry both advocate higher taxes and yet seek to avoid them by docking his luxury yacht in a different state?

Or why, more recently, did Obama campaign guru Stephanie Cutter assume that she could simply lie on national television by stating that she did not know the circumstances behind the Joe Soptic "Romney-cancer" ad? She knew that earlier she was on tape outlining the Soptic narrative, so did she think she could claim ignorance on TV, blast her critics in the days to come, and then go back on as usual, given her efforts to extend the Obama agenda? Stranger still, she is probably right about all of those assumptions. I expect her in a week to be on television accusing her opponents of lying, with a press aiding and abetting her. Why does wealthy Andrea Mitchell yell at us for being illiberal, when she could instead yell at her husband, who was far more embedded in Wall Street than any Tea-Party pizza store owner?

Did David Plouffe really think his mediocre speaking skills or so-so knowledge of communications would win $100,000 a pop on the international lecture circuit -- on the eve of his assuming a key role in the White House? Hope and change? No revolving door? What sort of ad would Plouffe have run, had a top Romney aide been hired to speak by a company doing business with Iran? And isn’t $100,000 in an afternoon sort of one-percent-ish -- the sort of unfair, Costa del Sol-like privilege that Obama is trying to rectify?