In keeping with the spirit of Rick’s previous post which highlights a now-embarrassing 2008 campaign speech made by Barack Obama, I’d like to offer a look back at this equally embarrassing and absurd Huffington Post piece by one of Candidate Obama’s biggest suck-ups, Cass R. Sunstein: “The Obama I Know” (all emphasis is mine):
The University of Chicago Law School is by far the most conservative of the great American law schools. It helped to provide the academic foundations for many positions of the Reagan administration.
But at the University of Chicago, Obama is liked and admired by Republicans and Democrats alike. Some of the local Reagan enthusiasts are Obama supporters. Why? It doesn’t hurt that he’s a great guy, with a personal touch and a lot of warmth. It certainly helps that he is exceptionally able.
But niceness and ability are only part of the story. Obama also has a genuinely independent mind, he’s a terrific listener and he goes wherever reason takes him.
Those of us who have long known Obama are impressed and not a little amazed by his rhetorical skills. Who could have expected that our colleague, a teacher of law, is also able to inspire large crowds?
The Obama we know is no rhetorician; he shines not because he can move people, but because of his problem-solving abilities, his creativity and his attention to detail.
What, you’re reaching for that airsick bag already? Hang on, because we’ve only just begun …
He is strongly committed to helping the disadvantaged, but his University of Chicago background shows; he appreciates the virtues and power of free markets. In this sense, he is not only focused on details but is also a uniter, both by inclination and on principle.
Transparency and accountability matter greatly to him; they are a defining feature of his proposals. With respect to the mortgage crisis, credit cards and the broader debate over credit markets, Obama rejects heavy-handed regulation and insists above all on disclosure, so that consumers will know exactly what they are getting.
Expect transparency to be a central theme in any Obama administration, as a check on government and the private sector alike. It is highly revealing that Obama worked with Republican (and arch-conservative) Tom Coburn to produce legislation creating a publicly searchable database of all federal spending.
Obama’s healthcare plan places a premium on cutting costs and on making care affordable, without requiring adults to purchase health insurance. (He would require mandatory coverage only for children.) Republican legislators are unlikely to support a mandatory approach, and his plan can be understood, in part, as a recognition of political realities.
But it is also a reflection of his keen interest in freedom of choice. He seeks universal coverage not through unenforceable mandates but through giving people good options.
Okay, by now you’re either really fighting to choke back the gag reflex and save your keyboard, or wiping tears out of your eyes as you try to quit laughing long enough to catch your breath, or you’re busy trying to shoo the rainbow unicorns out of your room. So I’ll go easy on all of you and end this with one more excerpt:
In short, Obama’s own approach is insistently charitable. He assumes decency and good faith on the part of those who disagree with him. And he wants to hear what they have to say. Both in substance and in tone, Obama questions the conventional political distinctions between “the left” and “the right”. To the extent that he is attracting support from Republicans and independents, it is largely for this reason.
From knowing Obama for many years, I have no doubts about his ability to lead. He knows a great deal, and he is a quick learner. Even better, he knows what he does not know, and there is no question that he would assemble an accomplished, experienced team of advisers …
In the 2000 campaign, Bush proclaimed himself a “uniter, not a divider”, only to turn out to be the most divisive President in memory. Because of his own certainty, and his lack of curiosity about what others might think, Bush polarized the nation. Many of his most ambitious plans went nowhere as a result.
As president, Barack Obama would be a genuine uniter. If he proves able to achieve great things, for his nation and for the world, it will be above all for that reason.
Starting with his infamous “bitter clingers” comment and continuing with his snarky “I won” retort, Barack Obama has repeatedly shown contempt and disrespect for Republicans and for the American people. Like Obama himself, his “accomplished, experienced team of advisers” possessed little experience or professional recognition outside of Ivy League classrooms and left-wing think tanks. And his desire to shackle businesses with a tidal wave of new laws, regulations, and mandates, combined with the most aggressive pursuit of mercantilism (or ‘crony capitalism’ if you prefer) of any Presidential Administration in my lifetime has given us, in only two and a half years, the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.
Sunstein, who currently serves as the Administrator of the White House Office Of Information and Regulatory Affairs (a position colloquially known as “Regulations Czar”) is a legal scholar by profession (Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School and Professor, Harvard Law) and is considered by many to be a top contender for President Obama’s next Supreme Court nomination. I find it incredible, yet at the same time sadly believable, that someone with such impeccable academic credentials could so terribly misread the character of Barack Obama. Was Sunstein simply a starry-eyed intellectual who was blinded to reality by Obama’s undeniably powerful charisma and personal charm? Or did Sunstein know better, yet choose to deliberately mislead the American people? Whatever the reason, neither Sunstein or Obama deserve an encore performance in 2012.