02 October 2012

Historians Anonymous

My, my, my how things have changed.


Barack Obama has the potential to be that kind of president. He has the varied background of a global citizen: his father was African, his stepfather Indonesian, his mother worked in the civil rights movement, and he spent several years of his childhood overseas. As an adult, he has been a community organizer [Really?], a law professor, and a successful politician - both at the state and national level. These experiences have given him an acute awareness of the inequalities of race and class, while also equipping him to speak beyond them.

. . . I spoke to one of the historians who attended all three of the dinners. We met in a restaurant where we were unlikely to be seen, and our conversation, which lasted for nearly two hours, was conducted under the condition of anonymity. 

I wanted to know how this liberal historian, who had once drunk the Obama Kool-Aid, matched the president’s promise with his performance. By this time, most of Mr. Obama’s supporters were puzzled by the sense of disconnect between the sharply focused presidential candidate of 2008 and the dazed and confused president of the past three years. The satirical TV show "The Onion News Network" had broadcast a faux story that the real Barack Obama had been kidnapped just hours after the election and replaced by an imposter.

“There’s no doubt that Obama has turned out to be a major enigma and disappointment,” the historian told me. “He waged such a brilliant campaign, first against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and then against John McCain in the general election. For a long time, I found it hard to understand why he couldn’t translate his political savvy into effective governance . . . Obama might not have the place in history he so eagerly covets. Instead of ranking with FDR and Reagan and other giants, it seems more likely that he will be a case-study in presidential failure like Jimmy Carter."

Now, here's my question. In the first link, historians were proud to endorse Barack Obama in 2008 but now, apparently, there is at least one historian who fears being publicly identified. Does he represent more of this type of fear? Why is this?

A: He's humble and doesn't want all the accolades for his new insight (which many of us had 4 years ago).
B: He's shy and is afraid he'd stutter if interviewed live on camera.
C: He's fearful of reprisals from his, "free-thinking, objective, open-minded, freedom loving" colleagues.

Remember, it's sociology, not history.


BorderRuffian said...



Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Of course.

13thBama said...

"These experiences have given him an acute awareness of the inequalities of race and class, while also equipping him to speak beyond them."

Where did he feel these? At Harvard? You will forgive me if I scoff at that?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

As I've said numerous times since 2008, that endorsement is truly the gift that keeps on giving. It is one of the most immature and vapid pieces of writing I've ever read. Sounds like something a sophomore civics class student would write. It is on the one hand, Messianic and, on the other, embarrassing. And if I were grading it, they'd get an F.