Shocking Obama Revelations from his Student Days! (Or Something)

It is a curious thing, sometimes, to look at how different people interpret events.

Ironic Surrealism finds an Illinois Daily Herald piece that was an interview of then Harvard student, Barack Obama speaking on the topic of racism.  Here’s the scan:

The whole text is transcribed at the link above.  The key passage is as follows:

“Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous,” Obama said.

“I mean, I really hope to be part of a transformation of this country.”And the future of black people and of America generally? “It depends on how good I do my job,” he said.

Ok, so we have here a young man who wants a “less mean-spirited and more generous” country and this leads Jim Hoft to proclaim in a blog post headline:  “Face It, He Hates You… Obama in 1990: We’re Going to Reshape ‘Mean-Spirited’ and Selfish America.”

First, I am not sure who the “you” is supposed to be (although rom context I assume he means white people, but he does not elaborate in the post and clearly thinks that the scan and the transcription speaks for itself in some way).

Second, I find it rather remarkable that calling for more kindness and generosity in America is evidence of hatred.  By that standard, by the way, I think we have some other people to condemn.:

George H.W. Bush (by way of Peggy Noonan):  “I want a kinder, and gentler nation.”

And let us not forget the ever-popular Jesus of Nazareth, who rather frequently called for generousness and kindness towards others.

I recognize that people over-react to words like “reshape” and “transformation” but seriously:  not only are words like that used weekly from evangelical pulpits, the fact of the matter is that the US needed work on the race front in the early 1990s and still needs such work today.  How pointing that out is  evidence of hatred is beyond me.

This also reminds me of Doug Mataconis’ post from the other day:  Attacking Obama’s “Radical Past” Won’t Work which makes the politics of the situation rather questionable from a strategic point of view.  It also smacks of crude racial politics:  i.e., the inferences that Obama doesn’t like white people and that pointing that out is designed to agitate certain segments of the white electorate.

Update:  I see that Stacy McCain thinks that this revelation shows that Obama was proffering a “Critique of Reagan-Bush Policy as ‘Mean-Spirited'”–this amuses me because it was Bush who, as noted above, called for a “kinder, gentler nation” two years before Obama’s interview.   So I guess Bush was a crazy sixties radical too (something else that McCain accuses Obama of having been in the interview).  Can anyone possibly tell me how calling for an America that “is less mean-spirited and more generous” is any way substantially calling for “a kinder, and gentler nation”?

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. 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. steve says:

    This plays well with the base. I have been in a long term discussions group with a bunch of acquaintances for a couple of years. All highly compensated types, fund managers, lawyers, physicians, etc., and mostly conservative. They are all convinced that Obama is a bigot and a Marxist influenced radical. While it is tempting to be dismissive of this line of attack, I think it has been pretty successful at convincing the faithful that they are in a real crusade. This energizes them to work and donate, and it makes candidates who would normally not be remotely acceptable (Newt, Santorum) to run viable campaigns.

    Steve




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  2. @steve: You hit on a key fault line for me: on the one hand, I really would like to dismiss this stuff as nuts, while on the other I do fear that it has resonance in significant portions of the GOP base (and not just with uneducated types). It is a concerning situation.




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  3. Herb says:

    @steve: “While it is tempting to be dismissive of this line of attack, I think it has been pretty successful at convincing the faithful that they are in a real crusade. ”

    Good point, but it’s not tempting to be dismissive of this line of attack. It’s flipping easy. The people peddling this stuff are cynical and dishonest. The people who buy it are fools.

    Indeed, that’s the least mean-spirited and most generous way of putting it.




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  4. Hey Norm says:

    Ignoring the partisan hack nutjob that runs Ironic Surrealism, the article also quotes Obama as saying:

    “…I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me. And I’m not interested in isolating myself,” Obama said in a recent interview. “I feel good when I’m engaged in what I think are the core issues of the society, and those core issues to me are what’s happening to poor folks in this society…”

    So Obama has been concerned about the so-called 99% going back to at least 1990.
    What was Romney doing in the 90’s? Oh yeah…him and Bain were running Damon Corp., which was perpetrating Medicaire Fraud.
    No wonder Republicans hate him so. He has long-held convictions.




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  5. Hey Norm says:

    As opposed to Medicare Fraud convictions that is.

    Why can’t I find that damn edit button???




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  6. Scott F. says:

    The “you” is evidently the mean-spirited and stingy. They need their advocates, too, doncha know.




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  7. sam says:

    Jenos’ll be along shortly to explain to us that

    Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous

    is Alinsky-speak for “Get Whitey, and while we’re at it, we’re gonna force Baskin-Robbins to sell only one flavor of ice cream. And it’s not going to be vanilla.”




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  8. Hey Norm says:

    The “About” section of Ironic Surrealism says this:

    “…Lover of truth and freedom!”

    Based on this post….I don’t think she knows what those words mean.




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  9. Rob in CT says:

    and while we’re at it, we’re gonna force Baskin-Robbins to sell only one flavor of ice cream. And it’s not going to be vanilla.”

    I just about spit out my lunch. Tip ‘o the hat to you, sir.




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  10. Fiona says:

    Wow. Obama was an idealistic law student. News at eleven.

    It’s sad that far too many people in this country see statements like these as proof of Obama’s deep seated radicalism.

    BTW–I’m pretty sure that all four of the Republican candidates have said, in one way or another, that they want to fundamentally transform America as well.




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  11. anjin-san says:

    You guys are such tools. Obama was planning the downfall of America when he was in diapers…




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  12. Jenos Idanian says:

    Once again, the point is missed. Or, rather, buried.

    It isn’t that the article here is so devastating to Obama, because it definitely isn’t. The real question is, why didn’t this come out back in 2008?

    The answer is, those we trust to discover and share the background of our political candidates instead chose to cover it up, and accuse those interested in Obama’s past of being racists and bigots and hate-mongers and… well, I’ve lost track of all the liberal buzz-words tossed about.

    That Derrick Bell was a racial radical is not in dispute. That Obama viewed him as a hero and a mentor, literally embracing him at Harvard and assigning Bell’s works to his students during his career as a law school lecturer is easily explainable. But it wasn’t explained, it was concealed.

    We knew all about John McCain’s background. We knew all about George W. Bush’s background. We know about a rock on a hunting camp in Texas that Rick Perry visited as a child. But Obama? It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that we knew more about Joe The Plumber’s background than we did about Barack Obama’s by election day 2008.

    The message here is not “Obama’s a scary radical.” It’s “the people who are supposed to report facts betrayed that duty to cover for their chosen candidate.”

    As far as the article goes… Obama sounds like a typical college student there. Was this during his pothead phase?




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  13. In almost every statement there is always someone who can turn even the the best of things into something ugly. I thing those are the people who Obama and others are talking about.




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  14. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “The message here is not “Obama’s a scary radical.” It’s “the people who are supposed to report facts betrayed that duty to cover for their chosen candidate.” ”

    Woah…what a scoop, man.




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  15. Rob in CT says:

    The real question is, why didn’t this come out back in 2008?

    It isn’t that the article here is so devastating to Obama, because it definitely isn’t.

    You literally wrote these sentences back-to-back (in reverse order, admittedly). And you can’t see that THIS IS THE ANSWER?

    This is not something anyone cares about Jenos. That’s why they didn’t report it.

    If you want to make this into a meta-critique of the media for focusing on “oooooh, shiny!” stories instead of things you find more important, well hell, everyone deals with that frustration.

    But no, to you this is some sort of conspiracy to hide the trooof! A truth that is utterly banal and wouldn’t hold the interest of the viewers.

    We knew *PLENTY* about Barack Obama’s background in 2008. Asked, answered. The public didn’t elect him because the TROOF! about his past was hidden. They knew he was a pretty standard-issue Democrat (albeit one with an interesting family background 😉 ) who gave nifty speeches, wrote some books, and said the Iraq war was stupid. They elected him. They’ve gotten some things they expected, and some rude surprises. Which happens all the frickin’ time in politics.

    Grow up.




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  16. @Jenos Idanian:

    It isn’t that the article here is so devastating to Obama, because it definitely isn’t. The real question is, why didn’t this come out back in 2008?

    So, maybe (and by your own admission) the fact that is a non-story might be why it was a non-story?

    If a reporter fails to report on a non-story is it not still a non-story?




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  17. Moosebreath says:

    Jenos,

    “It isn’t that the article here is so devastating to Obama, because it definitely isn’t. The real question is, why didn’t this come out back in 2008?”

    Because this isn’t man bites dog news. It’s not even dog bites man news. It’s man bites hot dog news.




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  18. Rob in CT says:

    It just jumps out, doesn’t it?

    It’s standard conspiracy theory crankery: the fact that there isn’t anything there is proof that THEY hid it, maaaaaaan!

    Who is the pot head again?




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  19. steve says:

    ” But it wasn’t explained, it was concealed.”

    Concealed? It was in the newspaper! The Bell bit was on Frontline. Was it put together in the from of a hit piece? Nope, but why would the media do that? If you want that, it is the job of right wing media.

    “We knew all about George W. Bush’s background.”

    We really didnt. We didnt know the identity and political leanings of everyone of his fellow college students that he spoke with. We dont know the backgrounds of every candidate he was ever on stage with. We also know, read David Kuo’s book, that a lot of his aid and outreach to evangelicals and their influence in his campaigns was ignored by the media. BUT, most of us do not care who Bush or Obama talked with when they were sophomores in college. It appears that you do. You should explain why.

    Steve




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  20. mantis says:

    Once again, the point is missed.

    Yeah, but so do you. Brietbart, Hoft, et al.’s point is “black president talks about black things because he’s black and not white like you….black, black, black.”

    The real question is, why didn’t this come out back in 2008?

    It was published by the Daily Herald in 1990. It came out 18 years before you are complaining it should have, dumbass.

    those we trust to discover and share the background of our political candidates instead chose to cover it up

    Nothing was covered up, moron. Just like the Derrick Bell video, which aired on PBS, was not “covered up.” You idiots think because you didn’t hear about something, it’s a conspiracy. This is because your brain does not function properly. Seek help.

    That Derrick Bell was a racial radical is not in dispute.

    Sure it is. I dispute it. He was no such thing.

    But it wasn’t explained, it was concealed.

    Again, no it was not. Nearly every word you type is a lie.

    It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that we knew more about Joe The Plumber’s background than we did about Barack Obama’s by election day 2008.

    Actually, it’s an enormous exaggeration. Or, more specifically, another lie.

    The message here is not “Obama’s a scary radical.”

    No, it’s Obama is black and hates white people, pass it on.

    It’s “the people who are supposed to report facts betrayed that duty to cover for their chosen candidate.”

    That’s the racists’ cover story, and it’s a lie.

    As far as the article goes… Obama sounds like a typical college student there. Was this during his pothead phase?

    Don’t know, but you sure seem at the peak of a dumbass phase. Go hangout at Redstate with the rest of the single-helix troglodytes.




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  21. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That Derrick Bell was a racial radical is not in dispute.

    No, it very much is.

    That Obama viewed him as a hero and a mentor, literally embracing him at Harvard and assigning Bell’s works to his students during his career as a law school lecturer is easily explainable.

    Obama wasn’t that close to Bell. He much much more a student of Lawrence Tribe. You should try and understand some basic facts before your start typing about something.




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  22. @Fiona: “Wow. Obama was an idealistic law student. News at eleven.”

    Indeed.

    @Moosebreath: “Because this isn’t man bites dog news. It’s not even dog bites man news. It’s man bites hot dog news.”

    Also indeed. Now, if the hot dog bites the man we’ve got a real story.

    @steve: “Concealed? It was in the newspaper! The Bell bit was on Frontline. ”

    Triple indeed.

    @mantis: “It was published by the Daily Herald in 1990. It came out 18 years before you are complaining it should have”

    Bonus indeed.




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  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    @steve: The “Bell bit” was on FrontLine as a short, silent clip.

    Let’s go back to Joe The Plumber. How long did it take for Democratic activists to break the law and violate his privacy by revealing that he didn’t have a plumber’s license, he was behind on his taxes, and (worst of all) his real first name wasn’t Joe? All of which was given huge play in the press. And it was major news because… he asked Obama a question while in his own front yard. And Obama’s answer — a full-throated endorsement of socialism — needed to be buried.

    Joe wasn’t a candidate for anything. He was just this guy who spoke out in public. And not in a Congressional hearing, but his own front yard.

    When Obama ran for Senate, we had his opponents’ divorce records and child-custody records “leaked” and their personal lives exposed and their careers destroyed. People still call Laura Bush a “murderer” for being involved in a fatal car crash when she was 18. EVERYTHING about presidential candidates is interesting and relevant… unless said candidate was Obama.

    And again, this isn’t about Obama. No more than the Shirley Sherrod video was about her personally. It’s about the bigger picture — how facts were buried.

    Much like is being propagated here.




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  24. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Let’s go back to Joe The Plumber.

    Let’s not.




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  25. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, is this:

    That Derrick Bell was a racial radical is not in dispute

    Something we should bother discussing? Oh, well, I can’t help myself…

    I’ve never heard of CRT before, so I had to look it up:

    http://spacrs.wordpress.com/what-is-critical-race-theory/

    A portion:

    CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. CRT also rejects the traditions of liberalism and meritocracy. Legal discourse says that the law is neutral and colorblind, however, CRT challenges this legal “truth” by examining liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle for self-interest, power, and privilege. CRT also recognizes that liberalism and meritocracy are often stories heard from those with wealth, power, and privilege. These stories paint a false picture of meritocracy; everyone who works hard can attain wealth, power, and privilege while ignoring the systemic inequalities that institutional racism provides.

    “Rejecting the traditions of liberalism & meritocracy” sure sounds radical. I find the argument after that line, however, to mitigate that radicalism. It does not appear to be a rejection of liberalism & meritocracy in theory, but rather as they are practiced in the contemporary USA. That distinction matters, at least to me.

    Some more:

    The works of Derrick Bell and Alan Freeman have been attributed to the start of CRT.[6] Bell and Freeman were frustrated with the slow pace of racial reform in the United Sates. They argued that the traditional approaches of combating racism were producing smaller gains than in previous years. Thus, Critical Race Theory is an outgrowth of Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which was a leftist movement that challenged traditional legal scholarship. These CRT scholars continued forward and were joined by Richard Delgado. In 1989, they held their first conference in Madison, Wisconsin.[7] This was the beginning of the CRT as movement.

    Radical? Perhaps so. More or less so than, say, Randian libertarianism?

    Granted, this is just the thumbnail sketch. I haven’t read Bell’s work.




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  26. Hey Norm says:

    Excellent…JTea Jenos is here to make me laugh through my lunch hour.
    The people around me ask what I’m laughing at…I have to tell them I can’t explain.




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  27. @Jenos Idanian: As always: you want to change the subject.




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  28. @Jenos Idanian: ” how facts were buried.”

    As noted above: how is being published in a newspaper an example of burying facts?

    This is the very definition of nonsensical.




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  29. Rob in CT says:

    a full-throated endorsement of socialism

    Heh.

    “On October 12, 2008, three days before the final presidential debate, Obama met residents in Wurzelbacher’s Ohio neighborhood. Wurzelbacher, who had been playing football with his son in his front yard at the time, asked Obama about his tax plan. Wurzelbacher suggested that Obama’s tax plan would be at odds with “the American dream.”[10] Wurzelbacher said, “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan’s going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

    Obama responded with an explanation of how his tax plan would affect a small business in this bracket. Obama said, “If you’re a small business, which you would qualify, first of all, you would get a 50 percent tax credit so you’d get a cut in taxes for your health care costs. So you would actually get a tax cut on that part. If your revenue is above 250, then from 250 down, your taxes are going to stay the same. It is true that, say for 250 up — from 250 to 300 or so, so for that additional amount, you’d go from 36 to 39 percent, which is what it was under Bill Clinton.”

    Obama also said, “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too… My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off […] if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    Clintonian tax rates. Demand-side economics. SOCIALISM!

    It was a perfectly good answer, and the Dems I knew were fine with it. Not something that needed to be “buried.”

    It sure wasn’t buried. And Sam became the darling of RW media, a “motivational speaker” and now a GOP political candidate.




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  30. Rob in CT says:

    Damn it. I screwed up the blockquoting. The last bit is me (obviously).




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  31. Hey Norm says:

    @ SLT…
    It similar to the way that the PPACA, which brings tens-of-millions of new customers to private sector Insurance Companies, is Socialism.




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  32. Mumbles says:

    The thing I find most interesting about these race-baiting blasts, is how they fail to take into account the simple reality of race relations of the time. Anyone who was black, and in the Boston area in 1989-1990, will immediately remember the Charles Stuart case, where Charles shot himself in the abdomen, and his wife in the head, and blamed it on a nondescript black man. Police failed to investigate him, and thus did not discover that he had openly expressed that he wanted his wife dead. Instead, they spent months beating, publicly strip-searching, and otherwise humiliating black men with little or no justification, and eventually framed a random black guy for the crime. Eventually, Charles’ brother confessed to having a role in the crime, and Charles committed suicide. The police, and Mayor Ray Flynn, refused to apologize to anyone, loudly declaring their witnesses to be “known liars” , although the supposed witnesses had reported being deprived of sleep and water, and being intimidated by police during questioning, even before Charles’ brother confessed.

    Of course, this was far from the only case of outright bigotry in the area, but it was, and is, the most famous example from the area. But I find it interesting that the guys that are supposedly telling us the supposedly hidden story of Obama’s college years, themselves refuse to report the actual racial climate during Obama’s college years.




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  33. Rob in CT says:

    I love this “they buried it!” crying from Jenos. Alternative reality at work.

    The media was all over Joe the Plumber. Reading back on it, he had a bit interview with Katie Couric, for instance. That damned lame stream media covered up… oh, wait, they didn’t? Controversy sells. The “spread the wealth around” line was *everywhere* not just in the Right Wing media outlets. This was not buried.

    Well, they sure didn’t talk about Rev. Wright… oh, wait, they did? Yes, they did. A lot. And then Obama had to make his “race speech” to address it. ASKED. ANSWERED. You don’t have to like or believe the answer. But it the issue was brought up and addressed in the full light of day.

    Well, Obama didn’t release his transcripts! Oh, wait, former candidates didn’t either? Oh…




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  34. Rob in CT says:

    Big interview, rather. Dude was freaking everywhere (which is how he became a household name).




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  35. Ian says:

    This isn’t “vetting”. This is opposition research, and its the job of the opposition to do that, not the media.




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  36. Hey Norm says:

    @ SLT…
    It’s also similar to the way Religious Liberty is used to push one’s religious beliefs onto others.




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  37. Rob in CT says:

    @Mumbles:

    Boston’s racial history is pretty ugly. I knew that generally, though I didn’t know the specifics you mentioned.

    Cue the pivot to “see, the North is racist tooooo! But you Yankee liberal elitists won’t admit it!!!!” (despite the fact that they do, in fact, admit it. And decry it. And try to change it. For which they are attacked by Conservatives).




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  38. Neil Hudelson says:

    Hey Guys,

    Our plan to bury everything regarding Obama so far seems to be working. I mean, sure, there were weeks and months long discussions on all major media outlets about Obama’s past associations, his family, whether or not he was born in the US and was indeed eligible to be a President, whether or not he was a socialist, whether or not his wife hated ‘whitey,’ whether or not his insurance reform plan was socialist, how much and what types of drugs he took in college, and a few other big hits.

    And that seemed like the media was really hurting us at first.

    But I think as the years have drug on we’ve seen that we really did a good job covering up the worst of his past. It’s just now getting out that he hugged a black professor, and that hitjob a newspaper published 18 years ago talking about how Obama wanted to live in a less mean country is just now being rehashed. I think we can get these covered up by election and the nation will remain ignorant sheep.

    To think, 2 years of campaigning and 3 years as POTUS, and there hasn’t been a single true discussion ever of Obama’s past.

    Really, great job guys. I’m super proud to be a member of the liberal-media cover up machine. The organization we started 50 years ago when Obama was born in Hawaii (WINK) has worked beautifully.

    Keep up the great work.

    Best,

    Neil




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  39. Neil Hudelson says:

    Crap, that was the wrong window. Steven could you just delete that for me buddy?

    When are we getting the edit button back?




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  40. David M says:

    Shorter Jenos: “The liberal media covered up whether or not the Obama’s handed out candy on Halloween or went to a party in 1998. If only that had come out in 2008, Obama would not have been elected.”

    Derrick Bell was a professor of Law at Harvard University. while Obama was a student there, so the fact that they knew each other then just isn’t news.




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  41. cian says:

    Jenos,

    Here’s another nugget the main stream media ignored (hid?) in 2008.

    It turns out that back in his high school basketball days he was known by teammates as Obomber, and that on one occasion, after defeating an all white team, was seen to fist pump as the final whistle blew.

    Normal match day high jinks? A simple nickname? Maybe, maybe not. But who’s asking? Only the crazy, and that’s not fair.




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  42. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Jim Hoft? Stacy McCain? Huh??

    In any event, parsing and twisting words for partisan political gains are par for the course when it comes to the chattering classes. Idle time, idle minds.

    The issue is not what Obama did or said when he was a young student. It shouldn’t be. Hell, I wouldn’t care all that much if Obama spent his time at Harvard wearing Che Guevara T-shirts, chanting “death to America.” Youth often is wasted on youth.

    Granted, after Obama developed into an adult he demonstrated very poor judgment and disburbing political tendencies. Associating with the likes of Ayers and Wright is pretty far out there, even by Chicago machine politico standards. That too, however, no longer is germane. Obama was elected president. He’s the leader of the free world. The political past is water under the bridge. To focus on it incessantly, as some on the right are wont to do, is the hobglobin of political folly. It just doesn’t matter.

    The only relevant issue at present is what has Obama done since taking office. In that regard, as I see it, there are multiple dichotomies afoot, the likes of which never before have been seen.

    I would give Obama an A+ for the administration’s work against al Qaeda in the War Against Terrorism. Icing bin Laden. The drone strikes. The renditions. Keeping Gitmo open for business. Dropping civilian trials. Continuing the military tribunals. Not giving in to the loopy left on the issue of terminating traitors overseas. Granted, on some of those issues people outside of the White House or even outside of the administration had to clue Obama in and give him reality checks. But the bottom line is the buck stops with Obama and on this front he hasn’t made a single major mistake. Bravo.

    I would give Obama an F, however, for the mixed signals on Afghanistan, the delays in approving the surge in forces there, the mixed signals towards and the poor relations with Israel, the premature departure from Iraq, and the unresolved and unexplained Libya-Syria dicohotomy.

    On the domestic front Obama makes Carter look good. Obamacare. The GM bankruptcy. The continued and even the expanded bailouts. The bank takeovers. The debt. The deficit. The NRLB. Boeing. Gibson Guitars. The oppressive EPA regulations. The green energy debacle. The other boondoggles. Nominating a wingnut like Eric Holder. Then staying with Holder even in the wake of the Gunwalker fiasco. The czars. Elizabeth Warren. Steven Chu. Van Jones. Sotomayor. Kagan. Literally a disaster. Arguably the worst in history.

    It shouldn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out what needs to be done in November.

    What happened at Harvard can stay at Harvard.




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  43. Hey Norm says:

    @ SLT…
    It’s also similar to how austerity creates growth.




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  44. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Obamacare. The GM bankruptcy. The continued and even the expanded bailouts. The bank takeovers. The debt. The deficit. The NRLB. Boeing. Gibson Guitars. The oppressive EPA regulations. The green energy debacle. The other boondoggles. Nominating a wingnut like Eric Holder. Then staying with Holder even in the wake of the Gunwalker fiasco. The czars. Elizabeth Warren. Steven Chu. Van Jones. Sotomayor. Kagan. Literally a disaster. Arguably the worst in history.

    I can only assume this is a lost (and poorly rhymed) verse from We Didn’t Start the Fire.




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  45. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: I may not agree with the list, but it makes a lot more sense than worrying about which black guy Obama hugged at Harvard.




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  46. @Gromitt Gunn:

    I can only assume this is a lost (and poorly rhymed) verse from We Didn’t Start the Fire.

    Score!




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  47. the Q says:

    Lets cut to the chase here and face the sad,ugly but true facts of what is really going on.

    I, too, have friends (white) that are educated etc. and they dislike Obama and I will attribute that opposition to him as being based on 60% his policies and 40% on his being a “n******”.

    Come on Jenos et al. I grew up in LA in the 60s and 70s and by a fluke, my elementary school was about a third black (busing), but my neighborhood was lily white, so since I was in 2nd grade I’ve heard the racist snickers behind the backs of minorities.

    By the way, these assholes aren’t dead yet, they grew up and now vote and that racism is alive and well (witness Arizona senate passing birther bill today).

    I tell my black friends who sometimes still see racism everywhere that “there is much less racism in the U.S. than most black folk think and there is a lot MORE racism in the U.S. than most white people think.”

    Jenos, just by all your incoherent rants, you fit the bill nicely of a closet bigot who of course will deny to high heaven that is the case.

    But I have lived it and seen it and been around it longer than just about any of my white peers, and Obama’s opposition is mostly rooted in racism with the “socialism” and and “he is destroying america” a close second and third.




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  48. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Steven,

    I do not ask this lightly: Can Jenos be banned? It’s not that he’s taking an unpopular stance and should be punished. God, no – I’m something of a free-speech absolutist. But in this case, the right to free speech (on OTB anyway) is being abused because Jenos is trolling for trolling’s sake. It’s the equivalent of attending a debate of candidates, throwing cream pies around and then loudly whining no one takes you seriously. Of course not – you’re a damned clown, and once security removes you we’ll clean up the place and continue our discussion.




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  49. Rob in CT says:

    Focusing on the record: absolutely the right path.

    Tsar’s review of O’s record is, of course, very different from my own. Bonus points for hyperbole (literally the worst in history). Heh, his immediate predecessor was worse, let alone some of the guys we had in the 19th century. And what about the Demon FDR?

    But still, the record is there to be examined and argued over. That beats the hell out of whining about a non-coverup of his past.




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  50. @Rob in CT:

    the record is there to be examined and argued over. That beats the hell out of whining about a non-coverup of his past.

    I concur.




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  51. @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    It’s the equivalent of attending a debate of candidates, throwing cream pies around and then loudly whining no one takes you seriously. Of course not – you’re a damned clown, and once security removes you we’ll clean up the place and continue our discussion.

    There is something to that characterization, I will allow. And I take the point: he has a tendency to hijack comment threads (although rather than trolling for trolling’s sake, one gets the unfortunate impression that he thinks he is making sound arguments).




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  52. James says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: I’d like to go to bat for Jenos here. He’s ignorant and annoying sure, but I don’t think he’s done anything earning a ban.




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  53. steve says:

    Am I the only one to get chain emails with stuff like this? This kind of stuff is forwarded from family and friends, most of whom are well to the right of Santorum. This is just a tiny bit of this particular bit.

    “First President to go on multiple global
    apology tours.

    First President to go on 17 lavish vacations,
    including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his
    friends; paid for by the taxpayer.

    First President to have 22
    personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

    First President
    to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer
    expense.

    First President to repeat the Holy Qur’an and tell us the
    Islamic call to worship is the most beautiful sound on earth.

    First
    President able to break all these laws, be openly corrupt and get by with
    treason, simply because he’s black.

    WAKE UP AMERICA
    ! Send this list to your Democrat friends- they will all be so
    proud of all these firsts! Just think- this list could really grow if
    he just has four more years now that taxpayers have paid for his on
    the job training! Thank God for Fox News- pray that Obama doesn’t
    shut this network down to maintain control of what we think! Just how
    much more will this man get away with? I don’t want to know!”

    Steve




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  54. Rob in CT says:

    Yeah, that’s a pretty standard wingnut chain email. Many of us have gotten them at one time or another.

    I think my grandpa writes some of them. He’s 87 and very confused. And racist. But mostly just confused. And very angry about libruls. He listens (or used to listen) to this awful guy, Savage, on the radio late at night. He doesn’t hear well anymore, so the radio has to be cranked up loud. I spent a sleepless night down in NC a few years back unvoluntarily listening to that rabid loon ramble on about the evil homos.




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  55. Guys, could we please watch the typed-out language–I went ahead and used *’s for @the Q‘s comment. I understand the point being tried to make, but we would prefer that we avoid that (and other) words that can be offensive.




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  56. @steve: I have gotten some like that over the years. Thankfully most of my friends and family don’t typically send forwards.




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  57. Hey Norm says:

    “…Thank God for Fox News- pray that Obama doesn’t
    shut this network down to maintain control of what we think!…”

    That may be the single most amazing thing I have ever read!!!




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  58. @James: I agree, btw. I don’t think he has done anything worthy of banning. I do confess, that I debate at times whether engaging him is worth it or not, given the way it can derail a thread.

    I just wish he would learn to argue better (and my impulse to grade often kicks in).




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  59. Herb says:

    I second James and Steven’s stance on Jenos. Jenos, it’s easy to disagree with you. It’s harder to use that disagreement to justify banning.

    @steve:

    WAKE UP AMERICA

    Oh man….if I had a dime for every forwarding chain e-mail I got that had that at the end, I’d make Mitt Romney look like a pauper.




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  60. Racehorse says:

    Who among us would want to be judged by what we did and said when we were students? Especially if it was back in the ’60’s? I am more interested in what Obama is saying and thinking now.




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  61. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I do confess, that I debate at times whether engaging him is worth it or not, given the way it can derail a thread.

    Yes – and doesn’t it seem Jenos derails every thread in which he participates?

    Again: This is not about content, but about a continued distraction/annoyance. If I get to a thread late and notice Jenos has posted early, I’m unlikely to participate because it’s a sure bet the discussion no longer is about the topic at hand but, rather, something he wrote.




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  62. the Q says:

    Thanks Dr. Taylor, I meant it to be used in the way that I think a lot of obama critics think it.




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  63. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Rob in CT: Something I noticed when my Orange County Dittohead father came to stay with me a few weeks ago: Any political discussion, he will start at a volume nearing Nigel Tufnel’s 11. Immediately, you’re drawn into a fight because it’s hard to maintain civil discourse at a shout.




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  64. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Hey Norm:

    That may be the single most amazing thing I have ever read!!!

    It’s amazing that few of the wingnuts, if any, have looked back at the last three years and said, “Hey, all that stuff that I was told Obama would do – take my guns, shut down FOX, impose Sharia law – none of that’s happened. Maybe those people who told me this were wrong.” Instead, they say, “He’s biding his time – just wait.”

    I need to find the NRA’s pronouncements of how Obama, by not doing anything about guns, is lulling America into a false sense of security – and then he’ll take them!




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  65. Herb says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    “it’s a sure bet the discussion no longer is about the topic at hand but, rather, something he wrote. “

    That’s partially our fault. If he says something abjectly ridiculous you could respond with sarcasm (like my “What a scoop, man” comment) or dismissal (as James’s “Let’s not” comment re: talking about Joe The Plumber). You don’t have to fight the battle on his chosen ground. You don’t even have to fight the battle.




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  66. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Herb: You’re probably right, and I’m probably overreacting. But I like OTB quite a bit*, and I would hate to see it become a place of constant screaming – all it takes is one knucklehead and, as you point out, people who choose to engage said knucklehead.

    * – Why do I like OTB? A few reasons: 1. The bloggers, while further to the right of me, are sane. 2. I am allowed to comment. 3. The commentors are intelligent. 4. There is enough diversity of opinion where I do not feel I am in danger of epistemic closure due to hanging out in an echo chamber.

    Balloon Juice once was my go-to place that allowed – nay, encouraged – comments, but once Cole started allowing others to post threads, something changed. I don’t think I’ve been a regular there for five years.




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  67. Rob in CT says:

    It’s all our fault, really. We could just ignore Jenos. Some of us don’t.

    Sorry, Gold Star. My bad. I just can’t help myself sometimes.

    My father can’t discuss politics without talking about how Barney Frank should be in jail (for causing the 2008 crash, along with Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson). The CRA caused it all, you see.

    He watches Fox constantly, but then denies that he gets all his info from there. He’s 86 (in case anybody goes “wahh?” the aforementioned grandpa is my maternal grandfather). Whaddya gonna do?




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  68. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    @Herb:

    There is no if; there is only when.




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  69. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Rob in CT:

    It’s all our fault, really. We could just ignore Jenos. Some of us don’t.

    Sorry, Gold Star. My bad. I just can’t help myself sometimes.

    Also guilty. But there’s the nagging suspicion that declining to engage someone lobbing around obvious falsehoods equals unspoken concurrence.




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  70. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Found this from the NRA:

    Obama administration officials know that it’s good politics to avoid making gun control a public issue. They hope that they can lull gun owners into a false sense of security and then play us for fools in the 2012 election. NRA members, gun owners and liberty-minded Americans should not be fooled. Next year’s presidential election will be a referendum on our freedom.

    Yeesh.




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  71. Rob in CT says:

    Well, there’s also the viewpoint that says failing to challenge obvious falsehoods is dereliction of duty.

    Damnit man, someone is WRONG on the INTERNET!




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  72. @the Q: No worries–I understood the intent, but just thought it best to go the asterisk route.




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  73. @Rob in CT: Yes, I have been known to suffer from that syndrome as well.




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  74. Herb says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    Balloon Juice once was my go-to place that allowed – nay, encouraged – comments, but once Cole started allowing others to post threads, something changed. I don’t think I’ve been a regular there for five years.

    Well, you made a smart choice by making the switch, I’d say.

    One thing I’ve noticed about Balloon Juice is that they regularly complain about their commenters and are fairly liberal with the ban hammer. I think that approach attracts trolls like flies to honey.

    This place has more rational discussions. (And a surprisingly liberal readership!) I don’t think that’s because James and Co. are sane (although they are). I just think it’s because they’re good.




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  75. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Nevertheless, when it comes to Jenos, I stand by this statement.




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  76. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Herb:

    This place has more rational discussions. (And a surprisingly liberal readership!)

    If I had to guess, I’d say the readership is rather middle-of-the-road and perhaps leans right. We only look liberal compared to what passes for modern conservative thought.




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  77. anjin-san says:

    I do not ask this lightly: Can Jenos be banned?

    I thought Jenos had already been banned, a while back.




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  78. MM says:

    @Herb:

    WAKE UP AMERICA

    Oh man….if I had a dime for every forwarding chain e-mail I got that had that at the end, I’d make Mitt Romney look like a pauper.

    My favorites are the: “If you support this, pass this on. if you don’t, that’s OK, but please keep your opinions to yourself” types of emails. It’s such a nice way to say “pass on my propaganda like the awesome people do or shut up you America hater”.




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  79. bandit says:

    Nothing says idealistic like hugging racist h8rs. I mean who didn’t?

    The great thing about being a lefty is you can twist your sanctimonious bullshit into rationalizing anything.




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  80. @bandit:

    Nothing says idealistic like hugging racist h8rs. I mean who didn’t?

    As best I can figure, the professor in question was pro-affirmative action and had some highly critical things to say about race relations and the development of the US. I am not a big fan of “critical racial theory” but I find the characterization as a “racist h8r” to be both overblown and perhaps misinformed. Are to elaborate/defend your position?

    I think this is a pretty good run down: here.




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  81. anjin-san says:

    I guess bandit can’t wrap his brain around the fact that black people in this country actually have some pretty good reasons to be pissed off.




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  82. An Interested Party says:

    It shouldn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out what needs to be done in November.

    You got that right, considering that it might be possible to vote for Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum…of course, you probably fail to see the irony in your statement…

    I thought Jenos had already been banned, a while back.

    Indeed, he certainly appears to be very similar to someone who used another pseudonym and was banned in the past…




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  83. bandit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: His views on race and religion are much like a young Austrian idealist.




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  84. bandit says:

    @anjin-san: Like the sun coming up in the East you can count on lefties supporting anyone who blames their problems on Jewish control..




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  85. @bandit: I think you are going to have to elaborate.

    @bandit: To whom are you referring?




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  86. anjin-san says:

    Damn Bandit, you would have to climb a mountain just to become a bottom feeder.




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  87. An Interested Party says:

    His views on race and religion are much like a young Austrian idealist.

    This statement is from the same person who asked on another thread if someone else was out of his mind…the irony, it burns…




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  88. WR says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Don’t ban JWest! He’s a living, breathing reminder of just how empty a life can be. We should all read his posts, and then feel grateful for our families, our loved ones, our careers.




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  89. WR says:

    @Rob in CT: “It’s all our fault, really. We could just ignore Jenos. Some of us don’t”

    I plead guilty, too. There’s that combination of stupidity and arrogance that makes my fingers start typing. Which is, of course, what he wants. But here we are…




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  90. Jenos Idanian says:

    This article, by the above definition, is a “troll.” It’s a deliberate misinterpretation of the point of the original story — the mainstream media’s covering up for Obama’s past in 2008.

    This is nothing new. Matt Drudge’s initial “big” story wasn’t the Lewinsky affair — it was how Newsweek had the story, and killed it.

    The Shirley Sherrod video wasn’t intended to show her as a racist — but to show the NAACP audience’s reaction to her confession of discriminating against whites.

    Here, the Breitbart people are doing what the mainstream media is supposed to do, and staunchly refused to do in 2008 — go over Obama’s background with a fine-toothed comb and publicize it. A video of him in his Harvard Law days, an article featuring him from the same era, photos showing him teaching his students the principles of Saul Alinsky, reading lists from his classes featuring several publications from Professor Bell…

    The standard tactic to discount the disclosures as trivial or insignificant. Clinton’s perjury and impeachment was “just about sex, and everyone lies about sex.” (The vast majority don’t lie about it while under oath.) Breitbart lied about Sherrod and deliberately got her fired. (That was the Obama administration’s incompetence and overreaction.) And this case is not about how Obama was some radical racist leftist, but how this was kept quiet during the last election.

    Breitbart was always clear about his ultimate targets. In each case, that part was buried and recast to discredit the message. And this article is just another example.




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  91. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Boy, do you need attention.




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  92. WR says:

    @James: No, attention is what JWest craves. It’s the last thing he needs.




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  93. True American Patriot says:

    “We’ve come far, but I think we need a new harmony among the races in our country. And we’re on a journey into a new century, and we’ve got to leave tired old baggage of bigotry behind.” – George H. W. Bush.

    “Where is it written that we must act as if we do not care; as if we’re not moved? Well, I am moved! I want a kinder, gentiler nation.” – George H. W. Bush.

    “So today I am outlining the next steps to welfare reform; the next actions we must take to build a more just and generous nation.” – George W. Bush




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