Sunday, January 25, 2009


I've been thinking about Obama again since the inaguration, and a couple of things occur to me. First off - he is way more of a badass than he is given credit for. Over at 3 Quarks Daily Evert Cilliers writes:
There was a much-revered Civil Rights matron and Illinois State Senator, Alice Palmer, who decided to run for Congress, so Obama figured he could run for her open State Senate seat. But she lost her Congressional race, and wanted to keep her safe seat. The community’s leaders asked Obama to step aside. The brash newcomer refused. He sent his aides to the courthouse to examine the signatures for her, to see if enough of them could be disallowed to knock her off the ballot. A few fake signatures for her were found, as well as for all his opponents, so they were all knocked off; he won his seat unopposed. The Chicago way – bringing a gun to a knife fight.
So he's not the perpetually positive, perpetually nice guy he is portrayed as. It's can be a little bit disappointing to discover you had the wrong impression of somebody, though I think this tidbit is actually a good thing. A little bit of ruthlessness can be awfully useful.

The other thing that occurred to me is that Barack Obama spent 12 years teaching constitutional law. Holy shit. When's the last time we had a president with that kind of time spent thinking about and studying the constitution? Not Dubya, certainly. Not Clinton, though he had a law degree. In fact, it looks like, before Clinton, the last president who had a law degree was Ford, and Nixon before him.

So from 1977 to the end of 2008, we had only one president with a law degree - Bill Clinton, though even he didn't have any sort of specialization in constitutional law.

How amazing will it be to have a president who can be considered an expert on the constitution. And how awful is it that this is something unusual?

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