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Evidence Now Clear That Barack Obama Was Not Widely Vetted for a Tenured Offer at Chicago.--

This post updates my post yesterday, reporting that the University of Chicago Law Faculty never voted a tenure offer to Barack Obama. I have now further nailed down the story.

I have now spoken or corresponded with 7 members of the University of Chicago law faculty, including several of the most powerful members of the faculty in the 1998-2003 period. For each year in that period, I believe that I have spoken to at least one from the following group of people who would know if Barack Obama had been vetted for an appointment with immediate tenure: appointments chair, appointments committee member, or dean. I have been purposely inclusive in this list to avoid identifying my sources.

None of the 7 Chicago law faculty I interviewed or corresponded with were consulted about an Obama tenured offer, none of them remember any discussion of hiring Obama with immediate tenure, and some of them couldn't believe that anyone would even attempt such a move, since it would have been a "nonstarter." If Obama had been vetted by the faculty before he was approached about an offer with immediate tenure, every member of the apppointments committee that year would be likely to remember it. I suspect that the group least likely to believe the story that the Chicago faculty was consulted and favored a tenured offer to Barack Obama is the University of Chicago Law School faculty.

I should say that two very prominent members of the faculty emailed me to express their doubt that a tenured offer had ever been vetted with the faculty. Both are campaign donors to Obama. My own supposition is that they supported my reporting because they did not want the academic public to get the wrong idea about Chicago's tenure standards. One prominent faculty member wrote me that he had not been consulted by Dan Fischel about a tenured offer for Obama, "nor does [Dan] recall the whole thing with any certainty."

Dan was a law school classmate of mine and a great dean at Chicago, and he is one of the most brilliant and influential law and economics scholars ever. I think his memory just failed him this time (as it sometimes does for many of us).

Many non-academic readers of this blog may not have understood why this was such an implausible story in the first place. In any event, now I've talked to enough Chicago faculty that this story can be safely put to bed.

Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Professor Lindgren, would it be possible for you to link this and your previous Obama post to the other posts related to Obama's job as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School?

Thanks and thank you for your diligence on this story.
7.31.2008 5:14pm
wm13:
Funnily enough, the story didn't shock me, even though it apparently wasn't true. Now if the New York Times had wanted to shock me, they would have reported that Obama was offered a partnership at Cravath!
7.31.2008 5:30pm
Grateful Reader:
Thank goodness that this has been put to rest! Our long national nightmare is over. Next, can you please debunk stories about the equally weighty topic of McCain's $500 shoes?
7.31.2008 5:33pm
ejo:
well, it was reported as fact by the NYT. The story reported appears to have been wrong and not all that easily disproved by making a few telephone calls. Given the lack of any significant achievement, it probably does have more import than fancy shoes but I do eagerly await that topic.
7.31.2008 5:42pm
John (mail):
I must say I was disappointed that you could not use the phrase "Chicago 7" somewhere.

But, as a U.Chi. law graduate I am relieved that tenure was not being handed out as easily as suggested in the Times article.
7.31.2008 5:45pm
Cornellian (mail):
Only professors, for whom tenure is some kind of holy grail, could find this non-story so compelling as to merit multiple VC posts.
7.31.2008 5:47pm
tarheel:
Just to be clear, ejo, it was reported as fact by the NYT because the dean at the time stated it is fact. Is the Times responsible for his error?
7.31.2008 5:47pm
Irked by Tribe:
Although it seems there may not have been any intentionally misleading statements made in this instance regarding the reports of a U. Chi. tenure offer, the same cannot be said regarding Larry Tribe's hyping of Obama as the best student he's ever had in 3 decades of teaching at Harvard Law. I was reminded of Tribe's past statements to that effect through a post today by Ed Whelan of Bench Memos (here) to which Jonathan Adler of this blog linked earlier today in covering a Tribe op ed in today's Wall St. Journal (here).

Tribe's statement is provably false. Obama of course got excellent grades overall, graduating magna, but he did no better than an A- in Tribe class. How do I know? I overlapped with Obama at Harvard Law School and once heard him express disappointment that he didn't get a better grade in Tribe's class. I can't recall the precise details (which at the time of course didn't seem significant) but I'm certain Obama got either a B+ or an A-, and an A- is my best guess. To graduate magna, one has to have slightly above an A- average. Thus, the grade Tribe gave Obama actually pulled down Obama's grade average.

Assuming Obama got an A-, that's a decent grade from Tribe, but hardly superlative. My estimate is that of the 130 or 140 students in his class, each year Tribe typically gave maybe 1 or 2 an A+, and maybe 10 to 15 a straight A. Extrapolated across 30 years of teaching that means at least a couple dozen students got an A+ from Tribe, and at least 200 or 300 got a straight A, so that judging by Tribe's blind grading of Obama's work, it's a flat-out lie for Tribe to rate him as his best student ever.

This tidbit has irked me for some time, but didn't strike me as that big a deal until I read Whelan's post linking to a Boston Globe questionnaire filled out by Obama's campaign listing Tribe as one of Obama's 4 principal legal advisers (Question 11, here). The fact that one of Obama's top legal advisers is publicly dissembling about Obama's academic record and that Obama hasn't corrected the record seems concerning.

I hope reporters will take the trouble to contact Tribe to ask him, in light of his comments about Obama being his best student ever, exactly what grade he gave Obama. In the past, Tribe has been willing (even eager) to discuss grades given by him to students who end up being famous (e.g., here), so I don't see how he could decline to do so here. Has Obama released his law school transcript yet? That would provide an even more definitive way to settle this point.
7.31.2008 5:52pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
"would it be possible for you to link this and your previous Obama post"

There is another related post that probably should be linked: "Was Obama a 'professor?' "
7.31.2008 5:58pm
James Lindgren (mail):
dear Irked:

Has it occurred to you that Tribe's extravagant praise and Amar's even more extravangant praise (Obama is a very good writer but Amar says he writes like Lincoln) might be tangentially related to a desire to serve on the Supreme Court?

Even if such motives are not conscious, ambitions can influence judgment even in the best of men.
7.31.2008 5:58pm
krs:
Forgive my total ignorance, but does this mean: (1) that the report of the tenure offer extended to Obama was wrong or (2) that the process leading up to the offer was so strange that it didn't even include consulting the faculty, or (3) some third possibility that I've missed?
7.31.2008 6:00pm
The Ace (mail):
So the NYT writes a completely implausable puff piece on the candidate they want to win.

I'm shocked by this development!
7.31.2008 6:01pm
The Ace (mail):
Just to be clear, ejo, it was reported as fact by the NYT because the dean at the time stated it is fact. Is the Times responsible for his error?

The NYT is now in the business of accepting singular claims as fact?


What about the "multiple layers" of fact checking we always hear about?
7.31.2008 6:03pm
Mikeyes (mail):
I too eagerly await the fith and sixth (or is it sixth and seventh?) installment on this monumental issue.
7.31.2008 6:09pm
DC:
Prof. Lindgren: This seems like as good a place as any to mention it, but your posts would be quite a bit more readable if you indicated emphasis with italics rather than boldface.

On computer screens -- and particularly on the VC main page, where bold type denotes the beginning of a new post -- lots and lots of bolding proves distracting to the human eye and disrupts the natural flow of reading.
7.31.2008 6:10pm
Nathan_M (mail):
Irked, I don't see why you are assuming Obama had to have got the best grade in Tribe's class to have been Tribe's best student.

Presumably his grade is based on a single exam, while Tribe's assessment of him as a student is based on much more than that.
7.31.2008 6:17pm
Irked by Irked:
Irked's obsession with Tribe's comments about Obama seems either to be about something else, for ex. not liking Tribe or Obama, or is a prescient warning about the dangers of reporters taking compliments of candidates at face value.

The post is just silly because it seems to me that Tribe is in the best position to judge who his best student was. More importantly, even if your recollection of Obama's comments are accurate, Tribe said best student, not highest grade. The judgement of best student is subjective.

More disturbing is that you argue that this is an issue the press should be focusing on. Apart from the fact that what grade Obama got in one law school class probably ranks one millionth in a list of national concerns, is the idea that this is a point that needs settling. Obama did very well in law school. Tribe taught him and gave him a very high compliment. End of story. However, maybe it is an issue with that small chunk of the electorate which votes based solely upon a candidates blindly graded law school grades which is, according to you, being horribly duped into thinking that Obama got an A+ rather than an A- in his Con Law class.

I can see it now "Harvard Law Student Alums for Truth".
7.31.2008 6:20pm
krs:
Irked, people can sometimes be hyperbolic when praising people they like, especially when it's in their interest to do so.
7.31.2008 6:20pm
Hoosier:
Cornellian:

I apologize for being one of those people who posted multiple times. But those of us in academic life do take the matter of tenure very seriously. Getting tenure at a major research university can make your career. Being shot down for tenure can end a career, or set it on an undesirable track.

With the years many of us put in to--in my case--get the PhD; do the series of visiting professorships; teach at the places with crappy pay and health benefits; learn research languages that you didn't know you'd need; all the while cranking out a book manuscript and trying simultaneously to have a marriage and family life . . . yes, the question of who gets tenure, and why, becomes important.

This is "obviously" the issue that kept the thread rolling, as Prof. L indicates in this post. Those of us in academia and those of us outside academia read this story in very different ways. I don't think, for what it's worth, that this says anything about Obama. But it does say something about Chicago. And I'm glad that it turned out the way it did.
7.31.2008 6:23pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
irked:
Tribe's statement is provably false.


Your facts might be 100% correct. But I want to point out, a matter of logic, that it's possible your claim is wrong, assuming a certain scenario (which I admit is unlikely).

Assume that Tribe gave Obama an A-. It's possible (although admittedly unlikely) that Tribe issued no higher grades in that class. Did you get a higher grade? You didn't say you did. In other words, it's possible that Obama was the best student in that class, even if he 'only' got an A-.

The next issue is that Tribe presumably issued higher grades (A and A+) in other classes. But grades are not an absolute standard. It's possible for standards to shift over time, for a variety of reasons. A professor can therefore claim that an A- he issued this year is worth more than an A+ he issued last year. That is, this year's A- student could be a better student than last years A+ student.

Another detail. I can also change my mind, and realize I made a mistake. For example, I can realize that last year's A+ should have been an A-.

Another detail. You heard Obama complain. Maybe he also complained to Tribe, and Tribe agreed to raise the grade.

I think there are a couple of issues to address before you get to the level of "provably false."
7.31.2008 6:28pm
Irked by Tribe:
Prof. Lindgren,

Actually, I was not plumbing motives -- simply pointing out that (crediting what I heard Obama say regarding his disappointing grade in Tribe's class, i.e., assuming he wasn't making up a "poor me" story out of false modesty, which I very much doubt), Tribe has in the past year made intentionally false factual statements in describing Obama as his "best student" ever. That's different than Tribe saying, as he did in the Concord paper Whelan quotes, and I believe has done elsewhere, that Obama was his most "exciting" research assistant ever, or best writer he ever worked with, etc., statements which involve more subjective impressions.

But now that you mention it, no, I don't think Tribe's statements praising Obama are consciously or unconsciously linked to a desire to serve on the Supreme Court. He should have been appointed in the early 90s instead of Breyer, but now he's clearly too old, even setting aside the gender issue (the first two slots almost surely will go to women). Possibly he's interested in other positions of influence in an Obama Administration, formal or informal, but my guess is Tribe's aggressively positive comments starting a year ago were mostly designed: (1) to help Obama obtain the momentum needed to get the nomination and have a shot at the presidency; and (2) perhaps not incidentally, to make sure everyone knows that Tribe's such an astute judge of talent that he identified Obama many years ago as destined for great things, and he has worked for years to help Obama achieve his destiny. Incidentally, I have no problem with either of these two motives for Tribe's various statements during the past year hyping Obama. My only problem is when puffery turns into outright lying, as I think it has with Tribe saying Obama was his "best student" ever, even though Obama got at most an A- -- a grade which, judging from Tribe's speech disclosing that this was Chief Justice Roberts's grade, Tribe is on record as saying isn't particularly impressive (again, on Tribe publicly "outing" Roberts as merely an A- student, see here; if anyone still has the video of that speech, please post to Youtube).
7.31.2008 6:29pm
Adam B. (www):
I share the irkedness at Irked-By-Tribe, for surely a professor's evaluation of a student encompasses more than one exam.

As to this: it speaks to my alma mater (and Dan Fischel's credibility and management skills specifically), and has nothing to do with Obama's clear merit as a teacher, confirmed by my own two-time experience.
7.31.2008 6:34pm
Connie:
Yes, Obama must immediately release his law school grades! The transcript must be checked for kerning!
7.31.2008 6:37pm
tarheel:
Ace:

Whom would you have a fact checker call? Perhaps the dean at the time?

Any reasonable reporter would accept that as a definitive source, albeit a mistaken one in this case.
7.31.2008 6:39pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Dan Fischel's management skills are formidable.
7.31.2008 6:41pm
LM (mail):
Prof. Lindgren,

With respect and appreciation for your reporting on this matter, is this post supposed to change what we think happend, or does it just reinforce what we already knew? Other than Fischel reportedly questioning his own memory, isn't this what we assumed from your last post? I'm not saying it's uninteresting, just that the headline and bolded section seem to imply some kind of breaking development. Am I missing something?
7.31.2008 6:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
on Tribe publicly "outing" Roberts as merely an A- student, see here


You're pointing to a freerepublic article that points to a dead link at legalaffairs.org. Do you have a better source?
7.31.2008 6:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ace:

The NYT is now in the business of accepting singular claims as fact?


It's funny you would ask that question, since one of your ideological twins has vigorously defended NYT for doing exactly that (in another context). Actually, he was defending NYT for doing something worse than that (printing a singular claim even after being warned it was false).
7.31.2008 6:46pm
Hoosier:
Another detail. You heard Obama complain. Maybe he also complained to Tribe, and Tribe agreed to raise the grade.

Gah! I hate it when my colleagues do that. Talk about opening the flood-gates.
7.31.2008 6:47pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
If Harvard uses blind grading, how would Professor Tribe even know what grade he gave Obama or Roberts (unless they told him)?
7.31.2008 6:48pm
Irked by Tribe:
To the commentators who have criticized my comment:

I don't think it's nitpicking to point out the incongruity between Tribe stating that Obama's his "best student" ever and the fact that, based on blind grading, Tribe rated hundreds of other students higher than he rated Obama as a student. Especially if the first time Tribe ever made such a statement was after Obama announced for president, this nugget may link to broader criticisms of Obama and his allies for efforts to exaggerate his relatively thin resume (e.g., to depict him as a super-scholar due to being President of the Law Review even though it was a popularity contest, he apparently never published anything, his work received mixed reviews, etc., Obama's apparently skewed description in his autobiography about his New York corporate job, and various other points). Have McCain or his allies ever been accused to falsely depicting details of McCain's life? Evidence that Obama and his allies see a need to do so seems worthy of attention.

Compare what Tribe has said about Obama to what he said about Chief Justice Roberts. Both got an A- in Tribe's class (unless it turns out Obama got a B+). As to Roberts, Tribe (prefiguring one comment here) stated that Roberts's "grade didn't quite reflect his brilliance," and said it was a wonderful example he could use with students in the future that "You can actually get somewhere in this life if you get only an A minus in this course." Tribe could have done the same with Obama, saying he was another example of how far you can go with a less-than-impressive grade in Tribe's course. Instead, to date he's omitted any mention of the grade Obama actually earned, based on blind grading. Worse, he's stated quite inconsistently with that grade that Obama was supposedly the "best student" he ever had.

I may well be emphasizing this particular point too much, but I trust that some enterprising reporter or blogger will look into the matter to see what explanation Tribe and/or Obama have for the incongruity I have pointed out.
7.31.2008 6:48pm
LawMan 5000:
It appears that Dean Fischel offered him tenure but it never went before a faculty committee because he said he was not interested. Whether or not tenure would have been a "non-starter" before the faculty, I cannot say, though it appears only one or two of your seven anonymous sources suggested that. I find it doubtful, however, that he would have been rejected by the faculty committee, despite having not published. When I was a student at Chicago (after Obama had run for Senate and was no longer teaching) it was largely accepted that he had been offered tenure. Furthermore, the fact that he was a Senior Lecturer, a title he shared only with Judges Posner and Easterbrook, suggests that he was not viewed as a typical member of the academy. Does anyone doubt that he was a Senior Lecturer? I still am not sure what the story is here. I think you are being presumptuous when you say Dean Fischel got it wrong. The author of the NY Times story seems to believe that Dean Fischel spoke with some clarity.

The author of the original NY Times story wrote:

"When the law school tried to hire Mr. Obama after his failed 2000 congressional race, it was for a tenured job, according to Daniel Fischel, the dean at the time. In our interview, I asked him if he meant "tenure-track," and he said no. "He would be hired as a tenured professor," he explained. The faculty would vote, but Mr. Obama already had their support, he added."

Obama Story
7.31.2008 6:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo:

it probably does have more import than fancy shoes


I think McCain's fancy shoes deserve exactly as much attention as Edwards' expensive haircut. Which did indeed receive a stunning amount of attention.
7.31.2008 6:49pm
Smokey:
Hoosier:

Thanks for that excellent piece on why tenure should be completely abolished.

Nathan_M said:
Irked, I don't see why you are assuming Obama had to have got the best grade in Tribe's class to have been Tribe's best student.

Presumably his grade is based on a single exam, while Tribe's assessment of him as a student is based on much more than that.
I wonder what any of Tribe's A+ students would say about that?

As for the media and Obama, I was working out this a.m. and noticed what was on the six (6) big screen TV's the club has along the walls: Obama. Obama on every. Single. One.

One cut to an uncomplimentary still pic of McCain for about 1 1/2 seconds -- then went right to a McCain critic, who began critiquing McCain's ads.

Then, back to Obama.
7.31.2008 6:50pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Although it seems there may not have been any intentionally misleading statements made in this instance regarding the reports of a U. Chi. tenure offer, the same cannot be said regarding Larry Tribe's hyping of Obama as the best student he's ever had in 3 decades of teaching at Harvard Law"


I realize this is a totally nutty idea, but isn't it possible that one's grades might not always reflect one's quality as a student?

When I was in law school, I did a lot of things as a student that had no positive impact (and probably a negative impact) on my grades, like studying topics that wouldn't be on the exam. I guess I was more interested in the learning the law than getting good grades.

Crazy, I know.
7.31.2008 6:51pm
ejo:
good-please point out how a guy who was a pow for 5 years likes expensive shoes now. add in his immorality and the new wife with the beer distributorship. that will lose him a lot of votes. maybe use the bush stuff about the black child of adultery-it will be even harder for him to explain adopting a child from the third world. lose him tons of votes.
7.31.2008 6:55pm
LM (mail):
Thorley,

Blind graded exams aren't anonymous transcripts.
I have no idea what kind of access HLS faculty have to student transcripts, but it's hard to believe Tribe couldn't get it for Obama or Roberts if he wanted it.
7.31.2008 6:56pm
tarheel:

Blind graded exams aren't anonymous transcripts.

Exactly. I assume many professors check a student's grade in their class when they write him/her a recommendation.
7.31.2008 6:58pm
The General:
so did the reporter just make this story up, or make a mistake and got the facts wrong (unlikely)? Who was the source? The most likely scenarios is that someone who supports Obama is trying to beef up his thin and unimpressive resume.
7.31.2008 6:59pm
LM (mail):
The General,

Have you read the posts?
7.31.2008 7:01pm
Irked by Tribe:
Jukeboxgrad:

I, too, am concerned about the dead links on the Free Republic site. I assume you can find the Howard Bashman link in the archives at Bashman's current site. I am most interested, however, in the video itself which apparently was for at least a time on Harvard's servers (link is dead, as best I can tell). I have written the Free Republic poster asking him/her to please post the video on Youtube, if he or she has a copy. I got the e-mail on the home page of "Harvard Hater": it's harvardhater@ownmail.net. Perhaps others can e-mail, too. If there does exist a video of Tribe "outing" Roberts for getting only an A-, I don't see how Tribe can avoid commenting on the grade he gave Obama.

Thorley: I think the grading is blind until all the grades are handed in. After that point, I assume, the professors eventually get a list of which students got which grades. My dim recollection from law school is that at least some students who did really well in Tribe's class would get letters inviting them to do research for him. So clearly, Tribe at some point after grading Obama's exam learned what grade he had given Obama on blind grading.

My modest objective here was to report, for what it may be worth, my recollection of Obama not being happy with the grade Tribe gave him. I wasn't planning to have to spend a lot of time writing about it, or defending my decision to comment. If this point is actually of interest to people, I'd appreciate if others could look into the matter, try to get the video of Tribe's speech (if Harvard Hater doesn't have it, presumably Tribe or Harvard can supply it, unless they want to cover this up), ask Tribe about it, etc., so I don't have to comment further (though I will try to check back occasionally).
7.31.2008 7:01pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
irked

Have McCain or his allies ever been accused to falsely depicting details of McCain's life?


Yes. He is routinely described as a fighter pilot (by everyone, including and especially the 'liberal' media), even though that's not what he was. For details, start here and keep scrolling.

Has Obama released his law school transcript yet?


Has McCain signed SF-180 yet? His only executive experience was 13 months, 30 years ago, in a job he probably got via his daddy. And he's so proud of it he omitted it from the official campaign bio posted on his web site. We have few details on what happened during those 13 months. If McCain signed an SF-180, we would know a lot more. When Kerry ran (at least in part) on his war record, lots of people demanded that he sign the form. McCain is definitely running on his war record, and no one seems to care that most of those records are still secret. But we sure know a lot about Obama's birth certificate. And now you're asking for his HLS transcript.
7.31.2008 7:01pm
LM (mail):
Irked by Tribe,

Pointing out a possible incongruity is one thing. Calling it a lie is another. If LT said Obama wrote the best exam he'd ever seen, that would be a lie or faulty memory. But when he says Obama was the best student, unless you know what he means by "best student," you can't know it's a lie. So calling it a lie is a smear.
7.31.2008 7:08pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo:

add in his immorality and the new wife with the beer distributorship. that will lose him a lot of votes.


You're right that a lot of people in the GOP won't mind. Those are the folks who think family values are very important, except when it comes to their own family. It's striking to note that the 'family-values' party is the party that gave us our first (and only) divorced president, and is now trying to give us another one. Reminds me of that great bumper sticker: '4 out of 5 Republican divorcees and adulterers believe that gay marriage is a threat to the sacred institution of marriage.'
7.31.2008 7:08pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Tribe has in the past year made intentionally false factual statements in describing Obama as his "best student" ever"


To repeat: The assumption underlying your attack is that the grade perfectly reflects the quality of the student.

I can think of many reasons why that assumption fails completely.
7.31.2008 7:09pm
Smokey:
Let's cut to the chase. There is only one reason that Obama refuses to release his high school transcripts, his SAT, his LSAT, and his HLS grades: he got to where he did through Affirmative Action, not through merit.

If Obama walked on water like he wants everyone to believe, he'd release his superlative grades. But he didn't get superlative grades, and if he released the unvarnished truth, his messiah's halo would suddenly be askew and folks would understand exactly how he'd failed upward so easily.

Or I could be wrong. If so, then let's see those grades. Shove 'em in my face and laugh. I'm waiting.
7.31.2008 7:13pm
tarheel:
Smokey:

Damn right! And let's get Clarence Thomas' too! In fact, let's make all black public officials show us their grades so we can make sure they did not benefit from affirmative action.
7.31.2008 7:17pm
LawMan 5000:
Smokey,

He graduated Harvard Law school Magna Cum Laude, meaning in the top 10% of his class, based only on grades. How is that not proof of high grades?
7.31.2008 7:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
irked:

I assume you can find the Howard Bashman link in the archives at Bashman's current site.


No, I can't. Maybe you can. Let us know.

My modest objective here was to report, for what it may be worth, my recollection of Obama not being happy with the grade Tribe gave him.


FWIW, I find the anecdote mildly interesting, and I support you for sharing it. But turning it into unwarranted conclusions is a different matter.
7.31.2008 7:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

Let's cut to the chase. There is only one reason that Obama refuses to release his high school transcripts, his SAT, his LSAT, and his HLS grades: he got to where he did through Affirmative Action, not through merit.


Let's cut to the chase. There is only one reason that McCain refuses to sign SF-180: he got to where he did through Admiral Action, not through merit.
7.31.2008 7:26pm
Adam B. (www):
Smokey, that's the biggest pile of crap yet. You hold out "refuses to release" as the standard as though we're entitled to every scrap of paper ever collected about a candidate. I don't see you demanding anything of Sen. McCain -- all disciplinary reports from his time in Annapolis, say?

Moreover, Obama was elected president of HLR because he won the backing of the conservative editors. Affirmative action? Really?

To Lindgren's parry about Fischel's management skills, I'd note the circumstances of his departure, as well as the litigation occasioned by that Clinic firing, but we don't need to dwell on the details.
7.31.2008 7:38pm
Smokey:
I happen to agree that McCain should release his DoD Standard Form 180. The discussion would highlight the major differences in character.

And the voting citizens are entitled to every damn scrap of paper ever collected about a candidate. These aren't your next door neighbors signing up for a Thursday night bowling league. These are candidates for POTUS. We're entitled to vet them -- and we would, if the worthless media started doing its due diligence instead of pitching underhand nerf balls.

OTOH, maybe some folks would prefer to buy a pig in a poke.
7.31.2008 7:56pm
Steve Lubet (mail):
I wonder if it has occurred to Irked that Obama might have taken more than one class from Tribe, perhaps even a seminar.
7.31.2008 7:56pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):

now I've talked to enough Chicago faculty that this story can be safely put to bed.


the lord be praised. and now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
7.31.2008 7:56pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"let's make all black public officials show us their grades so we can make sure they did not benefit from affirmative action."


I'm not a huge fan of race-based affirmative action (I think it should be based on lack of income), but I can't ignore the irony behind this commonly-proffered conservative criticism of AA: That it causes people to question the qualifications of successful minorities.

How to create empirical support for this argument? Question the qualifications of all successful minorities!

Of course the unstated assumption underlying this attitude is explicitly racist: That no black person could have succeeded without AA.
7.31.2008 7:57pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"And the voting citizens are entitled to every damn scrap of paper ever collected about a candidate."


I suppose, if you think that someone's high school transcript tells us something about their qualifications for president some 30 years after the fact...

Of course as pointed out above, Obama graduated HLS magna cum laude, putting him in the top 10% grade-wise. So weren't you pretty much PWNED there, Smokey?
7.31.2008 8:01pm
Smokey:
Mahan Atma, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were typing while I was posting above. So before you fall back on the usual underhanded tactic of dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck when you've got nothin', listen up and learn.

I've posted here many times that there are numerous African Americans I would vote for in a heartbeat over any current, white political candidate. Among them: Walter E. Williams, Tom Sowell, Bill Cosby, Clarence Thomas, Lynn Swann, Deroy Murdock, Ken Blackwell, J.C. Watts and plenty of others.

As far as I know, they succeeded without Affirmative Action.

Unlike your HE-RO with the secret grades.
7.31.2008 8:09pm
James Lindgren (mail):
According to Kantor, Dan Fischel said (1) that he made a tenured offer to Obama, contingent on faculty approval, and (2) that the faculty would vote Obama tenure because they already supported such a tenured offer.

We now know that the second statement is false; a tenured offer was never vetted to the full appointments committee, let alone the faculty. Given Chicago's high standards, the ease of blocking appointments, and the views expressed to me in the last few days, it would have been almost impossible for Dan to get this one through.

The first statement may be true or false, but (according to one faculty member) Dan is now not certain of his memory. Given the unlikelihood of getting a tenured offer through, I wonder whether Dan made a contingent untenured offer, and somehow got confused about it later. We may never know about the first statement.
7.31.2008 8:10pm
The Ace (mail):
Yes. He is routinely described as a fighter pilot (by everyone, including and especially the 'liberal' media), even though that's not what he was.

Funny, you actually believe that the ignorance on the part of the media, means they are not liberal. As if that somehow makes McCain more of a hero or something.



FYI:

Clark said late last month that McCain has not held ``executive responsibility,'' and added, ``I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.''


Is Wes Clark not a Democrat? Or is he trying to build McCain up?


"McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet," Rockefeller said. "He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues."


Is Rockefeller not a Democrat? Or is he trying to build McCain up?

You certainly are a simple minded individual.
7.31.2008 8:19pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"As far as I know, they succeeded without Affirmative Action.

Unlike your HE-RO with the secret grades."


Smokey,

Here is HLS's grading system. Note:

"The top 10% of the class, excluding summa, are honored with the distinction of graduating magna cum laude."


We know Obama graduated magna cum laude, so he must have graduated in the top 10% of his class, correct?

So what possible basis do you have for assuming Obama could only have succeeded because of affirmative action?
7.31.2008 8:20pm
tarheel:
Mahan:

Since you quoted me, I want to make sure it is clear that I was being 100% sarcastic in that statement.
7.31.2008 8:21pm
dr:

Unlike your HE-RO with the secret grades.


smokey, is the sneering really necessary?

it's already been pointed out several (dozen) times that obama's grades were better than those of at least 90% of his HLS peers, and yet you continue to insist that his grades are being kept secret. can you perhaps explain why this isn't sufficient information for you? would 99th percentile be impressive to you but not, say, 91st? what percentile (in blind grading, mind you) would persuade you that obama's academic success was not the result of unearned handouts?

and please. without the sneer.
7.31.2008 8:25pm
The Ace (mail):
Why can't we just proclaim Obama the most super duper, smartest, most articulate "law professor*" ever and be done with it?

Seriously, wouldn't that just be easier?


*Note: I find it continuously amusing that Obama was considered a "constitutional law professor" yet he doesn't understand, lied about, and can in no way articulate a coherent belief in the 2nd Amendment.
7.31.2008 8:27pm
LM (mail):
Steve,

Obama was also Tribe's research assistant. For obvious reasons, law professors go after the best students they can get to be their research assistants. More to the point, they get a much longer, closer look at that student's ability than they can get from a three hour exam. In other words, Tribe has plenty of legitimate basis for forming his assessment. Calling it dishonest is unjustified and wrong.
7.31.2008 8:33pm
dr:

Why can't we just proclaim Obama the most super duper, smartest, most articulate "law professor*" ever and be done with it?


very well. that's settled.

seriously though, your exasperation is silly. you seem not to notice that the obama defenders in this and other posts here are doing just that -- playing defense. perhaps in your real life you're surrounded by obama die-hards who approach you unsolicited and regale you with stories of their lord and saviour, but here, the general conversation always seems to go like this:

BLOG POST: i notice that barack obama is tall. he may be our tallest presidential candidate since bill clinton.

COMMENTER A: that's because he's a socialist, and also not very bright.

COMMENTER B: can you provide proof that he's a socialist, or that he's not very bright?

COMMENTER A: oh why can't we just proclaim obama the most super duper, smartest, most articulate "law professor*" ever and be done with it?


of course, the discourse is rarely that high-level (with the exception of the initial posts, which are usually way too good for the commentary that follows). but the pattern holds -- obama is attacked, then defended, then the defenders are mocked as glassy-eyed cultists.

really, it's stupid.
7.31.2008 8:36pm
The Ace (mail):
perhaps in your real life you're surrounded by obama die-hards who approach you unsolicited and regale you with stories of their lord and saviour

Um, all one needs to do is turn on the TV or read an article about him.
7.31.2008 8:44pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Of course the unstated assumption underlying this attitude is explicitly racist: That no black person could have succeeded without AA.


Or rather that when a particular person seems to have opportunities handed to him by fawning admirers without the requisite work effort or level of achievement that usually precedes them, there's a pretty good chance that he's not getting them on merit.

And far as the issue before us, I don't really think it's that important whether Obama was a Senior Lecturer who was called "professor" merely as a courtesy or whether he was a serious academic on the tenure track. That someone felt compelled to inflate his rather meager achievements by suggesting he was offered tenure just seems to be another example in a long line of puffing up a rather meager set of accomplishments.

As far as the classes themselves, I think a number of things can be divined from them. The obvious one being that Obama is obsessed with race as evidenced by his choice of courses and the manner in which he teaches them. Another is that he doesn't seem to either a serious or demanding instructor. Eight hours seems rather overly-generous to complete an open-book examination. Twelve pages is fine for a one-credit course but not fulfill a seminar/writing requirement at a law school. And don't get me started about how having students lead the class in discussion is usually the staple of instructors who were too lazy to prepare a lesson plan. Finally, contrary to the claims of the article, the framing of some of the questions on his final exams suggest strongly that his own personal political views were very much injected into the classroom at least where it counted most.
7.31.2008 8:45pm
dr:

Um, all one needs to do is turn on the TV or read an article about him.


that's your story, and you're obviously sticking with it. but i hear way, way more about this "messiah" talk than i actually hear the messiah talk. you and many others have done a heck of a job painting a picture of a man obsessed with himself. i haven't seen much actual evidence, but that's probably not relevant to the conversation.
7.31.2008 8:47pm
LM (mail):
Ace,

Why can't we just proclaim Obama the most super duper, smartest, most articulate "law professor*" ever and be done with it?

I think,

"Barack Obama is smart enough and writes well enough to be a tenured law professor at any law school in the country. I wish I wrote as well."

will do.

And yes, I'm sure you know the Constitution much better than Obama does. So don't let the opinions of actual Constitutional scholars convince you otherwise.

But more relevant that any of that,

"For Obama to graduate with high honors, even if he had stellar grades in seminars he would have to have done well in blind-graded courses. IMO, that means he is very smart in conventional terms, probably smarter in academic terms than any president of the last 40 years (with the possible exception of Clinton, who did well at Yale, but not as well as Obama did at Harvard)". (emphasis added)
7.31.2008 8:58pm
Adam B. (www):
Another is that he doesn't seem to either a serious or demanding instructor. Eight hours seems rather overly-generous to complete an open-book examination. Twelve pages is fine for a one-credit course but not fulfill a seminar/writing requirement at a law school.

1. We've got plenty of 12- and 24-hour exams at Chicago as well. What eight hours allows for, more than anything else, is travel time back to one's apartment to write in peace.


2. A 12-page paper would help fulfill the course requirement, but not the Law School's separate "two substantial writing projects" requirement. That's why 12 pages was the minimum, and there was no max.
7.31.2008 8:59pm
Smokey:
dr,since you're brand new to the internet, my apologies for getting you riled.

And for the folks waving around Obama's secret HLS grades, note that he got into Harvard ahead of a lot of better qualified Asians and caucasians. Can we stipulate to that? Oh, we can't??

That's because his LSAT, SAT & high school grades are a secret.

That's the problem: pig-in-a-poke. No vetting permitted. He's black, dontcha know. Wouldn't be fair.
7.31.2008 9:00pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
A lot of the comments here absolutely reek of small-mindedness and jealousy.

Not to mention rank hypocrisy. George Bush was a C-student who had the world handed to him on a silver platter. Apparently, that mattered not one whit to all the folks here who voted for him.

Obama graduates from HLS magna cum laude, having been President of the HLR, and people are demanding that he release his high school transcripts.

What I find silliest is the narrow-minded focus on grades, to the exclusion of all else. If any of you had read Obama's books (and I realize that requires far more open-mindedness than you will ever entertain), you'd be forced to admit that the man is an extremely talented writer, among other things. (Lindgren and other posters here say so as well.)

That kind of skill with words cannot be imbued through mere affirmative action. It takes a great deal of intelligence and, believe it or not, hard work. Try it some time.

The ridiculous focus you all have on the superficialities of Obama's academic record speaks volumes about your worldview and aptly explains why you can't fathom his success to save your life.
7.31.2008 9:08pm
The Ace (mail):
you and many others have done a heck of a job painting a picture of a man obsessed with himself i haven't seen much actual evidence

Really?

Let's look at that:


Some say the supremely confident Obama -- nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that "the odds of us winning are very good" -- has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn't need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions.


Media cheer-leading (literally)

When Obama walked on stage at the McCormick Center, many journalists in the audience leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically after being told not to do so. During a two-minute break halfway through the event, which was broadcast live on CNN, journalists ran to the stage to snap photos of Obama.

The Illinois senator talked about his trip overseas, reiterating his opinion that violence is down in Iraq but worsening in Afghanistan. And he expressed his approval of the Senate's passage of a major housing bill to help homeowners avert foreclosure.

Obama, who acknowledged that he needed a nap, stood up to say farewell to the audience of journalists, many of whom gave him another standing ovation.


Another,
With less than six months to go before he would be sworn in as the nation's 44th president, Sen. Barack Obama has directed his aides to begin planning for the transition

Obama's wife on Obama:

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism . . . that you come out of your isolation. . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."


More,

Barack Obama always was a larger-than-life candidate with a healthy ego. Now he's turning into the A-Rod of politics. It's all about him.


Not to mention the Presidential seal he had going...
7.31.2008 9:09pm
loki13 (mail):

dr,since you're brand new to the internet, my apologies for getting you riled.

And for the folks waving around Obama's secret HLS grades, note that he got into Harvard ahead of a lot of better qualified Asians and caucasians. Can we stipulate to that? Oh, we can't??

That's because his LSAT, SAT &high school grades are a secret.

That's the problem: pig-in-a-poke. No vetting permitted. He's black, dontcha know. Wouldn't be fair.


Whatever happened to the sane conservatives? Y'know, the ones that had substantive disagreements over policy in good faith (I dislike Obama's healthcare initiatives because x and y)? Istead it's all conspiracy theories and "chip on shoulder" politics when its remotely civil.
7.31.2008 9:12pm
The Ace (mail):
will do.

Hilarious!

I love the fact that you followed this post just in time!


that's your story, and you're obviously sticking with it. but i hear way, way more about this "messiah" talk than i actually hear the messiah talk


Don't worry, you have no sense of irony.

And yes, I'm sure you know the Constitution much better than Obama does

I know I do. Note you aren't bothering to defend his incoherence. Shocking, I know.

So don't let the opinions of actual Constitutional scholars convince you otherwise.

Aw, isn't that cute?! 4 leftists in the tank for Obama and I'm supposed to be impressed.

Yawn.


(emphasis added)


You seem to be confusing me with someone impressed by academic credentials.
7.31.2008 9:14pm
The Ace (mail):
Obama said, "I was a constitutional law professor, which means, unlike the president, I actually respect the Constitution."

I just can't get over that! It's like an SNL sketch or something.

Anyway, Obama's not stuck on himself or anything,


German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed a request by Barack Obama to give a speech this month before the Brandenburg Gate as "inappropriate", her deputy spokesman said Wednesday.

The conservative leader said that while she would be pleased to meet the US Democratic presidential hopeful, it would be wrong for him to hold a "campaign rally" at the historic symbol of German unity.

"It is unusual to do electioneering abroad," spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters.

"It is unusual to hold election rallies abroad. No German candidate for high office would even think of using the National Mall (in Washington) or Red Square in Moscow for a rally because it would not be seen as appropriate."


No gravitas? No problem!
7.31.2008 9:25pm
Ohio Scrivener (mail):
The issue of Obama's grades seems like (in the candidate's words) a "distraction." I don't think many (any?) voters are going to focus on his grades or performance as a law student.

The original point by Professor Lindgren about the media not vetting favorable facts concerning Obama strikes me as significant. One problem with Obama and his lack of prior experience is a very real question about the degree to which he has been vetted for national office. For more seasoned candidates like Hillary and McCain most of the bad facts have already been discussed and factored in by voters. For Obama, there does seem to be more room for surprises a la Jeremiah Wright, particularly if the media is disinterested in vetting stories that conveniently fit their pro-Obama narrative.
7.31.2008 9:26pm
sputnik (mail):
what Obama really meant in that prayer.

Lord~ Protect me and my family.

Allah, please help me get elected King of the Infidels. I am willing to sacrifice my children in our holy quest to seize power over the land of sinners. Only then will they understand that the words of Muhammed ibn Abdullah, (Peace and Prayers be upon him) apply to all of your children, and to deny your words is to embrace death.

Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair.

In my holy jihad against the people of the United States of Infidelity, I will be not proud, and I know that my sins will be forgiven by you, for they are sins in the name of Allah. The Infidels will lose their war in the Holy Land, and the Israelites will feel the flames of death upon them. Jerusalem will be returned to the Palestinian brothers, and peace will reign over the region for 1000 years.

Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just.


Allah, please make sure that this prayer gets published in Maariv. Looking for a holy bump in the polls. I have sent copies of the prayer to the AP, UPI, BBC, Reuters, New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, The Enquirer, The Sun, The Star, and the writers of The View. Please Allah, make it so that Barbara Walters understands the reason behind this prayer is to help the ratings lost since Star Jones "quit."

And make me an instrument of your will.


Again, Allah, please get me elected as King of the Infidels. The Barbarians have taken to my speeches, and believe my words. They will follow me, they will drink the holy Kool-Aid, or they will die.

Allahu Akbar!!
7.31.2008 9:37pm
HLS Grad:
"Top 10%"? Obama might be crafty, but not especially brilliant.

A quick note about the idea that Obama's grades must have fell in the top 10% because he graduated magna, and currently only the top 10% graduate magna.

I've heard this a lot, but the logic doesn't hold, assuming as I think is the case that when Obama graduated in 1991, it was under the old system under which everyone above a fixed grade point (around 5.8, slightly less than an A- average of 6.0) graduated magna. Because of grade inflation, over time something like 12%, 13%, maybe even a higher percent of the class graduated magna. That trend was reducing the value of the magna honor, so at some point -- I believe after Obama graduated -- the present system allowing only 10% to get magna was instituted.

If he was under the old system, all we can safely say is that he was in the top 15% by the time he graduated. And regardless of what system, you'd have to evaluate his 2L and 3L transcript to decide how impressive his record was. He might have focused on taking "gut" courses (particularly small seminars) from professors who are known to hand out straight As like candy. In sum, unless Obama's transcript becomes available and disproves speculation, it's entirely possible that the following are the facts:

1. Obama got only a B+ average during the first year, right about in the middle of the class, taking the standardized courses.

2. Obama only got on Law Review due to affirmative action (8 of the 48 spots are reserved for minorities).

3. Afterwards, through judicious selection of easy courses, Obama got a mix of A/A- grades, eventually working his average close enough up to around 5.8 to graduate magna.

Again, this is only speculation. So far all we know is that Obama lacked the ability and work ethic to actually publish something in the Law Review (one of the few editors, apparently never to publish anything) and that in the only tough course we know he took, (Tribe's) he apparently didn't get an "A." The actual facts could be more consistent with the idea that Obama is crafty, and good at working the system, but not especially brilliant. I agree that information on Obama's performance on standardized tests, plus information on his performance during his 1L year (when he had no ability to pick easy courses) would settle one way or the other the debate concerning his native intelligence, and about whether he needed the affirmative action boost to accomplish what he did.

I will leave to others the debate over whether any of this has any relevance to voters, e.g.: (1) in evaluating claims Obama seems to have made in the past that he didn't seek any benefit from, or obtain any benefit from, affirmative action programs (going to his credibility); (2) in evaluating whether Obama's allowed himself to be falsely heralded as some sort of genius, while refusing to disclose records which would allow critical examination of the claims being made on his behalf (going to his transparency and ethics). Possibility such matters would be of interest only to law geeks (especially Harvard Law geeks), and not the median voter.
7.31.2008 9:49pm
The Ace (mail):
Barack Obama on the rise of Barack Obama:

"I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people … . I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal … . This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation."


but i hear way, way more about this "messiah" talk than i actually hear the messiah talk.

Do you?
7.31.2008 9:51pm
Smokey:
Mahan A:
George Bush was a C-student who had the world handed to him on a silver platter. Apparently, that mattered not one whit to all the folks here who voted for him.
You still don't get it. Voters knew GWB's grades. They knew Kerry's grades. They knew Gore's grades [D in Science for Mr. Globaloney; and a divinity school flunkout, heh. You have to work to accomplish that]. Voters used that information to help them decide who to vote for. That's how it's supposed to work.

So why does Obama get a special free pass?? When you have a credible answer to that question, get back to us.

Re: Ace's post:
[McCain] is routinely described as a fighter pilot (by everyone, including and especially the 'liberal' media), even though that's not what he was.
Hillary's personal handmaiden, Gen. Weasley Clark, started that 'fighter' pilot meme [or at least pushed it relentlessly]. But the Perfumed Prince was in the Army, so maybe he doesn't understand that an A-6 Intruder gets down and dirty, low and slow to drop its ordinance, and that's how McCain was shot down. Like a lot of other A-6 pilots. Flying A-6's was a lot more dangerous than flying fighters.

But apparently from some of the comments here, flying an A-6 over Hanoi wasn't quite as dangerous as our brave HE-RO flying through that tough faculty opposition toward a tenured job. Just like his soul-mate Ward Churchill, of similar E-Z tenure fame.

OK, I've beat up on the Messiah enough for one day. Too easy, anyway.
7.31.2008 10:03pm
Adam B. (www):

So don't let the opinions of actual Constitutional scholars convince you otherwise.


Aw, isn't that cute?! 4 leftists in the tank for Obama and I'm supposed to be impressed.
John Eastman and Randy Barnett are not exactly leftists. Try again.
7.31.2008 10:06pm
Smokey:
Even many on the far Left know Obama is a "vacuous opportunist."
7.31.2008 10:11pm
The Ace (mail):
The reason why Obama is so unimpressive to me is that he has never had a real job. He's never created a job. He's never met a payroll, he hasn't worked in business, engineering, or science.

So all this talk about his "talent" is obscene.
Talent?

Try 36 hits firing two 20-round magazines from 300 meters with an M16A1. Of course as a chickenhawk he's never attempted that either.
7.31.2008 10:12pm
The Ace (mail):
flying an A-6 over Hanoi wasn't quite as dangerous as our brave HE-RO flying through that tough faculty opposition toward a tenured job.

Nice.

And too true.
7.31.2008 10:14pm
tarheel:
Old meme -- Obama is too intellectual for average Americans to vote for.

New meme -- Obama is not intellectual enough for average Americans to vote for.
7.31.2008 10:17pm
dr:

dr,since you're brand new to the internet, my apologies for getting you riled.

And for the folks waving around Obama's secret HLS grades, note that he got into Harvard ahead of a lot of better qualified Asians and caucasians. Can we stipulate to that? Oh, we can't??


smokey, i'm not riled, and you didn't answer my direct question. you've been demanding that obama release his secret HLS grades. when i pointed out (by far the first to do so) that his HLS grades weren't all that secret, you asked for his secret high school grades.

if we were to find some great high school grades, i trust you would demand that he release his evaluations from his time in the madrassa, right?

not new to the internet, smokey. just calmly requesting that you tone it down a little. obviously, you're free to be a hysteric. it's a little unbecoming, but go nuts.
7.31.2008 10:17pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"You still don't get it. Voters knew GWB's grades."


And yet, you voted for him anyway. Which means grades are a highly insignificant factor in your analysis. As is the ability to achieve success on the merits, as opposed to having it handed to you.

So in other words, this entire issue is nothing more than another club for you to wield.
7.31.2008 10:29pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Try 36 hits firing two 20-round magazines from 300 meters with an M16A1."


Oh yeah, that's a relevant skill for being president...
7.31.2008 10:30pm
Smokey:
dr, You were the one complaining. And may I point out that when someone swoons like a schoolgirl at a Beatles concert [OK, I'm showing my maturity], and gets moist at the sight of their messiah, the appropriate response is to sneer. It's almost unavoidable under the circumstances.

Question: why do you and everyone else infatuated with Obama give him a special free pass on his presumed scholastic ability? I was making a point lumping in his HLS secret grades with his secret grades from high school -- that grades don't matter when AA is in play.

By the time BHO got into Harvard via AA, everything that followed was a Done Deal. But you are giving him an uncritical, free pass on how he got to Harvard. Why?

I am stating that BHO got into Harvard because of Affirmative Action. Period. Because if Obama had the high school grades, and the SAT and LSAT scores to get into Harvard on merit, he would certainly have released those grades and scores to his worshipers long ago.

Look, you don't buy a car from a used car dealer without having a mechanic check it out first. Dealer: "No need to check 'er out, this here's one a the finest Yugos ever made. And what a deal! This lot loses a little on every sale. But we make it up in volume!"

Only an Obamaniac would fall for that line.
7.31.2008 10:50pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

I happen to agree that McCain should release his DoD Standard Form 180.


Good.

The discussion would highlight the major differences in character.


Really? Then why hasn't he done it? He's released only a very small portion of his service record. This tends to create the impression that the rest isn't flattering. What else could possibly explain why it's still hidden?

voting citizens are entitled to every damn scrap of paper ever collected about a candidate


FYI, Bush managed to hide his DUI conviction for many years. With some help by Gonzales, at one point.

As far as I know, they succeeded without Affirmative Action


What's your basis for putting Obama and Clarence Thomas in different categories, on this point? Why are you willing to say that about Thomas but not Obama? I can think of a number of reasons why the reverse is more rational.
7.31.2008 10:53pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
james:

Given the unlikelihood of getting a tenured offer through, I wonder whether Dan made a contingent untenured offer, and somehow got confused about it later.


That's probably a good summary of the whole story. But at the very least, it seems clear that Fischel really wanted Obama, and probably would have handed over immediate tenure, if it was up to him alone. All this reflects very well on Obama. The only potential 'dirt' in the story is the appearance that Fischel stretched hard to promise something that may have been hard or impossible to deliver. And then maybe was not careful enough in describing the scenario to Kantor.
7.31.2008 10:54pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ace:

you actually believe that the ignorance on the part of the media, means they are not liberal


When the 'liberal' media repeatedly calls McCain a fighter pilot, even though that's not what he was, it doesn't just prove that they are ignorant. It proves that they are not working very hard to examine him closely and harshly. But they would, if they were truly 'liberal.'

Is Wes Clark not a Democrat? … Is Rockefeller not a Democrat?


You're acting like you think those statements are news to me. But they're not, and you should know that. When I mentioned this topic in this thread (here), I pointed to another thread (here). And in my very first comment in that thread (on this subject), here, I started out, in my very first paragraph, by mentioning what Clark and Rockefeller did.

So you're doing a really nice job of proving that you are criticizing what I wrote in the other thread even though you haven't bothered to read what I wrote there. You didn't even get as far as the first paragraph of my first comment (on this subject). Nice.

Here's why Clark said it: because he was responding to a journalist who used that exact term. That's not Clark's fault. You've probably never seen Clark's statement in context.

Here's why Rockefeller said it: because he's an idiot. Any other questions?
7.31.2008 10:54pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ace:

yet he doesn't understand, lied about, and can in no way articulate a coherent belief in the 2nd Amendment


You should show your proof for the "lied about" part.
7.31.2008 10:54pm
Obama Classmate:
I took Con Law with Tribe, and hence with Obama, in the Fall of 1990, and the exam was actually relatively easy. My recollection is that a lot of people got an "A." So if Obama didn't (I have no idea whether that's true), I'm surprised.

The funny thing is, especially considering that Obama has staked his presidential run largely on the Iraq war, I looked through a bunch of old boxes and managed to find the exam, and it turns out that the 2nd of the 2 questions dealt with the first Iraq war -- and specifically addressed separation-of-powers issues related to the run up to that war. So if Obama didn't do a particularly distinguished job on that exam (maybe he was distracted by the question's use of his middle name?), it makes me think twice. The question's very short (Tribe's exams are much more elegant than Obama's, which drone on and on), so it's no huge trouble for me to type it in. Here it is (I'd love to see Obama's answer -- all kidding aside, especially because Obama's never published anything on legal topics, it would be informative to see what Obama wrote on these separation-of-powers issues which are more relevant now than ever):

Constitutional Law A2
Professor Tribe
December 14, 1990

II.

You are a staff aide to an influential U.S. Senator. It is January 3, 1991, the first day in the opening session of the 102d Congress. Despite an ultimatum approved in November 1990 by the United Nations Security Council requiring Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991, and despite December 1990 talks between Iraq President Saddam Hussein and U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in Baghadad [sic], Hussein has hardened his resistance to demands that Iraq pull out of Kuwait and restore it to its pre-invasion status. A joint resolution soon to be voted upon in both the House and Senate, which would appropriate several billion dollars for an 18-month period, may have enough support to survive a Presidential veto. The resolution provides as follows:

Sect. 1. This sum is to be the exclusive source of funds for the United States to expend on a land, naval, and/or air offensive against Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait or against targets in Iraq itself, for any purpose other than repelling imminent attack on Americans stationed abroad;

Sect. 2. Such an offensive may be launched only if and when the President, after formal consultation with the Speaker of the House and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House and Senate, formally finds that such an attack is essential to prevent the destabilization of the balance of deployable nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East or otherwise to protect the vital national security interests of the United States.

Sect. 3. None of the funds appropriated hereunder may be expended to advocate, or encourage popular support for, and offensive war;

Sect. 4. None of the appropriated funds may be used to attack civilian population centers;

Sect. 5. None of the appropriated funds may be used for an invading force that includes women as combat troops;

Sect. 6. All military personnel affiliated with recognized religious denominations that have condemned an offensive war against Iraq as unjust shall be excused from participation in the attack if they state under oath that they share that belief.

Your boss has asked you to comment, in 1,000 words or less, on the constitutionality of this legislative measure. Please do.
7.31.2008 11:09pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"By the time BHO got into Harvard via AA, everything that followed was a Done Deal."


Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't exams graded blindly at HLS?

If so, how do you attribute his top-10% grades at HLS to AA?
7.31.2008 11:14pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"So if Obama didn't (I have no idea whether that's true), I'm surprised."


It is striking how often that qualification has been used in this thread.

I have no idea whether you cheated your way through law school, but let's assume you did. Frankly, I'm surprised that someone of your supposed-caliber behaved so poorly. Clearly, we misjudged your character.
7.31.2008 11:21pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ace:

Really?

Let's look at that


Your attempt to prove that Obama is "obsessed with himself" consists mostly of quoting other people just like you, who claim Obama is obsessed with himself while offering little or no evidence. Interesting how that works.

This is a lot like what you did in another thread where you discussed Obama's bill (as I summarized here). Although you falsely claimed to have quoted from the bill, you never once quoted text from the bill (aside from the bill's title). You just cited people talking about the bill, as if you didn't understand that this is no substitute for quoting from the bill.

Likewise, the fact that some journalist shares your beliefs about Obama is not proof that your beliefs are correct.

This is pretty basic stuff. You'll probably hear more about it when you get to middle school.
7.31.2008 11:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ohio:

One problem with Obama and his lack of prior experience is a very real question about the degree to which he has been vetted for national office.


One problem with McCain and his lack of prior executive experience (aside from 13 months 30 years ago) is a very real question about the degree to which he has been vetted for national office.

For more seasoned candidates like Hillary and McCain most of the bad facts have already been discussed and factored in by voters.


Except for any "bad facts" that are concealed in the service records that McCain has decided to withhold.
7.31.2008 11:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

Voters knew GWB's grades.


Only because they were leaked. He did not release them. Why should Obama do what Bush did not do?

By the way, have you seen McCain's college transcript?

Gen. Weasley Clark, started that 'fighter' pilot meme [or at least pushed it relentlessly]


As far as I know, he said it exactly once, and I already explained why. Please show your proof that he "pushed it relentlessly." And it's screamingly absurd for you to claim that Clark "started" it. It's been part of the McCain narrative (as reported in the press) for years. And the one who has "pushed it relentlessly" is McCain. Although he avoids saying it himself, his web site is packed with examples of other people saying it for him (as I demonstrated in the other thread).

Flying A-6's was a lot more dangerous than flying fighters.


This comment (or at least many close variations) was addressed in the other thread. Maybe you should take a look, instead of turning this thread into that thread.

But apparently from some of the comments here, flying an A-6 over Hanoi wasn't quite as dangerous…


Speaking of not reading threads. Instead of inventing an asinine straw man, maybe you should read this thread and remind yourself of why the issue was mentioned.

Even many on the far Left know Obama is a "vacuous opportunist."


You'll get far recycling empty smears that Clinton used. It worked for her, right?

By the time BHO got into Harvard via AA, everything that followed was a Done Deal.


Wrong. Grading at HLS is blind.
7.31.2008 11:37pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ace:

He's never created a job. He's never met a payroll, he hasn't worked in business, engineering, or science.


And McCain did?
7.31.2008 11:37pm
Matthew K:
Though I found the initial subject matter of this thread vaguely interesting - I'm not especially in favor of beating up retired deans for their poor memory, but facts are nice - I'm somewhat distressed by the direction the comments took. Does anyone honestly think yet another flamewar is going to change anyone's mind? yes, it's important to rebut idiocy when it appears in major forums, but this isn't CNN (ie I agree with dr's comment).

Also, Ace, someone once suggested that John Glenn had never held a real job using much the same words you employ against BO. This parallel is completely irrelevant to the current discussion, but it struck me as too apt not to mention: http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/glenn.asp
7.31.2008 11:38pm
Hoosier:
Mahan: "What I find silliest is the narrow-minded focus on grades, to the exclusion of all else. "

Can you tell that to jukebox, who keeps touting Obama's grades, compared with those of McCain, as the Great Indicator of Smartitude? (Allegedly, those of McCain, since rank-in-class at Annapolis is not based on grades alone.)

Obama was a top decile student at Harvard Law. I don't know if he was 99th %ile or 91st %ile. And I don't care. For those--like me--who don't plan on voting for him to make an issue of his LSAT, grades, or shoe size is just frivilous.

I like McCain. That doesn't mean I have to think Obama is dumb. For that matter, I know people who I'm rather certain are brighter than Obama. Many of them are theoretical physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers. I'd rather have Ted Stevens in the White House.
7.31.2008 11:41pm
Hoosier:
jukebox: "By the way, have you seen McCain's college transcript? "

Do you have a link? I don't think I've seen it.
7.31.2008 11:42pm
Hoosier:
"Here's why Rockefeller said it: because he's an idiot. Any other questions?"

A DUMB Rockefeller?

What is this world coming to?
7.31.2008 11:48pm
LM (mail):
Ace,

Aw, isn't that cute?! 4 leftists in the tank for Obama and I'm supposed to be impressed.

So you don't just think -- you know you've got a better handle on the Constitution than Obama, especially in light of his pathetic ignorance of the 2d Amendment, right? And the compliments on his Constitutional acumen from four scholars means nothing to you, since they're so obviously just "leftists in the tank for Obama."

Ace, that's so embarrassingly silly, I almost feel bad pointing out the following:

John Chapman is a Constitutional originalist. He's a scholar at the right wing Claremont Foundation. He's Dean of the Right Wing Christian Chapman School of Law. He clerked for Clarence Thomas. He has a regular weekly spot on Hugh Hewitt's show, debating from the right wing position against people like Erwin Chemerinsky. Enough?

Don't relax. It gets worse.

Another one of those four leftists is regular VC blogger Randy Barnett. You know, the 2d Amendment scholar who was at counsel's table during the oral arguments in Heller? You know, the one who was cited in Scalia's majority opinion in Heller?

But they're leftists because you say so. And you know Obama's command of the Constitution better than they do. Ace, I think you're long overdue for a break. Come back as soon words like "leftist" have meaning for you again. (Did they ever?)
7.31.2008 11:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
HLS Grad:

Obama lacked the ability and work ethic to actually publish something in the Law Review (one of the few editors, apparently never to publish anything)


You are not in a position to claim that Obama did not publish unsigned material in HLR. HLR includes lots of unsigned material. Did you really not know that?

I will assume you mean to say that Obama did not publish a signed article in HLR. Is that what you're trying to say? However, as Orin Kerr has pointed out, "HLR does not have signed student works, for Presidents or others." Did you really not know that?

Since "HLR does not have signed student works, for Presidents or others," you should explain why you implied that most HLR editors publish signed material in HLR.
7.31.2008 11:57pm
trad and anon:
Did George W. Bush release his business school transcript and MCAT score? Did Kerry or Gore release their law school transcripts and LSAT scores? And what about their high school transcripts and SAT scores?

I'm pretty sure the answer to every one of those questions is 'no'.

If only we had a word for Smokey's apparent belief that black people must be presumed unqualified and the standard for showing otherwise is "beyond a conceivable doubt." Perhaps something that starts with 'r' and ends in 'ism'?
8.1.2008 12:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

Can you tell that to jukebox, who keeps touting Obama's grades, compared with those of McCain, as the Great Indicator of Smartitude?


There are lots of ways to know that Obama is smart. The fact that he was magna at HLS is just one of them. Anyway, "touting Obama's grades" is one of the proper ways of responding to the crew that insists Obama had nothing going for him except AA. AA didn't get him his grades, because HLS uses blind grading.

And yes, it is relevant to notice that McCain graduated at the bottom of his class. Your observation that this may have been a result of bad behavior is not terribly comforting. And we're still waiting to hear reasons to believe that McCain's many incoherent statements are not an accurate reflection of the way his brain works. At least at his current age, if not always.

Do you have a link? I don't think I've seen it. [McCain's college transcript]


No one else (in the general public) has seen it either. That was my point. Sorry I wasn't more clear about this.

A DUMB Rockefeller?

What is this world coming to?


A society where advancement is based on inheritance and privilege, rather than merit. One sign of this is lots of people who are rich, powerful, and not too swift. Remind you of anyone in Washington besides Rockefeller?

Inheritance taxes tend to mitigate this problem, so it's no surprise that the rich-powerful-dumb group is trying to eliminate them.
8.1.2008 12:23am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lm:

John Chapman … Randy Barnett


Nicely done. But you can't outwit smokey, because he knows that those guys were just temporarily infiltrated by the George Soros mind-control machine. Surely you know Soros has one, right? He used it to get Maliki to endorse Obama. He used it to get McCain to make a fool of himself by saying that the surge started before the surge started. Etc. I'm sure you can think of lots of other examples of this unseen hand influencing events and helping the terrorists. A lot of people don't know this. Spread the word.
8.1.2008 12:41am
Smokey:
Mahan Atma:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't exams graded blindly at HLS?

If so, how do you attribute his top-10% grades at HLS to AA?
You're so cute. In a few months, Santa will come down the chimney and give you presents!

jukeboxgrad, re: releasing grades:
Why should Obama do what Bush did not do?
IOW, they're both exactly the same? Obama = Bush. [Make that Bush Lite].

And re flying A-6's:
This comment (or at least many close variations) was addressed in the other thread.
What other thread? I don't live to comment like some folks do. And how was your [long] vacation? More to the point, did you serve? Where and when? What unit? Inquiring minds want to know.

As for trad and anon's desperately flailing post: heh. Read my post of 7.31.2008 7:09pm. Don't be a dope. It's embarrassing for you.
8.1.2008 12:44am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"You're so cute. In a few months, Santa will come down the chimney and give you presents!"


Yes, how naive of me to think that a black man could do well at Harvard on the basis of hard work and intelligence...
8.1.2008 1:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

You're so cute. In a few months, Santa will come down the chimney and give you presents!


Hopefully you'll humor me and explain what your point is. Maybe I don't get it because I don't believe in Santa.

IOW, they're both exactly the same? Obama = Bush. [Make that Bush Lite].


They are the same in the way that matters: they were (or are) presidential candidates. Therefore you should explain why one is obligated to release transcripts and the other was not.

What other thread?


The fighter-pilot question came up in this thread when I mentioned it, here. If you can master the art of scrolling up, you can even discover why I mentioned it. And when I mentioned it, I cited another thread, here.

Whatever you do, don't read the posts in this thread before you comment in this thread. If you did, it might impair your ability to look like a fool.

I don't live to comment like some folks do.


You still managed to post 9 comments in less than 6 hours. Thank goodness you don't "live to comment!"

More to the point, did you serve?


That question is more to the point? Really? When you have a chance, let us in on the secret and tell us what your "point" is.

Read my post of 7.31.2008 7:09pm.


I did. That's the one where you claim Clarence Thomas didn't benefit from AA. Here's another chance to answer the question you already ducked: how do you know?
8.1.2008 1:14am
PC:
I will not believe anything about these claims of Obama's so called intelligence until we see his report card from 9th grade gym class. What does Obama have to hide?
8.1.2008 1:42am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

an A-6 Intruder gets down and dirty, low and slow to drop its ordinance [sic], and that's how McCain was shot down


No, that's not how McCain was shot down. When he was shot down, he was "in a dive at about 4,500 feet," with an airspeed of about 500 knots. That's not "low and slow."

And McCain did not fly the A-6.

It's surprising that you and your pal ace are ignorant about these facts, especially considering how much time you probably spend reading stuff like this. But your mutual ignorance is one more sign that you didn't read the other thread where this was discussed.

You also might want to learn about the difference between 'ordinance' and 'ordnance.'
8.1.2008 5:44am
Smokey:
Well, it's clear that a certain chickenhawk never served in the military. Going in at a few thousand feet against rapid fire 23 mm radar guided anti-aircraft cannon and SAM missiles every day takes brass balls.

Pilots in WWII flew 25 missions, then rotated back to the States. In Viet Nam, the minimum was 100 missions. Rockefeller mendaciously stated for the record that John McCain spent his time cruising at 35,000 feet, dropping laser-guided bombs - which hadn't been invented at the time - on defenseless women and children [missing all the military age men like the rest of the American warmongers].

Criticizing McCain for placing low in his class at Annapolis [where graduates of any class ranking emerge more admirable people with more stand-up character than most HLC grads, present company excluded], or for not releasing his SF-180, that's fair game. Go for it. I'd like to see McCain's 180 myself.

But when someone disparages a candidate for having risked their neck every day on behalf of our country, while at the time trying to defend their pretty boy who tucked his tail between his legs rather than serve [just like the odious military critic Rockefeller], it gets people to start thinking about exactly what Odumbo has actually accomplished on his own. Yeah, what would that be? "Community organizer?" Pf-f-ft.

Arguing the military angle against McCain looks like Barney Fife getting ready to plug himself in the foot with his only bullet. Smarter folks would change the subject.
8.1.2008 7:41am
Smokey:
jbg:
"And McCain did not fly the A-6."
John McCain flew the A6-E Intruder in The United States Navy.
8.1.2008 7:46am
Brian Mac:

Evidence Now Clear That Barack Obama Was Not Widely Vetted for a Tenured Offer at Chicago.

Perhaps explaning McCain's recent surge in both the polls and at Intrade?
8.1.2008 8:33am
HLS Grad:
Jukeboxgrad:

On your question about my earlier observation that Obama is apparently one of the few Harvard Law Review editors never to publish anything in the Review (you responded: "You are not in a position to claim that Obama did not publish unsigned material in HLR. HLR includes lots of unsigned material. Did you really not know that?").

I know all about the student notes being unsigned. So only Obama (and, I guess, others on the Review) would know for sure whether he published anything. On his apparently not publishing anything, I'm relying on the statement of Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, quoted in June in Politico, that Obama published nothing while on the Review. In response, former Review president Susan Estrich suggested this might be a lie -- that Obama must have published something. Attorney and blogger William Dwyer had a long, detailed post with the links, covering the amazing fact that Obama won the popularity contest to be president of the Review apparently without publishing anything (a result which would be inconceivable at other Reviews, which are more merit based in the selection of the top editor), here.

For some interesting speculation as to what Obama might actually have published as an unsigned note back in 1990-91 which today, running for president, he might not want to admit having written, see the "Obama's Dirty Dozen" comment on Above the Law, here. For more, just Google "Obama Law Review publish."

Bottom line seems to be either: (1) Obama lacked the ability and work ethic to publish anything while on the Review; or (2) Obama published something (probably one of the controversial "Dirty Dozen" pieces) and is having his campaign people deny it, even after Estrich's observation that he must have published something. Either way, seems to reflect poorly on Obama (I can see the attack ad now: Lazy? Or a liar?)

Hey, I'd still like to see Obama's answer to the Iraq question on Prof. Tribe's 1990 con law exam!
8.1.2008 9:28am
The Ace (mail):
Oh yeah, that's a relevant skill for being president...

Um, I never said it was.

But don't worry, Obama is still a chickenhawk.
8.1.2008 9:48am
The Ace (mail):
Likewise, the fact that some journalist shares your beliefs about Obama is not proof that your beliefs are correct.

Likewise, you have nothing that you can say refuting my claim. Which of course is correct.
8.1.2008 9:50am
The Ace (mail):
When the 'liberal' media repeatedly calls McCain a fighter pilot, even though that's not what he was, it doesn't just prove that they are ignorant. It proves that they are not working very hard to examine him closely and harshly.

No, it does not prove any such thing.

Note you didn't answer my questions. Why do you think that is?

But they would, if they were truly 'liberal.'

So Rockefeller &Clark aren't liberal now?

Good grief, you can't even keep up with your own silly bluster.
8.1.2008 9:55am
The Ace (mail):
Your attempt to prove that Obama is "obsessed with himself" consists mostly of quoting other people just like you, who claim Obama is obsessed with himself while offering little or no evidence

Um, liberal journalists are not "just like me."

His wife is not "just like me."

Obama himself is not "just like me."

All were quoted.

You are a dishonest hack and moral cretin.
8.1.2008 10:00am
The Ace (mail):
And McCain did not fly the A-6.

Tell us general, what did he fly?

Because the A-4E Skyhawk is designated a fighter-bomber so perhaps that is why he's been called a "fighter pilot" huh?
8.1.2008 10:01am
The Ace (mail):
And McCain did?

I love this. So, you can't in any way defend Obama's lack of real world experiences so what do you do? Flap your arms about someone else.

Added to the fact that McCain flew in the navy, which takes obvious talent. As you can see by my post, I was questioning the idea that Obama has some great talent.

No go ahead and point out McCain can't be that talented because he got shot down or some other such snark as you go on pretending you "support" the troops.
8.1.2008 10:08am
Brian Mac:
Jukeboxgrad:

The very act of running for President is evidence of narcissism.
8.1.2008 10:08am
The Ace (mail):
One problem with McCain and his lack of prior executive experience (aside from 13 months 30 years ago) is a very real question about the degree to which he has been vetted for national office

Laugh out loud funny jokebox.

Why do you think you typed "executive" experience there when the post you were responding to did not have that word?

You are so intellectually dishonest it is appalling.
8.1.2008 10:10am
The Ace (mail):
Although you falsely claimed to have quoted from the bill, you never once quoted text from the bill (aside from the bill's title). You just cited people talking about the bill, as if you didn't understand that this is no substitute for quoting from the bill.

Love the fact you're still harping on this.
Is the title of the bill considered the text? Yes.
Did I misrepresent the bill? No.

Why are you playing semantic games? Because you could not, and still can not, address the substantive criticisms of Obama's incoherenet positions.

Keep flapping your arms. That is all you are. A flapper.
8.1.2008 10:12am
The Ace (mail):
You should show your proof for the "lied about" part.

Obama lied, clearly.
He favored the DC handgun ban, and still favors the one in Chicago, and after Heller claimed "The Supreme Court has now endorsed that [my] view"

I can only imagine if Obama was a candidate in 1992 and campaigned in Germany as he did recently. He would have claimed he was always a cold warrior then in the next breath said there had never been a Berlin Wall anyway.
8.1.2008 10:17am
The Ace (mail):
But apparently from some of the comments here, flying an A-6 over Hanoi wasn't quite as dangerous as our brave HE-RO flying through that tough faculty opposition toward a tenured job.

Smokey, don't worry, Obama wore a bomber jacket!!!


Right from the start, when he arrived in the fall of 1988 at the age of 27, Obama seemed different. With his leather bomber jacket, tattered jeans, and pack of cigarettes, he was older and appeared less starchy than many of his fresh-faced classmates newly arrived from the Ivy League.


They make him sound like the black Fonze.

Another hard hitting piece there. This guy is racking up the "negative" press!
8.1.2008 10:22am
byomtov (mail):
Or rather that when a particular person seems to have opportunities handed to him by fawning admirers without the requisite work effort or level of achievement that usually precedes them, there's a pretty good chance that he's not getting them on merit.

Coming from a Bush fan this is truly rich. Do those who question every aspect of Obama's biography, including even his place of birth, realize how petty, obsessive and hate-filled they sound?

And what is the big deal about miscommunication between the dean, the faculty and the NYT?
8.1.2008 11:03am
The Ace (mail):
Do those who question every aspect of Obama's biography, including even his place of birth, realize how petty, obsessive and hate-filled they sound?

Coming from the crowd who cheered on the release of fake TANG memos, believes Bush/Cheney orchestrated 9/11, flocked to Michael Moore's silly F-911 movie in droves and accepted every allegation as fact without any sort of critical analysis, and calls Bush a "chimp" no less.

this is truly rich

Indeed.
8.1.2008 11:12am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Departing for a moment from my usual FIFO approach. I'll have more to say later (unless our hosts close the thread prematurely). But at the moment I had to share the following amusement.

smokey:

jbg:

"And McCain did not fly the A-6."


John McCain flew the A6-E Intruder in The United States Navy.


Did you actually read the page you're pointing to? It's not talking about John. It's talking about his son, Doug.

That's why the link address is this: http://www.johnmccain.com/about/mccainchildren.htm

And that's why the page has the following large heading: "About The McCain Family."

And that's why the relevant paragraph (the paragraph containing the text you cited) has the following small heading: "Doug." And that's why that paragraph begins as follows:

Doug McCain has been a pilot with American Airlines since 1990. He currently flies as a First Officer on the Boeing 777 out of JFK International Airport. Prior to American Airlines, he flew the A6-E Intruder in The United States Navy.


Is your reading comprehension really that poor? Or maybe you're just extremely dishonest. Both, maybe?
8.1.2008 11:13am
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Glad folks are having fun chewing on this bone!
Best,
Ben
8.1.2008 11:38am
MartyA:
I never never questioned the concept of "fighter pilot." I guess, technically, an A-6 is not a "fighter." I've always thought, however, take the key skill/risk constructs were related to taking off from and landing on an aircraft carrier at sea.
And, we all know the visceral hatred those ultra-leftists among you have for folks who land on aircraft carriers at sea.
8.1.2008 11:42am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hls grad:

I'm relying on the statement of Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, quoted in June in Politico


LaBolt was not "quoted" in Politico. He was paraphrased, badly. Is it really true that you are an "HLS Grad" and you do not understand the difference? And the importance of the difference?

In response, former Review president Susan Estrich suggested this might be a lie


Uh, not exactly. Hint: show us the actual quote of what Estrich actually said.

Attorney and blogger William Dwyer had a long, detailed post with the links


Dyer, not Dwyer. And what he wrote was pure baloney. His entire analysis is based on his assumption that HLR operates the same way as the law review at the law school attended by Dyer. Trouble is, it doesn't. Did Dyer lift a finger to find out? Apparently not. Your choice here is to either pay attention to a false assumption made by a partisan hack, or to pay attention to Orin Kerr:

HLR does not have signed student works, for Presidents or others.


Dyer didn't bother to find that out. Neither did you. Even though there are lots of ways to find out. Here's one: look at the HLR covers that I referenced here. Dyer knows about those covers, because he referenced them in his blog post.

covering the amazing fact that Obama won the popularity contest to be president of the Review apparently without publishing anything


It seems to be the case that most or all other HLR presidents also "won the popularity contest to be president of the Review apparently without publishing anything." What an "amazing fact!"

a result which would be inconceivable at other Reviews, which are more merit based in the selection of the top editor


Please show your evidence that other reviews "are more merit based in the selection of the top editor."

Until you just mentioned it, I didn't know that Dyer had put this baloney on his own blog. What I did know is that he showed up at VC to post that baloney. I responded to him, here.

If you follow the rest of that thread, you'll notice seven more posts from Dyer. This is how many of those posts make even a pretense of a substantive response to the problems I pointed out: zero.

Instead, he repeated his baloney in another thread, here. I reminded him, here, that his baloney was still baloney. Follow the rest of the thread and see if you can find a place where he makes a substantive response.

But then one of Dyer's ideological twins raises the same baloney again, in another thread, here. So I pointed out, again, that the baloney was still baloney.

Follow the rest of that thread and see if you can find a place where Dyer's ideological twin makes a substantive response.

For some interesting speculation


The comment you're pointing to includes this key statement:

the first never to publish anything in the journal he ran


Where is the proof regarding what other HLR presidents published in HLR? Answer: none is presented. In other words, the person making the statement is a pure hack, just like Dyer, Nieporent and you.

Obama published something (probably one of the controversial "Dirty Dozen" pieces) and is having his campaign people deny it


Show us the quote from "his campaign people" stating that Obama never submitted unsigned material to HLR.

Either way, seems to reflect poorly on Obama


Either way, seems to reflect poorly on Dyer, Nieporent and you. All people who are allegedly educated enough to know better.
8.1.2008 12:22pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Barack Obama did not publish in HLR. We know that. So Jukeboxgrad keeps throwing around the words "signed" and "unsigned" to change the claims people made, and then calling them a liar based on the claims that he reworded to say something different. There's no point in discussing it with him, since he doesn't argue in good faith.

Show us the quote from "his campaign people" stating that Obama never submitted unsigned material to HLR.
Nobody said "submitted." They said published. And since the campaign person said he didn't publish, "unsigned" is obviously subsumed within that category.

Also, you could ask Obama himself, if you weren't too busy calling people liars.
8.1.2008 12:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
This HLR subplot is confusing, mostly because certain people are lying. So let's review some basic facts and observations.

- HLR publishes two kinds of material: signed and unsigned. The former is usually in the form of what are called 'articles' or 'commentaries' or 'book reviews.' The latter is usually in the form of what are called 'notes.'

- HLR does not publish signed material by HLS students. Material provided by HLS students is published on an unsigned basis. One way we know this is that Orin Kerr said so:

HLR does not have signed student works, for Presidents or others.


- The covers of HLR while Obama was president are here (if they look tiny, click on them and they should enlarge). It's easy to see the different kinds of material. For example, the very first cover lists one article, three notes, two commentaries, and two book reviews.

- For the articles, commentaries and book reviews, the author is indicated. In other words, these items are signed. For the notes, no author is indicated. In other words, these items are unsigned.

- If you look at all the covers, you'll see the names of 36 authors. This is how many times Obama's name appears: zero. Why? Because HLR does not publish signed material by HLS students. Material provided by HLS students is published on an unsigned basis.

- Along with the covers, you can also see a masthead, listing the names of the 80 members of HLR, at the time. This is how much overlap there is, between the names of authors and the names of HLR members: none. Why? Because HLR does not publish signed material by HLS students. Material provided by HLS students is published on an unsigned basis.

- A statement by the Obama campaign has been paraphrased as indicating that "Obama didn't write any articles for the Review." This is how much this statement tells us, that we didn't already know: nothing. Why? Because articles in HLR are signed, and HLR does not publish signed material by HLS students. Material provided by HLS students is published on an unsigned basis. In other words, even before Politico posted a paraphase of something said by the Obama campaign, we already knew that "Obama didn't write any articles for the Review."

OK, we know that Obama did not publish signed material in HLR. We also know that this is completely normal, because HLR does not publish signed material by HLS students. However, this leaves the following question: did Obama publish unsigned material (of his own) in HLR? Answer: we don't know.

Nevertheless, even though we don't know whether or not Obama published unsigned material (of his own) in HLR, wretched partisan hacks like Dyer are running headlines like this:

Why didn't Obama publish anything in the law journal he edited?


That headline, and Dyer's article, obscures two key facts:

- Obama may have published unsigned material (of his own) in HLR. Therefore it's incorrect to claim, as if it's a known fact, that "Obama [didn't] publish anything in the law journal he edited."

- HLR does not publish signed material by HLS students. Therefore it is perfectly normal that Obama did not publish signed material (of his own) in HLR. Nevertheless, Dyer spends about 2,000 words pontificating about his own experience in law school (where the law review apparently did publish signed material by students, unlike HLR), as if it's safe to assume that HLR operates the same way. Trouble is, it doesn't.

Dyer and Nieporent are obviously unscrupulous partisan hacks, and not just people who are making innocent mistakes. We know this because of the way they reacted when confronted with these issues. All the links which document this can be found slightly upthread.
8.1.2008 1:21pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

Barack Obama did not publish in HLR. We know that.


Really? Please show your proof that Obama did not publish an unsigned note (of his own) in HLR.

So Jukeboxgrad keeps throwing around the words "signed" and "unsigned"


English translation: 'damn you for pointing out this exceedingly relevant and simple distinction, which I'm trying hard to obscure.'

to change the claims people made


Please show your proof that I "change[d] the claims people made"

then calling them a liar based on the claims that he reworded to say something different


Please show your proof that I "reworded … claims … to say something different"

Nobody said "submitted." They said published.


Nice job making a fuss about absolutely nothing. When I say "submitted," I mean 'submitted successfully.' I want to avoid saying this: 'we don't know if Obama published unsigned material.' That statement invites confusion. Why? Because he obviously did publish unsigned material: material submitted by other students. So that's why I used the word 'submitted' instead of 'published' (in the statement of mine that you cited). In other words, there was nothing underhanded about my use of that word.

Anyway, the potential confusion I just described is the reason I now say it this way: we don't know whether or not Obama published unsigned material (of his own) in HLR. Because he did indeed publish unsigned material submitted by other students. Duh. But we don't know if he submitted (and published) unsigned material of his own.

since the campaign person said he didn't publish, "unsigned" is obviously subsumed within that category


There you go again, trying to distort the record. You and Dyer have both falsely stated that LaBolt was quoted. He wasn't. He was paraphrased, in a sloppy, ambiguous manner. So you don't know what "the campaign person said." And you're even distorting the paraphrase. The paraphrase does not say "he didn't publish." It says "Obama didn't write any articles for the Review." (Emphasis added.)

Please continue to pretend that you don't know that an unsigned student note would definitely not be described as an "article." Please review the HLR covers if you're still confused about this. So an unsigned student note is definitely not "subsumed within that category."

you could ask Obama himself


If you think asking him is a good idea, that's exactly what you should have done before you started pretending that you knew for a fact something you didn't know for a fact. And you are persisting in that pretense.

And if I wanted to ask a candidate for something, I would ask McCain for his SF-180. It's infinitely more relevant, especially because so little is known about the only executive experience McCain ever had (and which he completely omitted from his official campaign bio on his web site).
8.1.2008 2:00pm
ejo:
can I channel or translate jbg for a moment-McCain is a moron because he served in the military and fought for his country. the treatment he endured and the crippling injuries he suffered were deserved because he fought for his country. obama, well, he has a little more experience in life than the suckers who joined the service or fought for their country. he went to ivy league schools, worked for the dem machine in chicago and then went to springfield to vote the way Emil Jones (do you know who he is, jbg) told him to vote. never a leader, always a follower and party guy.
8.1.2008 2:25pm
James Lindgren (mail):
In an earlier post, I addressed whether Obama published an unsigned note or comment in the HLR.

The faculty member at Chicago who was pushing hardest for an UNTENURED offer for Obama in the mid-1990s was asked by another faculty member if Obama had published an unsigned note. He replied: not that I know of.

I think we can safely assume that he didn't.
8.1.2008 2:27pm
Smokey:
David M. Nieporent:
Jukeboxgrad keeps throwing around the words "signed" and "unsigned" to change the claims people made, and then calling them a liar based on the claims that he reworded to say something different. There's no point in discussing it with him, since he doesn't argue in good faith.
So true.

And may I point out that Mr. Nieporent is always polite, on point, reasonable, and he never calls those with different opinions a "liar" [the vast majority of posters don't, either]. It's no wonder jbg was given a lengthy time out. jbg constantly calls others who don't agree with him "liars," while he feverishly combs through old VC threads to find minor statements that nobody bothers to read [at least I skip over them]. I mean, get a life. Or some friends, a hobby, something.

There's no point in discussing it with him, since he doesn't argue in good faith.

Agreed, so I'm on to other things.
8.1.2008 2:34pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"There's no point in discussing it with him, since he doesn't argue in good faith."


Smokey:

"So true."


Smokey, I and others here repeatedly pointed out to you that Obama's grades at HLS were based on blindly-graded exams, making AA impossible. Your only response to this was to toss out a personal insult. (See "Santa Claus" remark.)

You have no claim to argument in good faith.
8.1.2008 2:59pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
I guess that graduating top 12 or 13 percent at Harvard Law School by a child of a single mother who was the first generation at the school is something for which we are to be suspect about the achievement because of new fashion AA.

But, graduating with a father and grandfather who were Admirals near the bottom of the Naval Academy after passing an exam at the last minute the morning after being out partying until six am is of course no evidence of old fashion AA (you know the kind where blacks were not admitted or maybe the one in a blue moon was admitted or the admiral son's gets a little thumb on the scale).

You guys are having fun gnawing on this bone! The Obama obsessiveness is really quite amazing to watch.

Best,
Ben
8.1.2008 3:26pm
ejo:
well, we do have a few other things to judge McCain on. If Obama was as brilliant as everyone claims, why was he a follower in Illinois, not a leader. If you, BD, can name one time that he bucked the dem leadership in Illinois on any issue, I would like to hear about it. I live here and can't recall any-just a good loyal follower. The Obama worshippers are the ones obsessed about his academic achievements, whatever they were, mainly because they have nothing else to point to in his life.
8.1.2008 3:38pm
ejo:
of course, maybe some brilliant poster like jbg can point to how McCain used that admiral thumb on the scale you mentioned to avoid doing his duty in the military and then used it to get out of a prison camp before his colleagues (oh, wait, he didn't).
8.1.2008 3:40pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
james:

In an earlier post, I addressed whether Obama published an unsigned note or comment in the HLR.


I think you are making reference to something you said within the last day or two, here:

One additional issue that has been raised in comments on the Volokh Conspiracy is whether Barack Obama published an unsigned student note or comment when he was on the Harvard Law Review. Although I was unable to get a definitive answer, one faculty member told me that he had asked another faculty member close to Obama whether Obama had published such a note or comment; the faculty member close to Obama replied that he was not aware of any.


Emphasis added.

I think we can safely assume that he didn't


I respect your opinion, but I disagree. In the absence of "a definitive answer," I don't think it's something we can "safely assume." I can imagine various reasons why that faculty member "was not aware of any," even if they existed. What if Obama felt that the thing (or things) he wrote would offend someone at Chicago? Wouldn't he then omit mentioning them?

More broadly, I wonder what the culture is regarding unsigned notes. Is it really so universal for the authors to later take credit? That seems to be what you're implying. But that seems odd to me; the very nature of an unsigned item means that someone taking credit might be seen as doing so falsely. I think this might create an incentive to avoid taking credit at all.

I also think that it's in the nature of an unsigned student note that it might be collaborative, with several unnamed authors. This complicates the question of taking credit. In other words, it seems to be entirely possible that Obama was a major or minor collaborator on one or more notes (especially since he was president), but didn't want to (and still doesn't want to) get into this messy area of sorting out how much credit is due him, as compared to the others.

In any case, Dyer, Nieporent et al made various definitive statements on this subject prior to the time that you shared your anecdote (which you did two days ago, at most; it's a little hard to tell for sure because your post was updated). And even now that we have the benefit of your anecdote, we are still not in a position to make a definitive statement. In other words, it is still not known for a fact that "he didn't."

In my opinion, someone who pretends to know for a fact something that is not actually known for a fact is this: a liar. Not to mention the various smaller lies that were told along the way (like the idea that LaBolt was "quoted," even though he wasn't).
8.1.2008 3:42pm
HLS Grad:
Response to attacks of jukeboxgrad

In response to my post of 8:28 a.m. today, jukeboxgrad has made several rambling posts claiming that I and others (especially attorney William Dyer, who apparently has covered Obama's Law Review work in comments on this blog, though I haven't looked up the links) don't know what we're talking about. Some very quick responses:

1. Actually, I'm a former Harvard Law Review editor myself, though a few years removed from Obama's tenure, so I don't have knowledge of what Obama did or didn't write. My former work on the Review is a main reason I'm so struck by the indications that Obama wrote NOTHING while on the Review, even though he was president. Before hearing of this, I never heard of anyone on the Review (much less the president) writing NOTHING. Over the weekend I'll try to dig out a copy of the "Greenbook" (the Review's procedures manual), which I think I have somewhere, and provide a quote or two about editors' rights to publish multiple pieces in the Review during their two years.

2. Jukeboxgrad may have a point that possibly I overread the statement of Obama's campaign spokesman summarized (not quoted) in Politico. It said Obama didn't write an "article." Well, no student does. Lindgren persuasively suggests, based on his U. Chi. contacts, that Obama didn't write a "note," either. But others suggest he wrote something -- that would mean a case comment, book note, or other minor piece. If Obama did write something, it might be on the "Obama's Dirty Dozen" list to which I linked (here it is again). At least some of the more minor pieces on that list, e.g., the "smokers are psycho" piece, would be embarrassing for Obama to admit having written.

3. Assuming Obama didn't publish a note, how did he satisfy his 3rd year paper obligation? Who was his 3rd year paper adviser? One reason pretty much every editor publishes a note in the Law Review (in addition to one or more other pieces) is the 3rd year paper requirement -- do your 3rd year paper, then polish it up and publish it to gain an additional credential, with relatively little extra work involved. If Obama didn't publish a note, maybe that suggests a friendly faculty member let him skate on the requirement, and satisfy the requirement with something which wouldn't be adequate for someone lacking such an "in" with a faculty member. That is, maybe Obama didn't publish a note because he didn't HAVE a 3rd year paper to polish up and publish. That would involve something much worse than academic laziness (not making the effort to publishing anything in the Review, and get by doing as little as possible); if Obama leaned on a compliant faculty member to avoid writing a serious 3L paper, that might have involved academic misconduct. I hasten to add that I have no knowledge of any such misconduct, but Obama's evident failure the publish a note, which is quite unusual for Review editors, suggests this as at least a possibility.

4. It seems like people have been trying to get a straight answer from the Obama campaign on what, exactly, if anything he published on the Review, as far back as February. See here. I hope some journalists follow up on this -- and, in particular, press Obama's people on whether the reason he didn't publish a note is that a friendly faculty member (maybe Tribe?) in effect waived the 3rd year paper requirement for Obama.
8.1.2008 4:21pm
LM (mail):
Benjamin Davis:

I guess that graduating top 12 or 13 percent at Harvard Law School by a child of a single mother who was the first generation at the school is something for which we are to be suspect about the achievement because of new fashion AA.

They're just afraid Barack will be the dumbest HLS magna cum laude, President of the Law Review ever elected POTUS. And he would be. Of course he'd also be the smartest.

In fact, the only other HLS alum POTUS was Rutherford B. Hayes, who graduated in 1845. We're still waiting for him to release his transcript and LSAT's.
8.1.2008 4:25pm