57 States

Enough with the 57 states.

I keep seeing the “Obama said there were 57 states!” assertion pop up in any discussion wherein it is pointed out that someone may have been wrong about something.  It usually goes like this:  “Yeah, well, Obama said there were 57 states!  So there!”

Indeed, I think I must read it several times a week in the comments here at OTB (not to mention elsewhere).

Two things:

1)  Even if Obama said, and even deeply believes, that there are 57 states, that isn’t an argument about what someone else said.  When I tell one of my sons, “Go clean your room it’s a mess,” and he says back to me “My brother’s room is a bigger mess!” it may be a true statement, but the fact of one mess does not obviate the existence of another.

This might be described, as your mother may have once told you:  two wrongs don’t make a right.

2)  The 57 state thing is not nearly as impressive a mistake as it legendary status makes it out to be.

Here’s the clip:

So yes, he said the words “fifty seven states” (although it was more like “fifty…seven states”).

Now, I cannot get into his head.  I don’t know if he actually thought at that moment that there were 57 states.  I must confess, however, that I find the Snopes interpretation pretty compelling after watching the clip:

He was trying to express the thought that in all the time he had spent on the campaign trail so far in 2007-08, he had visited all (48) of the states in the continental U.S. save for one (i.e., “one left to go,” excluding Alaska and Hawaii), but in his weariness he slipped up and started off with “fifty” instead of “forty.” (Not the long pause in the video clip between the words “fifty” and “seven”.)

As such, enough already with the 57 states trope.

Surely we can find other, more cogent and significant ways to make our cases than this type of stuff?  If one wishes to be taken seriously, then one has to be serious.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Alex Knapp says:

    A related point – in 2008, there were 57 Democratic primaries.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Alex: Yes, that explanation came up much later. I think it was actually 56, counting the overseas caucuses. But I think the “he was tired and misspoke” explanation–which was my take at the time as well as Snopes’–is more plausible.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    @James,

    For sure, but but the # of primaries probably fed the misstatement.

  4. Tano says:

    Its a good marker for a retarded commenter though.

    Anyone who tries to seriously make an issue of this, to claim that a presidential candidate – someone who lives with a constant electoral college calculator in their head – somehow really doesn’t know how many states there are, is just downright stupid.

    But loudly asserting such stupidity does seem to be a badge of honor for so many on the right.
    I don’t think I will ever really understand these people….

  5. Dave says:

    If Obama has one problem, it’s that he’s really dumb.

  6. andrew says:

    LOL. I guess the Left doesn’t like it when someone uses their own tactics against them.

  7. Wiley Stoner says:

    So Steve, what is the reason he wrote 24 May, 2008? I understand he had to ask the Dean of Westminister what day it was. This was a vivid demonstration of situational awareness for you. I know there are some whom the media have labels as stupid, but I would be willing to put money on who had better grades in school, Palin or Obama. Problem is one is hiding theirs and that is not Palin. Answer that Steve.

  8. As noted in the other thread, I worry more about what Obama means to do than the little miostakes he makes. But bringing it up does seem merely like an application of Alinksy Rule #5 for the Community Organizer in Chief.

  9. Southern Hooser says:

    Of course the president was tired and he made a mistake. Just like he flubbed his swearing in ceremony and had to do a do over. Even then he was tired and forgot to place his hand on the Bible. And again he was tired. He must have been tired as well when he spoke of Nancy Reagan having séances in the White House. And he must have been tired as well when he couldn’t figure out how to pronounce “corpsman.” Yes, he said “corpse-man.” And then he was tired from jet lag when he wrote 2008. And when he dupped the toast to the Queen, he as tired that day as well..

    When the phone rangs at 3 A.M. we don’t need a president that makes mistakes when he is tired.

  10. An Interested Party says:

    Steven, it looks like you might have to follow up this post with one about Alinsky Rules…some people really can’t get by without their dog whistles…

  11. Gilbert says:

    Fine, we can drop the 57 states misstatement.

    Now, how about pointing out when news people attribute Tina Fey quotes to Sarah Palin?

  12. Rock says:

    I think he actually did not know how many states he had been to during the campaign. Listen to his slight emphasis of the last word “states” as he makes what was a statement into a question to himself. He could not remember or didn’t know so he took a SWAG at it and screwed the pooch. Basically it was a minor brain fart, a Potatoe or Macaca moment.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    Now, how about pointing out when news people attribute Tina Fey quotes to Sarah Palin?

    Indeed…Palin has done quite enough to embarrass herself without Tina Fey’s assistance…

    …or Macaca moment.

    Oh? So he was directing a racial slur towards someone? Who knew…

  14. Tano says:

    Just like he flubbed his swearing in ceremony and had to do a do over.

    Huh? YOU mean the Chief Justice flubbed the swearing in -go watch the vid – Obama was actually trying to help him out with it. LINK

    Man, you are pathetic the way you make stuff up…

  15. Rock says:

    Oh? So he was directing a racial slur towards someone? Who knew…Race card alert!

    Actually he really goofed up the entire statement. He said he had been to 57 states with one left to go which made 58 states. But he had not been allowed to visit Hawaii or Alaska because his staff said no … that’s 2 more . . . and now we have 60 states.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Basically, the 57 states thing is them hitting Obama with their best shot. In their minds that particular pea shooter is a howitzer…

  17. Southern Hooser says:

    @ Tano

    The first misstep occurred during the first part of the oath. Roberts had not yet completed the first phrase when Obama began reciting the oath.

    http://goo.gl/UImdE

    After Comrade O’Bama threw the oath off, the ceremony went down hill from there and the rest is history.

    Tell me again how I make this stuff up.

    Man, you are pathetic

    More liberal name calling, when all else fails them

  18. Scott O. says:

    Surely we can find other, more cogent and significant ways to make our cases than this type of stuff?

    Sadly, no. They can’t.

  19. An Interested Party says:

    So it is a “race card alert” to point out when someone makes a racist statement…that’s some interesting “logic” there…

    Actually he really goofed up the entire statement.

    You should of just pointed that out, rather than comparing it to the racist statement of another politician…

    More liberal name calling, when all else fails them

    Obviously Tano learned well from you, considering how you refer to the president…

  20. LaurenceB says:

    It just dawned on me that my respect for Republicans has reached such a low point that I’m genuinely surprised we’ve gotten this far into the comments without some idiot bringing up teleprompters.

  21. Southern Hooser says:

    An Interested Party says: Friday, May 27, 2011 at 21:06

    Obviously Tano learned well from you, considering how you refer to the president…

    Have I called you, Tano, anyone else on here or Comrade O’Bama names?

  22. G.A.Phillips says:

    Steven, it looks like you might have to follow up this post with one about Alinsky Rules…some people really can’t get by without their dog whistles…

    lol, you guys are indoctrinated with so much crap like this, but denial is clearly number one on the list…

    Next one he should write is about how I don’t understand and misuse the term indoctrinated:)

  23. Southern Hooser says:

    LaurenceB says: Friday, May 27, 2011 at 21:13

    It just dawned on me that my respect for Republicans has reached such a low point that I’m genuinely surprised we’ve gotten this far into the comments without some idiot bringing up teleprompters.

    OK, all the mistakes Comrade O’Bama made were made because he was tired and misread the teleprompter.

  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    It just dawned on me that my respect for Republicans has reached such a low point that I’m genuinely surprised we’ve gotten this far into the comments without some idiot bringing up teleprompters.

    Sorry, I went and swore off that ridicule the other day in the spirit of solidarity…

  25. Jay Tea says:

    I was never into that whole “57 states” thing anyway, so fine. It would have been funnier it had been John Kerry, though — he’s currently married to the widow of Senator John Heinz, of the “57 varieties” Heinzes.

    Besides, as noted, there’s a whole cornucopia of other Obamaisms that can be plumbed.

    Just remember: verbal fumbles or gaffes are only a sign of unintelligence when made by conservatives. When made by liberals, they are signs that they are only human, that they get tired, that they make understandable mistakes. Because all liberals are super-intelligent and super-competent and super-correct.

    And then there’s Joe Biden, but we don’t like to talk about him.

    J.

  26. Tano says:

    Tell me again how I make this stuff up.

    Dude, Do you even read the links that you provide?

    “After the correct recitation of the first phrase of the presidential oath, Roberts recited incorrectly the next part of the oath by saying “that I will execute the Office of President to the United States faithfully”, rather than “that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States”. Obama recited the words “I will execute”, and then paused.[100] Roberts then tried to correct his mistake in administering the oath by reciting “faithfully the Office of President of the United States”, followed by Obama repeating Roberts’ first incorrect phrase.”

  27. Southern Hooser says:

    are only human,

    To error is human, to forgive divine and liberals are neither.

  28. Southern Hooser says:

    @ Tano

    Dude, sure I read it. What was the “The first misstep?” It was Obama interrupting and talking over the Chief Justice and throwing him off.

  29. Tano says:

    as I said,,,pathetic

    To error is human, to forgive divine and liberals are neither.

    Its “to err”, not “to error”.

  30. Southern Hooser says:

    Tano says: Friday, May 27, 2011 at 22:10

    as I said,,,pathetic

    To error is human, to forgive divine and liberals are neither.

    Its “to err”, not “to error”.

    Not pathetic, merely human, unlike you.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    Have I called…Comrade O’Bama names?

    The stupid…it burns…

  32. Wiley Stoner says:

    This is the record Obama has to run on. His gaffs are both oral and actual. Are you sure the Democrats are going to run this guy? I really don’t think we need to worry about who the GOP chooses to run agains this. There is no more hope or change from this Administration. Only more of the same. A sign on the back of a bus reads “A Fundamental Restoration”.

    20% under/unemployment.
    $4.00 – $5.00 gasoline.
    Skyrocketing food prices.
    Dropping home prices with record number of people underwater in their mortgages.
    Skyrocketing deficits measured in trillions, not billions.
    ObamaCare that most people hate.
    Promises of higher taxes.
    Medicare going bankrupt.
    Social security going bankrupt.

  33. An Interested Party says:

    Hmm…if most people really thought things were as awful as the above rant tries to illustrate, wouldn’t the GOP presidential contenders be in much better shape than they currently are? According to the above narrative, that crowd should resemble the Magnificent Seven, rather than the freak show that they actually look like…

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    Wiley:

    I would be willing to put money on who had better grades in school, Palin or Obama. Problem is one is hiding theirs and that is not Palin.

    Really? Are you sure? Palin has released transcripts for the five colleges she attended? How come no one has seen them except you? When are you going to share them with the rest of us?

    And Obama is not “hiding” his grades. No president or major candidate has ever released their grades. Zero. None. Kerry released his transcript, but only after he was no longer a candidate. And the Bush and Gore transcripts were leaked, not released by them. More information about the non-release of the Bush and Gore transcripts can be found via here.

    Anyway, the fact that Obama graduated magna cum laude from HLS tells us a lot about his grades there. It gives us enough information to conclude that “Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years” (link).

  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    Southern:

    The 2005 oath is here (jump to 0:47). The 2009 oath is here (jump to 0:37).

    The first misstep occurred during the first part of the oath. Roberts had not yet completed the first phrase when Obama began reciting the oath.

    No, that wasn’t “the first misstep.” The passage you cited from Wikipedia is incorrect. Do you realize that Wikipedia is not always correct? That’s why it has citations: so you can check and see if the statement made by Wikipedia is supported by the citations. In this case, it isn’t.

    Obama spoke exactly when he was supposed to. Did you ever bother seeing how it was done the previous time? I just gave you the link. The CJ said this: “I George Walker Bush.” And then Bush repeated that. Obama expected Roberts to do it the same way, and Roberts should have done it the same way. So it was not Obama who interrupted Roberts. It was Roberts who interrupted Obama.

    And then it went downhill from there. Roberts said this: “that I will execute the office of President to the United States faithfully.” He was supposed to say this: “that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.”

    Tell me again how I make this stuff up.

    You said this: “just like he [Obama] flubbed his swearing in ceremony.” That completely glosses over Roberts’ obvious mistake of putting “faithfully” in the wrong place. It also glosses over Roberts’ less obvious mistake of failing to pause before “do solemnly swear.” Which is what he should have done, since that is the way it had been done the prior time.

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    there’s a whole cornucopia of other Obamaisms that can be plumbed

    The peculiar thing about that list is how short it is. GWB is famous for much worse verbal stumbles, and a very large number of them. You can see a list of hundreds. If Obama had a mouth even remotely like GWB’s, you guys wouldn’t have to beat that tired old “57 states” horse to death over and over again. You would have new material to work with on a daily basis. And when you do desperately beat that horse, you bring to mind this obvious comparison, which demonstrates the opposite of what you’re trying to demonstrate.

    It’s also a good idea to keep this in mind:

    “You can make any public figure sound like a boob, if you record everything he says and set hundreds of hostile observers to combing the transcripts for disfluencies, malapropisms, word formation errors and examples of non-standard pronunciation or usage… Which of us could stand up to a similar level of linguistic scrutiny?”

    Everyone produces mistakes like that. Just some more than others. If you describe Obama’s short list as “a whole cornucopia” I’d like to know how you’d describe GWB’s much longer list.

  37. anjin-san says:

    Problem is one is hiding theirs and that is not Palin.

    Can you provide a link to Palin’s college transcripts?

  38. jukeboxgrad says:

    No, he can’t (but you already know that). The only question is whether he’ll admit that he can’t.

  39. CB says:

    Besides, as noted, there’s a whole cornucopia of other Obamaisms that can be plumbed.

    i mean, jay, i actually agree with you, but obviously the uproar over this puts the lie to your IOKIYAD notion…obviously, when youre the most watched person on the planet, youre going to have verbal miscues, brain farts, whatever you want to call them.

    it happens to obama, it happened to bush, it happened to clinton…and so on down the line. i wish we could see transcripts from jackson’s term…i can only imagine.

    seriously, can we all grow up and move on? critique the guy for legit reasons. lord knows theyre out there.

  40. Jay Tea says:

    The point isn’t that Obama makes gaffes, or how many — it’s how they’re treated.

    With Palin and Bush, for two, they’re treated as proof that they are really that stupid.

    With Obama, they’re shown as signs that he’s human and fallible.

    Bush embraced his bouts with inarticulacy. He used it as a punchline on occasion.

    With Obama, his supporters twist themselves into knots to explain what he “really” meant.

    It’s what the media does. They pick their story, their angle, their “truth” and then play up everything that supports it and ignores what doesn’t fit the mold.

    Bush was an idiot. So his misstatements are emphasized, and the fact that he was a successful pilot of a very demanding and dangerous plane (where he was also navigator) doesn’t get mentioned much.

    Palin is an idiot. Which is why her misstatements and press errors are focused on, and her business acumen (co-started and ran several small businesses), gubernatorial successes, and fights against corruption within her own party are buried.

    Some folks like embracing the public narratives. They reinforce their own prejudices. And it’s a nice little self-perpetuating cycle.

    J.

  41. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    her business acumen (co-started and ran several small businesses)

    She helped her husband do commercial fishing. What are the “several small businesses” that she “co-started and ran?”

    fights against corruption within her own party are buried

    Really? By whom? Try putting this into google:

    site:nationalreview.com ruedrich palin

    And then try this:

    site:nytimes.com ruedrich palin

    This might give you a clue regarding who put more effort into discussing her “fights against corruption within her own party.”

    With Palin and Bush … [their gaffes are] treated as proof that they are really that stupid.

    Here’s an important reason why Obama’s gaffes aren’t treated as proof that he’s stupid: because we know that “Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years,” which means we know he’s not stupid.

    And I’ll let a conservative try to explain to you why Bush’s gaffes got the attention they did:

    You know, everyone misspeaks, but President Bush has a particular knack for misspeaking and creating either a Freudian slip or some other bizarre and funny meaning to his statement.

    I know this is hard for you to accept, but Obama lacks that “particular knack.” Therefore Obama could never match a list like this:

    Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.

    I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.

    You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.

    Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.

    Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?

    Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

    There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.

  42. jukeboxgrad says:

    I also like these:

    You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.

    See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

    I’ve heard he’s [Blair] been called Bush’s poodle. He’s bigger than that.

    We ought to make the pie higher.

    I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.

    We’ll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers.

    It’s important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It’s not only life of babies, but it’s life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet.

    One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.

    Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.

    I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend.

    You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one.

    There’s a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, ‘I don’t want you to let me down again.’

    I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.

    Those and the hundreds of others are hard to beat. And I don’t actually think GWB is stupid, but he did indeed have a “particular knack” for saying things that sound quite stupid.

    Let us know when Obama creates a list like that. In the meantime, just comfort yourself by repeating this mantra: “57 states.”

    With Obama, his supporters twist themselves into knots to explain what he “really” meant.

    When Bush said “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” nobody thought that Bush thought that people put food on their family. So nobody had to explain what he “really” meant. But “57 states” is mentioned over 9,000 times at freerepublic.com, and, amazingly, those folks seem to really think that Obama really thinks there are 57 states. That’s a big difference, and that’s why an explanation might be helpful.

  43. jwest says:

    This fairytale by Obama sycophants that he is ultra smart needs to be tempered by reality.

    It is hard to argue that Obama’s time at Occidental was unremarkable and that by his own admission he was a less than stellar student. No one has ever explained how he was accepted at Columbia as a junior without the 7 semester core curricula requirements or even why no one remembers him having been there. Columbia did manage to maintain a shred of credibility by graduating him without honors. Not the record of a genius so far.

    Harvard Law, which for middle class white and Asian students was and still is extremely hard to gain admittance to, accepted Obama. This at a time of aggressive race-based recruiting by the Ivy Leagues, coupled with hyper grade inflation for all students with a special emphasis on African Americans. No one of any credibility attempts to say that Obama’s ascension to Law Review had anything to do with performance, as it appears the politics of the selection had the same rigorous standards of the Nobel Prize committee.

    Summing up, the premise that Obama is smarter than most stems not from accomplishments or verifiable facts, but an image forged from dubious credentials. Like so many air-head television presenters he reads a teleprompter well, but without it he falls into stammering incoherence explained away by admirers by saying his brain is working so fast his words can’t keep up with it.

    Try to look at things as they are, not how you wish them to be.

  44. Rock says:

    In all of this what I find most curious is that Obama said that had not been allowed to campaign in Hawaii or Alaska because his staff said no. No?

    Why not? Hawaii is where he was born. Hawaii was where his grandmother lived and where I think his stepsister lived at the time. I assume that he did campaign there at some point prior to election. Did he? Or was Hawaii simply a vacation destination after his election? Maybe he assumed that Hawaii was a solid lock for his election and there was no reason to spend time and effort there. I wonder if he considered Alaska as snowbilly country and a lost cause?

  45. Tano says:

    Yes Rock, that is what strategists in campaigns do – they allocate precious time to places where it will have the most positive impact. Hawaii was absolutely in the bag for Obama, and Alaska was a lost cause. Plus they both require an extra day or two wasted in travel.

  46. wr says:

    Rock — Allow me to head you off before you invent an entirely new conspiracy theory. The reason that Obama did not campaign in Alaska and Hawaii is that the rewards in terms of changing electoral votes — Hawaii tends to go D, Alaska R — were not worth the large amounts of time it would take to travel to either state. This was well understood at the time.

  47. anjin-san says:

    More liberal name calling, when all else fails them

    Comrade O’Bama

    I think we can close the book on SH. Really guys, is there even one reason to give this idiot any oxygen? There is not even any comic relief action here.

  48. anjin-san says:

    her business acumen

    I once heard Palin mention her “experience as a CEO” . Still waiting for details on that.

  49. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s an important reason why Obama’s gaffes aren’t treated as proof that he’s stupid: because we know that “Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years,” which means we know he’s not stupid.

    People keep saying that. I’ve yet to see any actual proof. Obama’s college records are tightly sealed. Oh, we can infer from what crumbs we’ve been given, but actual proof? Forget it.

    Free Republic? Don’t read it, don’t feel like answering for them.

    And if you want favorite Bushisms, mine are ” too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country” and “People sometimes have to correct my English; I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it.”

    Which brings up another Obama thing that bugs me: he seems almost incapable of self-deprecating humor. His idea of jokes involve variants of “ain’t I awesome?” and “ain’t that guy/those folks idiots?”

    J.

  50. anjin-san says:

    her business acumen (co-started and ran several small businesses)

    I would like to hear about this too. As far as I know, fishing is the only business they were in prior to her becoming a celebrity.

    >However, he reported a profit of $15,513 on his commercial fishing operation, even after deducting $12,245 paid to his crew as a share of the catch, along with other expenses.(in 2007)

    15K a year is hardly proof of any particular business skills. I know people who make make more than that working craft fairs and flea markets.

    I have read that Todd inherited the fishing business, but I have no idea if that is the case. Does anyone know?

    As far as I can tell, talk about Palin’s business skills is pretty much fiction. Perhaps someone will share some information I have not seen.

  51. Rock says:

    Rock — Allow me to head you off before you invent an entirely new conspiracy theory.
    . . . Hawaii tends to go D, Alaska R — were not worth the large amounts of time it would take to travel to either state . . .

    Conspiracy theory! What the hell conspiracy theory would that be? Get a grip!

    Hawaii was absolutely in the bag for Obama, and Alaska was a lost cause. Plus they both require an extra day or two wasted in travel.

    It’s just odd to me that a politician would not campaign in his home state.

  52. wr says:

    Hawaii has four electoral votes. Sentiment says campaign in your home state. Sentiment doesn’t win elections. And even those around here who insist that Obama is some kind of dummy who only became president of the Harvard Law Review because of all the huge advantages showered on minorities will admit he is a smart campaigner.

  53. Because of their distance from the mainland, Alaska and Hawaii are almost never part of the traditional campaign itinerary. Not enough Electoral Votes to incur the costs of travel

  54. jukeboxgrad says:

    jwest:

    This fairytale by Obama sycophants that he is ultra smart

    It’s hard to imagine anything more stupid and dishonest than describing the people I cited (Jim Lindgren, Orin Kerr, Bradford Berenson, and Michael McConnell) as “Obama sycophants.” Do you really have no idea who they are, or are you just pretending to be that ignorant? They are leading conservative legal scholars. They are no friends of Obama. Lindgren in particular has a long track record of attacking Obama, often quite hackishly.

    If your goal is to prove that you are completely impervious to facts and evidence, you’re doing an excellent job.

    No one of any credibility attempts to say that Obama’s ascension to Law Review had anything to do with performance

    A more glaring example of outrageous hackery would be hard to find. The facts I’m about to cite are facts I already cited to you, weeks ago (link). And when I did so, you promptly disappeared. Now you are back again, pretending to not know these facts.

    Bradford Berenson served in the GWB White House as associate White House counsel. He was a classmate of Obama’s. They served together on the Harvard Law Review. Maybe you should explain why Bush gave that important job to someone who doesn’t have “any credibility.” We know Berenson doesn’t have “any credibility,” because he said this:

    You don’t become president of the Harvard Law Review, no matter how political, or how liberal the place is, by virtue of affirmative action, or by virtue of not being at the very top of your class in terms of legal ability. Barack was at the very top of his class in terms of legal ability. He had a first-class legal mind and, in my view, was selected to be president of the Review entirely on his merits.

    Let’s compare that to what you said:

    No one of any credibility attempts to say that Obama’s ascension to Law Review had anything to do with performance

    Hmm, let’s see. Here we have two people expressing opposite views. Who are these two people? One is jwest, anonymous internet commenter with a long history of making shit up and then slithering away when caught (example). And he makes a claim backed by evidence whatsover, and he doesn’t even claim to have any direct knowledge of how things work at Harvard Law School, and he probably couldn’t find Harvard Law School on a map.

    And who is the person making the opposite claim? Someone who knows a lot about Harvard Law Review, because he served on it. And this person also has strong conservative credentials, since he was selected to serve in the Bush White House.

    Gosh, figuring out who to trust on this point is really tough, isn’t it?

  55. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    People keep saying that [“Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years”]. I’ve yet to see any actual proof.

    The “actual proof” is the fact that he was president of Harvard Law Review and graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. The people I’ve cited (Jim Lindgren, Orin Kerr, Bradford Berenson, and Michael McConnell) understand the meaning of those facts, even though you don’t.

    You’re just doing this.

    And for some strange reason, you have failed to document this claim you made: “co-started and ran several small businesses.” Even though more than one person has challenged you to do so.

    You’re just like jwest (and Palin, for that matter): you simply make shit up.

  56. Neil Hudelson says:

    jukeboxgrad,

    And that’s the last you’ll hear of jwest in this thread. When confronted with well reasoned arguments, he disappears.

  57. Southern Hooser says:

    15 Smartest and Dumbest Presidents of the United States

    Richard Nixon is the smartest , with his IQ of 143

    The recipient of many scholarships, the most prestigious being Oxford University’s Rhodes Scholarship, Clinton is an alumnus of the august Georgetown, Oxford and Yale universities. He graduated from the latter with a Juris Doctorate, and assumed a professorial role at the University of Arkansas before entering politics

    http://goo.gl/jRgPT

    Comrade O’Bama didn’t make it.

  58. An Interested Party says:

    Summing up, the premise that Obama is smarter than most jwest tries to cook up about the president stems not from accomplishments or verifiable facts, but an image forged from jwest’s dubious credentials knee-jerk partisanship.

    Jwest would do well to follow his own advice and not look at things as he wishes them to be…

    @Grand Dragon Southern Hooser: If we’re going to accept this list as gospel, lety us look at who did make it…George W. Bush and conservative heros Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, all three being among the dumbest presidents…

  59. Jay Tea says:

    Juke overlooks the distinction between intelligent and credentialed. What Obama has is proof that others gave him distinctions that are usually reserved for the intelligent; what he lacks is a list of achievements that show him applying intelligence.

    Oh, and it looks like Palin had two businesses going:

    But it’s also worth noting that she also has a background as a small business owner. According to the 2008 edition of “The Almanac of American Politics,” Palin was the owner of a snow machine, watercraft and all-terrain vehicle business, and co-owns with her husband a commercial fishing business. A small business owner on a major party ticket – how refreshing!

    Which puts her head and shoulders above Obama in private sector experience — his one job there he hated.

    J.

  60. James says:

    I used to be afflicted with BDS. I would joyfully jump in on the many Bushisms with gleeful abandon. I kind of regret that now, with the passage of time. True, some Bushisms have become part of the lexicon, like Berra’s “fat lady sings” and “deja vu all over again.” Some enduring Bushism’s include “the internets” and “catapult the propaganda” and “food on your family.”

    In retrospect, all the emphasis on Bush’s public speaking foibles garnered a lot of resentment and detracted from the ability of liberals to state their case and be listened to on substantive issues of great importance. And true liberals (of which I am decidedly not) still really don’t have a place at the policy table. No one is debating The People’s Budget, for example. Liberals still don’t get that.

    So I can understand why the right-leaning commentariat wants to dish out the same medicine like “57 states! HA HA!!” Ultimately, it doesn’t help their case any more than the Bush-bashing helped the other side. And, like the liberal Bush-bashing drowned out the people making substantive arguments against the worst of the Bush Administration policies, the same can be said here with the “57 states HA! HA!” As others have noted, it’s a marker of idiocy and a good test of whether anyone should bother with anything else you say.

  61. anjin-san says:

    Palin was the owner of a snow machine, watercraft and all-terrain vehicle business, and co-owns with her husband a commercial fishing business.

    As noted above, Todd’s fishing business made a profit of 15K in 2007. Is this supposed to impress anyone? Like I said, I know people who have little businesses working craft fairs and flea markets that make more than that.

    No detail is provided about the other business. Was it profitable? How long did it exist?

    If you are making a case for business experience, you are grasping at a reed that is slender indeed. I know people that had much impressive business credentials before they were 20.

    what he lacks is a list of achievements that show him applying intelligence.

  62. anjin-san says:

    what he lacks is a list of achievements that show him applying intelligence.

    Of course. Because being elected as a U.Sl Senator without any family money or connections is not an achievement. Dismembering Hillary Clinton, who had a vast supply of money, connections, power and experience in the primaries, is not an achievement. Certainly being elected President, and the first black President to boot, is no achievement.

    In reality, others simply gave him these distinctions, wrapped up like a Christmas present. He had nothing to do with it. We don’t know who the shadowy gifters are, or how they accquired their godlike powers, but we know this must be the case. Because Obama has no achievements. People just like to give him stuff.

    We need no go into detail about leading us back from the brink of an economic abyss, the historic passage of HCR legislation, or the death of bin laden. Because when something bad happens, it is all Obama’s fault. When something good happens, he has nothing to do with it.

    So tell us Jay, are you actually stupid enough to believe this, or do you really have nothing better to do with your time than produce this sort of tripe? Pretty sad either way…

  63. Jay Tea says:

    Of course. Because being elected as a U.Sl Senator without any family money or connections is not an achievement. Dismembering Hillary Clinton, who had a vast supply of money, connections, power and experience in the primaries, is not an achievement. Certainly being elected President, and the first black President to boot, is no achievement.

    Not when you have the Chicago machine behind you, because you’ve literally spent years showing that you’re glad to be the face of the corruption and know how to go along to get along.

    In reality, others simply gave him these distinctions, wrapped up like a Christmas present. He had nothing to do with it. We don’t know who the shadowy gifters are, or how they accquired their godlike powers, but we know this must be the case. Because Obama has no achievements. People just like to give him stuff.

    We know who these shadowy gifters are. They have names like Rezko, Wright, Ayers, Daley, Jarrett, Emanuel. They got their powers by rising to the top of the Chicago political machine. And they gave this to Obama because he knows how to go along to get along, and give them a solid return on their investments.

    We need no go into detail about leading us back from the brink of an economic abyss, the historic passage of HCR legislation, or the death of bin laden.

    Oh, the “it would have been so much worse!” argument. So impossible to prove or disprove. And it took literally years to track down Bin Laden — with the final decision being one of the easiest for any president. But it still took him 16 hours, apparently, with Leon Panetta kicking him in the ass to do it.

    Tell me, anjin, do you get a Chris Matthews-style thrill up your leg when you talk about how yeah, things suck now, but if it wasn’t for the Obamessiah the earth would have fallen into the sun, and we should be glad gas isn’t up to $5..00 a gallon and unemployment isn’t over 10% and we’re only in three wars and we’ve barely reached the debt ceiling and we’ve been without a budget for barely two years?

    If Obama’s election was a great victory for the US, then we as a nation really ought to identify with Pyrrhus…

    J.

  64. jukeboxgrad says:

    Neil:

    that’s the last you’ll hear of jwest in this thread

    Seems that way. When encountering any inconvenient facts, he always slithers back under his rock.

    ===============
    Jay Tea:

    Juke overlooks the distinction between intelligent and credentialed. What Obama has is proof that others gave him distinctions that are usually reserved for the intelligent; what he lacks is a list of achievements that show him applying intelligence.

    Like most things you say, that’s 100% baloney. Aside from what anjin-san said, feel free to explain to the conservative legal scholars I cited (Jim Lindgren, Orin Kerr, Bradford Berenson, and Michael McConnell) that graduating HLS magna cum laude is not in the category “of achievements that show him applying intelligence.” I’ve already cited their statements on this subject. Their statements establish, emphatically, that HLS magna cum laude is proof of “achievements that show him applying intelligence.” HLS magna cum laude is not just “usually reserved for the intelligent.” It’s impossible to attain without “achievements that show him applying intelligence.”

    All you’re doing is proving how determined you are to ignore those statements. If they heard what you said, they would laugh you out of the room.

    Aside from ignoring their statements, here’s one of the many facts you are pretending to not know: HLS uses blind grading.

    it looks like Palin had two businesses going

    It looks like you’re peddling baloney, as usual. The person you are citing likes stretching the truth, just like you do. He said this: “Palin was the owner of a snow machine, watercraft and all-terrain vehicle business, and co-owns with her husband a commercial fishing business.”

    That statement indicates that she was the owner, not a co-owner, of the ATV business. Is that true? No. Here’s the truth, as reported in various places (example):

    [Palin] owned with her husband a snowmobile, watercraft, ATV business from 1994-97.

    Now let’s return to your original claim:

    co-started and ran several small businesses

    I guess you’ve notified us that anytime we see you using the word “several,” you mean “two.”

    And aside from that, there is this much evidence that Palin ever ‘started’ or “co-started” any business: none. Todd has said this:

    I am a commercial fisherman since about 9 years old.

    So there is no basis whatsoever to claim that Sarah Palin “co-started” the fishing business. It was apparently started by Todd long before they were married. There is also no evidence that Palin (or Todd, for that matter) started the ATV business. We know little or nothing about this, but speculating that they bought the business from someone is at least as plausible as speculating that they ‘started’ it.

    And do you realize that owning a business and running a business are two separate things? There are no sources that indicate she had anything to do with ‘running’ the ATV business. She is described as a joint “owner.” How does that prove that she actually “ran” anything? And how successful was that ATV business? Why did it last for only three years? How do you know it didn’t fail miserably?

    So the truthful version of your statement (“co-started and ran several small businesses”) is this: apparently never started any business, but helps out with her husband’s small fishing business. And also had some vague role in another little business they owned which apparently wasn’t successful, because it didn’t last very long.

    Yup, that sure is solid proof of lots of “business acumen.” Thanks for this vivid demonstration of how you invent your own reality.

  65. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    it took literally years to track down Bin Laden — with the final decision being one of the easiest for any president.

    Except for this small problem: years ago, when Obama said he planned to do the thing he just did, conservatives condemned him. McCain himself suggested that it would be wrong to do such a thing without Pakistan’s “permission” (link).

    So suggesting that McCain would have done the same thing requires you to ignore what McCain actually said. As usual, you’re ignoring inconvenient facts and rewriting history.

  66. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    Free Republic? Don’t read it, don’t feel like answering for them.

    Do you read wizbang? “57 states” appears there over 200 times. After adjusting for the size of the site, it turns out that wizbang is more obsessed with “57 states” than the freepers are. Quite an honor.

    Obama’s college records are tightly sealed.

    As compared with, say, Palin’s? Romney’s? McCain’s? As I have already explained in this thread, no president or major candidate has ever released their grades. Nevertheless, you persist in pretending otherwise. This makes you not just a hack, but a hack’s hack. You take hackery to an extraordinary level. Only those who blatantly ignore evidence right after it’s been presented can hope to match your level of world-class hackery.

  67. Wayne says:

    One standard for conservatives and another for liberal’s right?

    If you want to be consistent you would say “enough with pounding the other side for gaffs and that goes for both side”. Instead it is “you lay down your arms for I’m tired of you using our tactics against us. Lay down our arms no way”.

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    If you want to be consistent

    If you want to be consistent, you would stop pretending that “57 states” is comparable to the things Bush said. “57 states” is comparable to “is our children learning?” Really?

    It is only if you really think that Obama really doesn’t know how many states there are. It takes a pretty wacky person to believe that, but birtherism, Palinism, and the current state of the GOP demonstrate that there are plenty of wacky people out there.

  69. An Interested Party says:

    Tell me, anjin, do you get a Chris Matthews-style thrill up your leg…

    If he does, I’m sure it can’t even compare to the little starbursts you, among others around here, see everytime you and they even think about Sarah Palin…

  70. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, and I forgot Obama’s greatest intellectual achievement: constantly convincing people to elect him and re-elect him to higher and higher office, while it was blatantly obvious that he had no intention of doing anything in that office besides setting himself up for the next rung up the ladder. The Illinois state legislature was his running ground for the House (which he lost), then the Senate. In the Senate, he did virtually nothing except set up his presidential campaign.

    Now that he’s president, he’s still running for higher office. But there is no higher office.

    The ultimate post turtle.

    J.

  71. jukeboxgrad says:

    constantly convincing people to elect him and re-elect him to higher and higher office, while it was blatantly obvious that he had no intention of doing anything in that office besides setting himself up for the next rung up the ladder.

    Yes, the 800 bills he sponsored in the Illinois senate are a definite indication “that he had no intention of doing anything in that office.” Um, did you realize that lawmakers are supposed to make laws? I guess not.

    What’s “blatantly obvious” is that you’re on a crusade to demolish your own credibility. I can’t wait to see what crap you come up with next. You’re leaving quite a trail.

  72. James says:

    “57 states” is comparable to “is our children learning?” Really?

    Well, with all respect, it kind of is.

    At the end of the day, neither of these public lapses are of any real importance. Bush seemed to be unusually prone to public misspeaking, to the great hilarity of us Bush haters, but he really wasn’t (isn’t) an illiterate. Focusing on this kind of meaningless public lapse allows people who are not invested in demonizing the opposition a good reason to roll their eyes and marginalize everything else one has to say, as happened with the liberals during the Bush era, and as is happening with this silly trope against Obama.

    Meanwhile, there are legitimate issues one can argue against Obama’s policies, just as we Bush-bashers might have done better arguing against the Bush cartel. I mean, what do you think about people riding the “57 states! HA! HA!” line? Do you think their opinion on the “1967 lines with swaps” issue should be taken seriously? I don’t.

  73. James says:

    Instead it is “you lay down your arms for I’m tired of you using our tactics against us. Lay down our arms no way”.

    No really. If that’s all you got, you got nothing. Go ahead, run with it.

    “Heh heh. He said ’57 states’ Beavis. heh heh.”

  74. Jay Tea says:

    I love it. I fire off the rhetorical equivalent of a shotgun. People try to deflect two or three pellets, and proclaim success.

    And juke? How many of those bills became law? How many of them were bills Obama actually helped craft, versus bills he put his name on? Here’s an article that takes a look at a few of those points.

    Credentialed. Resume-filler.

    And it’s worth noting that the Palins’ fishing business earned more in profits than every single private sector company Obama ever ran combined.

  75. An Interested Party says:

    Little starbursts…

  76. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    I fire off the rhetorical equivalent of a shotgun.

    Sure you did. You’re a legend in your own mind. Why not just claim that you’re faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Jay Tea making more shit up.

    Your claim that you “[fired] off the rhetorical equivalent of a shotgun” is supported by roughly as much evidence as most of your other claims: none.

    Let’s review your magnificient “shotgun.” Still waiting for you to explain why you said this: “co-started and ran several small businesses.” Palin “co-started” this many businesses: zero.

    Also still waiting for you to explain why you said this: “People keep saying that [‘Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years’]. I’ve yet to see any actual proof.” I cited four conservative legal scholars discussing the “actual proof.” This is what you’ve done to address their statements: nothing.

    Also still waiting for you to explain why you said this: “it took literally years to track down Bin Laden — with the final decision being one of the easiest for any president.” When are you going to address what McCain said?

    Also still waiting for you to explain why you said this: “Obama’s college records are tightly sealed.” They are “sealed” in exactly the same way that Palin’s records are “sealed.” When are you going to explain why Palin’s “college records are tightly sealed?”

    Your comments are mostly a series of false claims. And when they are proven to be false you usually don’t even make a pretense of addressing the proof that was presented. Instead, you simply move on to your next false claim. What’s funny is how transparent you are while pretending to not realize how transparent you are.

    How many of those bills became law? How many of them were bills Obama actually helped craft, versus bills he put his name on?

    Please feel free to show us your objective study that answers those questions for lawmakers in general, so we can fairly compare Obama’s record to those general statistics. Surely you have that data handy, right? Because if not, you’re simply making judgments based on the conclusions you reached before you even looked at the evidence. And surely you would never do a thing like that.

    Here’s an article that takes a look at a few of those points.

    What a joke. You are a hack who is citing another hack who is citing another hack who is just doing exactly what you do all the time: making claims backed by nothing.

    I realize you don’t understand the difference between evidence and an echo chamber, but not everyone else has your problem.

    it’s worth noting that the Palins’ fishing business earned more in profits than every single private sector company Obama ever ran combined.

    Do you realize that selling books is just as much of a “private sector” enterprise as selling fish? Do you realize that years before Obama ran for president he had already earned more from his book than probably all the fish Todd and Sarah ever caught in their entire lives? I guess not.

    I thought conservatives generally have respect for people who figure out how to make a lot of money by creating something that lots of people want to buy, but I guess I must have been wrong about that.

  77. anjin-san says:

    I love it. I fire off the rhetorical equivalent of a shotgun.

    A child with a pop-gun always thinks they fire a canon. Most people outgrow this when they are 11 or 12. But not all…

  78. anjin-san says:

    it’s worth noting that the Palins’ fishing business earned more in profits than every single private sector company Obama ever ran combined.

    Yes indeed folks. There are high school kids who earn more in a year than the Palin’s fishing business earned. But that business makes them more successful than a self-made millionaire.

  79. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, hey, that’s right. Obama wrote a book that made him a heap of money. Whoops — two. I’m sure that writing it taught him all he knows about such matters as meeting a payroll, paying taxes, following labor laws, understanding and following tons of federal regulations, and whatnot. Being an author is just like being the CEO of a company — which has a workforce of one.

    And wasn’t one of those books titled in honor of Jeremiah Wright, the guy who had absolutely no influence on Obama over the twenty years he had Obama in his congregation?

    You note how Obama put his name on over 800 pieces of legislation. A triumph of quantity over quality. I’d be prouder of one bill I helped write, fought to get passed, and could point to as having made a major difference than in 1,000 I’d lent my name to, most of which died quiet deaths.

    And just what was the hallmark of Obama’s four years in the Senate? People mock Palin for resigning her governorship — at least during her tenure, she DID things and didn’t spend nearly all her time running for her next job.

    On the shotgun thing, I wasn’t bragging about the destructive power of my attacks — more of the quantity of shots fired at once. I fired off a whole bunch of points, and you chose to rebut one or two of them. And somehow you think that’s some great rhetorical victory.

    “junk,” you keep denigrating me as a “hack.” I know several meanings of that word, and I don’t think you quite know which you want to apply. Tell you what — why not show examples of your being a non-hack to demonstrate your qualifications.

    Oh, that’s right, I’ve seen your efforts. And your catastrophic failures, time and time again. They were most entertaining. Kamikaze pilots could only dream of going down in flames as epically as you did.

    J.

  80. anjin-san says:

    all he knows about such matters as meeting a payroll, paying taxes, following labor laws, understanding and following tons of federal regulations, and whatnot

    Who cares? No one, except perhaps for those who are desperate to attack Obama, yet lack any real argument. Did Reagan every run or own a business?

    Jay, if you are blown away that the Palins ran a business that made them 15K a year… well, really, I don’t know what to say, except that you are easily impressed. Being a bestselling author is actually a pretty impressive accomplishment. Running a business that makes about as much money as a lemonaid stand? Not so much.

  81. Jay Tea says:

    Blown away? Hell, no. But it’s more than Obama or I have done, or (I suspect) could do — so yeah, there’s that bit of respect.

    And I know a few small businessmen. They would sometimes juggle the books to minimize profits by giving themselves good salaries and bonuses, shifting the tax burden from the business to themselves. It’s entirely possible that the Palins did that, so that 15K profit could represent money they kept in the business.

    Was it? I dunno. Personally, considering how many businesses fail, I’m impressed they made any profit at all. And again, it’s more business experience than Obama has.

    Which explains why he has the attitude that “businesses can afford just a little more in taxes.” He has never had to sweat it as an entrepeneur, and never worked for a small business. It’s outside his world.

    And, apparently, neither have you. Which explains your gross ignorance.

    That you revel in that ignorance and sneer at those who have lived that life, though — that’s a choice that reflects your own repulsive nature.

    And that book? “The Audacity Of Hope?” Very impressive. I’m still waiting the sequel — “God Bless America? No, no, no! God Damn America!”

    J.

  82. jwest says:

    Jukeboxgrad,

    If I fail to comment at times, it’s because I have an actual life and I’m off doing something else. Being celibate and living in your mother’s basement allows you the luxury of writing entire novels for comments about minutia that has no bearing on the main point.

    You continue to cite a few people who at times are conservative or who served in the Bush administration vouching for Obama’s intelligence. David Brock was a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, but who would possibly believe anything he says now? Perhaps the people you keep quoting are looking for an ambassadorship. Show me the proof.

    Of course, you fail to even speculate on how Obama got into Occidental and especially was able to transfer to Columbia without the core classes that every Columbia graduate is required to have. Without honors coming out of Columbia, where no one in his 50 person pre-law political science class can remember a 6’ 2” clean, articulate black person with an Afro, Obama finds a slot in Harvard.

    Tell your mother you’ll clean the garage later – you’ve got a lot of ‘splainin to do.

  83. jwest says:

    Just to reconnect with the main thrust of the article, I believe the 57 state remark was probably a slip of the tongue.

    Speaking “Austrian” however, wasn’t. What was he trying to say? “Australian”? Obama had no idea there isn’t an Austrian language until he went backstage and someone explained it to him. Same with “corpse man”. Not a one-time mispronunciation, but multiple times in the same speech. How could someone graduate high school, let only three colleges without encountering the word?

  84. mattb says:

    anjin: Jay, if you are blown away that the Palins ran a business that made them 15K a year…

    Jay Tea: But it’s more than Obama or I have done, or (I suspect) could do — so yeah, there’s that bit of respect.

    Jay, If you’re talking in terms of sheer entrepreneurial experience, then you’re right — to my knowledge that is more “traditionally” entrepreneurial experience than most Americans have. There’s no doubt running a small business is exceedingly difficult, especially if one doesn’t have the financial means to shield themselves from failure.

    But if you are in any way seriously saying that running a small business is “more” than being elected to a statewide national office, let alone the presidency… then no offense, you’ve blown past hyperbole and into, quite frankly, “crack smoking.”

  85. Jay Tea says:

    mattb, I draw a distinction between “being elected to a statewide national office” and actually doing things once one is elected. Obama excelled at the former, not so much at the latter.

    Kind of like worthless sacks like Patrick Kennedy, Joe Kennedy, and a host of other parasites, now that I think of it…

    J.

  86. anjin-san says:

    And, apparently, neither have you

    Jay –
    My consulting business has done work for Emmy winners, Multiple Grammy winners, multi-platinum producers and multi-platinum recording artists. And that is something I do on the side. Try harder.

    I am not sneering at Todd Palin. Commercial fishing is difficult, dangerous work, especially in the cold waters off Alaska. I grew up with some guys who did that after high school, and a few of them nearly died when a boat went down.

    Apparently since you have little life experience, you are easily impressed, and you think running any business at all is a big deal. Well, it is, and then again it ain’t. Millions of people get up and run businesses every day. As I mentioned earlier, Reagan never ran a business, and most Republicans seem to think he was qualified to be President.

    I am kinda sneering at you.

    The fact that you refuse to give Obama any credit at all for his rather impressive accomplishments says a lot about you. Not giving credit where credit is due is a sure sign of a small man.

  87. jwest says:

    Anjin-san,

    You are aware that Reagan had a degree in economics and was president of the Screen Actors Guild, right?

    Unions are businesses. Although normally filled with thugs and crooks, they sell a service for money, hire and fire employees, make payroll, deal with regulations, etc. Real world type of stuff – not academic silliness like Obama was exposed to.

  88. anjin-san says:

    I think the whole “business experience” argument deserves a little more attention.

    When Bush was running, much was made of his MBA, and his business experience. He had been, after all, owner of a major league baseball team. He was the driving force behind the Rangers beautiful new ballpark, an impressive accomplishment. (though we should note that a tax increase helped pay for it).

    When he took office, there was a lot of talk about the President as CEO. Well, we all know how the Bush Presidency worked out.

    There is no magic involved with running a business. It was a very illuminating experience for me the first time I was in a meeting with senior executives at the Fortune 500 level. They were impressive guys, good at what they do, but I saw that were not doing anything earth shaking, and that I could hang in the room with them. In my earlier days in corporate America, all the low & mid level staff assumed that senior VP’s were titans that hurled thunderbolts from their offices. Seeing senior executives work first hand was educational.

  89. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, I put my business acumen against no one’s — because I know I’d lose.

    And I’m trying to understand your fetish for comparing Obama to Reagan — on pretty much any basis you’d choose, Obama would lose.

    And Obama’s “accomplishments?” Yeah, I do by and large dismiss them. Because I consider an “accomplishment” as something more significant than you do, apparently.

    I went through this in 2004, with John Kerry. I challenged his supporters to cite three significant things he’d done while in the Senate. I even gave them one — his leadership on the investigations into BCCI, which eventually led to the exposure of that scandal. They responded with a long list of awards he’d won and legislature he’d co-sponsored. At least half those awards were of the “come speak to us, and we’ll give you this certificate/plaque/trophy” standard barter for politicians.

    What did Obama DO as a legislator? What did he achieve? I actually find it discouraging that his supporters point to a list of 800+ bills he co-sponsored, instead of a few actual laws that made a difference.

    OK, I’ll go along with the assertion that he’s some kind of super-genius on the par with Wiley Coyote. What has he done with that brilliance besides win elections?

    Hell, I’ll even go along with “Bush was a moron” arguments. That moron mastered flying AND navigating a hell of a dangerous plane, and had a long list of achievements as governor — well beyond “was elected twice.”

    I’m intimately familiar with the tragedy of “wasted potential.” And listing “was elected to office” as a great achievement is the hallmark of that concept.

    Unless you view as holding public office as a goal in and of itself, as a form of amassing money or power or fame for its own sake. It’s the political equivalent of Paris Hilton’s sex tape — she suddenly had fame and celebrity for essentially nothing remarkable.

    J.

  90. anjin-san says:

    You are aware that Reagan had a degree in economics

    not academic silliness like Obama was exposed to

    ’nuff said

  91. anjin-san says:

    j – sorry but your arguments started out thin and they are getting progressively weaker. You simply want to trash Obama because you have nothing better to do.

    It’s a beautiful day and I am off to work in our socialistic California community garden.

  92. An Interested Party says:

    And I’m trying to understand your fetish for comparing Obama to Reagan — on pretty much any basis you’d choose, Obama would lose.

    Perhaps now you might understand why others are really puzzled why some would compare Palin to Reagan…because on pretty much any basis you’d choose, she’d lose…

    You simply want to trash Obama because you have nothing better to do.

    Indeed, Jay, jwest, and their fellow travelers are practicing the equivalent of screaming “Bushitler!!!” and “Chimpy McBush!!!” which may help them to convince themselves what a horrible president we currently have, but really doesn’t convince anyone else, nor does it change the fact that he is president and will probably win reelection, especially if he has the good fortune to run against their heroine…

  93. Jay Tea says:

    Hey, I think Bush wrote a best-selling book, too… I guess he is a super-genius.

    J.

  94. Hey, I think Bush wrote a best-selling book, too… I guess he is a super-genius.

    This a typical Jay Tea response, I must say.

    1. It is snark, not argument.

    2. It doesn’t actually address what has been said before, but rather it is a diversion to a yet another topic.

    3. No one ever claimed that writing a best-selling book means that the author is a super-genius. The question was whether writing a best-selling book is an accomplishment.

    4. It is a poor comparison: there is a rather significant difference, regardless of what one thinks about Bush or Obama between writing a best-seller when one is a relatively obscure person versus writing one after one has been a two-term POTUS.

    And really, the whole “he’s not qualified” is sooo 2008. He’s president, whether one likes it or not. Being elected POTUS is a massive, historical accomplishment, so it is time to move on with this resume nonsense.

  95. wr says:

    Shorter Jay Tea: Anything that a Democrat has ever done can never be considered an accomplishment. Something can only be considered as an accomplishment if it was done by a Republican. Therefore Obama has no accomplishments.

    I am kind of curious now if Jay Tea has ever actually accomplished anything except write trash on blogs…

  96. anjin-san says:

    If one wishes to be taken seriously, then one has to be serious.

    True. And jay, bithead, jwest and a number of others have long since opted out.

    I first discovered online political talk in AOL chat rooms around 2000. “From the Left” & “From the Right”. After 9.11, there was a woman who’s mantra was “Bush knew. The planes flew”. She never got tired of saying it. And she was convinced that she was making a devastating, sit-down-and-shut-up argument.

    Our above mentioned friends are her heirs…

  97. Jay Tea says:

    Sorry, Steven, about the snark — I tend to respond in kind, with my opponent setting the tone. Not the best habit, but oh, well…

    And you’re right about Bush’s book vs. Obama’s, but not entirely; Obama’s were largely sold as “by the next President of the United States,” based on his years of campaigning.

    But I reject your assertion that the argument is “so 2008.” He’s running for re-election (not that he ever stopped running), and he has to stand not only on his record as president, but on what he did before — especially since his impressive-on-paper-only qualifications were seen by many as indicative of how poorly he’d govern.

    I also might modify my earlier statement; “being elected” is an accomplishment, but hardly indicative of being worthy of re-election. There are orders of magnitude of difference between “winning an election” and “being an accomplished elected official.”

    A lot of us looked at Obama’s record and said that he had no real record of accomplishments in public office outside of winning public office, and didn’t see any signs that he would suddenly change. That he had always used his positions as stepping-stones towards the next one, never actually doing the work of the office he held. And once he reached the peak, he’d keep campaigning as if there was another office to achieve, and be as effective a president as he had been a US Senator or state legislator.

    Which is pretty much what we’ve seen.

    wr — maybe, maybe not. Depends on how you define it — one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And also utterly irrelevant — thanks for trying to make me the issue at hand. It’s very flattering, but I’m not worthy.

    J.

  98. jwest says:

    Steven,

    You write an article complaining about people using Obama’s 57 state gaffe as a bludgeon against him, but you, James and especially Doug feel free to embrace every perceived slight of Sarah Palin as historical fact.

    Yes, we can understand you wanting to move on from the discussion of Obama’s qualifications, but a presidential election is coming up and we’re not in the habit of accepting blatant hypocrisy as reasoned discourse. Anything OTB authors care to put forth concerning possible contenders will be measured against the qualifications of Barack Obama at the same point in his run.

    If you and your cohorts want to print snark against conservative candidates, be prepared to tell us how Obama was smarter, more accomplished or most importantly, more qualified than the person you deride. Should you decide to cite credentials (which don’t hold the same awe-inspiring sense out here in the real world as they do in academia), expect those credentials to be questioned as to whether they were earned or simply awarded to make the world more “fair”.

    Tit for tat. Proportional response.

  99. An Interested Party says:

    The bottom line is that most people don’t care about the “57 states” business and even trying to compare the president and Palin as being on the same level is ridiculous…he is the president of the United States and she is the former half-term governor of an obscure state and current reality show celebrity…tit for tat indeed…it is rather amusing to see all the Sturm und Drang about the president’s supposed affirmative action help (unproven allegations, no less) through his academic life and yet, I don’t recall the same people making this charge having anything to say about the legacy status that helped to grease George W. Bush through most of his life…

  100. anjin-san says:

    A lot of us looked at Obama’s record and said that he had no real record of accomplishments in public office outside of winning public office

    -Inherited an economy on the brink of collapse. Today we have a recovering economy, though certainly it is not the sort of recovery we would wish for. Given the great height of the cliff we were poised on the edge of in 2008, to be where we are today is no small accomplishment.

    -HCR – love it or hate it, it’s passage was a historic legislative accomplishment.

    -bin laden – dead. And no, saying “Bush laid the groundwork” or “any President would have done the same” does not do anything except lead people to not take you seriously.

    As I said earlier, refusing to give credit where credit is due is the sign of a small man. You wear those size 7 loafers well.

  101. anjin-san says:

    I don’t recall the same people making this charge having anything to say about the legacy status that helped to grease George W. Bush through most of his life…

    The same could be said of McCain, born into military royalty.

  102. Wayne says:

    Re “No really. If that’s all you got, you got nothing. Go ahead, run with it.”

    It is one of many things we got. I’m not sure how you logically think when we use “one’ of your tactics back at you that it is all we got. Then again liberals are full of little cliché and sound bites that don’t need to make sense.

    Liberals are experts of taking gaffes and pounding their opponents again and again and again. They have done it against Bush, Quayle, Palin, Rush and many more. They even rephrase and take out of context statements to slam their opponents. Like misspelling of the word potato which was spelling they gave to Dan or how someone pronounces a particular word like nuclear is important.

    It is like when they lock a door on Bush and he tried to open. Oh what an idiot and how important it was since it’s not good to see a President fumbling around. . However when Obama does the same thing at the White House,” it was someone else fault”, “ it’s not important” and the liberal favorite comeback “will that is different”.

    So people getting upset about someone using gaffes by Obama is ironic at best.

    @ Steven
    Dreams from My Father did poorly when first publish and I don’t believe I was a best seller the second time. Obama’s success at writing came after he had National exposure as a politician including his DNC keynote address and appearances on shows like Oprah. “The Audacity of hope “which was a bestseller, was publish a year prior to Obama getting elected as POTUS. He was a will known and talked about politician. So to claim he was relative obscured when he became a best seller writer doesn’t hold true.

  103. anjin-san says:

    Wayne… here is a clue. Writers go on ophra to promote their books. It’s not a form of cheating.

  104. Dr. Taylor, on the other hand, after a couple of years of President Obama demonstrating that he is clearly not qualified, you’d think that would be important for 2012, no?

  105. @Charles:

    I think you have hit the nail on the head: you (and others) are confusing “I don’t agree with him” with “he’s not qualified.”

  106. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    Being an author is just like being the CEO of a company — which has a workforce of one.

    And this massively impressive multinational conglomerate that Palin supposedly helped run had a “workforce” of how many, exactly? Do you know? Just curious.

    On the shotgun thing, I wasn’t bragging about the destructive power of my attacks — more of the quantity of shots fired at once.

    Actually, you didn’t fire a lot of shots at once. You would fire a shot based on fiction, and then someone would point out the fiction, and then you would ignore what was pointed out and then fire another shot in some other direction. This pattern was repeated. As Taylor said, what you give us over and over again is “a diversion to yet another topic.” Your commentary is a mile wide and an inch deep.

    why not show examples of your being a non-hack to demonstrate your qualifications

    Being a “non-hack” isn’t that complicated. Here’s what makes me a non-hack: I show evidence to support the claims I make, and I take responsibility for my claims if they are shown to be incorrect. You generally go to great lengths to avoid doing those things. Therefore you are this: a hack.

    And I’m going to mention this example again, since it’s sufficient to prove that you’re a dishonest hack. You said this: “[Palin] co-started and ran several small businesses.” Palin “co-started” this many businesses: zero. When are you going to take responsibility for your false claim?

    The remarkable thing is that you seem to not realize how effective you are in destroying your own credibility. See, if you make a false claim like that and then retract it, people can think that you made an honest mistake. But when you refuse to retract it, defend it, or even acknowledge any problem, you’re announcing that you like to simply make shit up, and that you’re not going to take responsibility for the shit you make up. Once you make this announcement (and you make this announcement regularly), only a fool would take you seriously.

    your catastrophic failures, time and time again

    Your proof of my alleged “catastrophic failures” is hiding in the same place as your proof that “[Palin] co-started and ran several small businesses,” and all your other false claims that I’ve highlighted. Let us know when you’re ready to tell us where all that proof is hidden.

  107. jukeboxgrad says:

    jwest:

    If I fail to comment at times, it’s because I have an actual life and I’m off doing something else.

    Funny that you have lots of time to post false claims, but no time to take responsibility for them. If you’re too busy to take responsibility for your false claims, here’s what you need to do: refrain from posting them.

    Perhaps the people you keep quoting [i.e., conservative legal scholars praising Obama] are looking for an ambassadorship.

    One of the people I cited is Michael McConnell. Do you know when he made his statement praising Obama? Circa 1991, around the time that Obama graduated from HLS. So McConnell was “looking for an ambassadorship?” From whom? GHW Bush? Or maybe you’re saying that McConnell had a crystal ball and knew Obama would become president 18 years later. Is that it?

    You just did a great job of proving that you haven’t actually paid attention to the proof I presented. That’s because you’re a hack, and ignoring all inconvenient facts is a key part of what a hack does.

    What you do is reflexively ignore all facts you don’t like, and usually you don’t even bother to make up an excuse. In this case, you made up an excuse that’s absurd, and which serves to prove that didn’t bother actually looking at the actual proof.

    Speaking of ignoring things you don’t like, you also like to ignore Occam’s Razor. Do you even know what that means? It means that simple explanations which don’t require making lots of assumptions should be preferred to complicated explanations which do require making lots of assumptions.

    Here’s how this applies to what we’re talking about. What we know is that at least four conservative legal scholars praised Obama’s HLS performance, in strong terms. We are trying to understand why this happened, and we are considering various different explanations for why it happened. I think those explanations boil down to this:

    A) They said what they said because it’s true.

    B) They said what they said because they are dishonest hacks who are willing to praise someone who isn’t praiseworthy if they think there’s a chance that they might someday be granted “an ambassadorship.”

    Note that B requires you to assume that these four people are dishonest hacks, and somehow managed to become major conservative legal scholars despite being dishonest hacks. And of course you have no basis for making this assumption, but nevertheless you are making this assumption.

    Meanwhile, A requires you to make no assumptions at all. So this is a perfect example of how you do what hacks and conspiracy theorists do all the time: ignore Occam’s Razor.

    It’s also important to note that you have no evidence whatsoever that Obama didn’t perform well at HLS. You simply begin by adopting that as your conclusion, and then you reject all facts which contradict your conclusion. This is exactly what a hack does.

    Show me the proof.

    I already did, and your response proves that you didn’t pay attention to it. You’ve proven that proof means nothing to you.

    Should you decide to cite credentials … expect those credentials to be questioned as to whether they were earned or simply awarded to make the world more “fair”.

    You have been shown proof that “they were earned,” and your response proves that you didn’t pay attention to the proof.

    By the way, here’s one of the basic facts that you and all the other racist wingnuts are determined to ignore: HLS uses blind grading.

    Occidental … Columbia

    All your drivel about Occidental and Columbia is meaningless and irrelevant, because everything we need to know about his intelligence was established by his performance at HLS.

    the 57 state remark was probably a slip of the tongue. Speaking “Austrian” however, wasn’t.

    Thank you for giving us yet another perfect example of how you ignore all inconvenient facts, and of how you usually slither back under your rock when inconvenient facts are presented to you.

    This issue you’re raising was already addressed by me, here, months ago. And how did you respond to what I said? By making the sound of crickets. Why? Because you’re a hack, and that’s what hacks do. They run away from all inconvenient facts.

    Same with “corpse man”. Not a one-time mispronunciation, but multiple times in the same speech. How could someone graduate high school, let only three colleges without encountering the word?

    You don’t know that he didn’t have the experience of “encountering the word.” You only know that he didn’t have the experience of hearing the word spoken. Not the same thing. Duh.

  108. jukeboxgrad says:

    jwest, of course you’re doing your usual thing of running away from all inconvenient facts, but the problem is that you didn’t run far enough. By popping up so quickly in another thread, you’re making your gutlessness much too obvious.

    Anyway, now we know what you really meant when you said this:

    If I fail to comment at times, it’s because I have an actual life and I’m off doing something else.

  109. Scott O. says:

    Enough of the bickering already. It’s Memorial Day! Can’t we all just get along? How about for 1 day we put aside our differences, stop arguing about 57 states vs food on your family? I intend to spend the day beside a crowded freeway, enjoying the smell of the emissions.

  110. jukeboxgrad says:

    I intend to spend the day beside a crowded freeway, enjoying the smell of the emissions.

    I think you’re joking when you say that, but Palin seems to be serious about it:

    I love that smell of emissions

    Scroll to 0:53 in the video to hear the good part.

    I can’t wait until she’s in charge of the EPA.

  111. Wayne says:

    Anjin the point was that one doesn’t get on Oprah if they are a relative obscured writer unless Oprah has a personal interest in it. Appearing on Oprah can go a long way in promoting whatever you are selling. In Obama case, he was not an obscured person and he had powerful people like Oprah pushing his wares.

    Yes I understand that is how things are done but don’t feed me the he was some great bestselling author before he became well known.