Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Just a regular guy

Barack Obama is running as two different people. On the one hand, there is the exotic, internationalist who understands foreign relations because of his life experience. On the other hand, he and his wife insist that they are just regular people who couldn't possibly be elitists or out of touch with other regular folk. A closer look at Obama's biography shows how pitiful this characterization is. His life to this point has been anything but ordinary.

Obama describes his mother as a Christian woman from Kansas. This is ingenuous and ignores most of her life.

Obama's mother was an early 60s radical and "the original feminist". She married a Muslim from Africa (against both families' wishes) at a time when people in a mixed marriage were shot at. That she married a second Muslim implies that her marriages were as much a political statement as the product of true love. She was also twice-divorced at a time that this was very rare.

Obama's mother pretty much abandoned her native country. She became an anthropologist and spent most of her adult life overseas. Obama had to move in with his grandparents in order to attend high school in America (they were kind enough to pull up stakes and move to Hawaii for him).

Obama admits to using a lot of drugs in high school and college. His college experience was ivy-league.

After college, he took a corporate job but felt very uncomfortable - "like a mole". As soon as possible he quit to go work as a community organizer.

This is a loaded term. Obama claims that he could not have told his fellow corporate workers what it meant, that it was up to him to define it. This is incorrect. The term community organizer has a well-understood meaning. The radical, Saul Alinsky, appropriated the term as a way for socialists to push for change without admitting to being socialists.

One thing that Obama did as a community organizer was to work as a trainer for ACORN. This is exactly the sort of organization that Alinsky described. Among their causes, they have endorsed confiscating vacant houses and giving them to the poor. They have been champions of increasing minimum wage except when applied to their own organization. They have also been involved in voter registration drives, sometimes increasing the voter rolls through election fraud.

Of course, for more than a decade, Obama has been a career politician.

So what part of this gives him insights into regular people's lives?

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