I cite this a) to save you $14.00 b) for those emailers who suggest Obama couldn't have benefitted from race-based preferences in his rise to the top at Harvard Law. ... P.S.: The affirmative action program at the Law Review is discussed here. ... P.P.S.: Obama did graduate magna cum laude,meaning he got very good grades while running the law review--and as far as I know there was no race preference program in grading. ... P.P.P.S.: Obama may not know whether he was a beneficiary of affirmative action. But there should be people who do know--people on the Harvard admissions department, and the editors of the law review who picked him after his first year. Have they been asked? ...
Backfill: Alert reader B. notes this from Ed Whelan at The Corner two months ago:
I'm reliably informed by one of Obama's colleagues on the board of editors of the Harvard Law Review that Obama told conservative editors that he did not check the box identifying himself as a minority on his law-school applications.
As Whelan notes, there would still have been plenty of ways for admissions officials to figure out Obama's background from his application. ... As Whelan also notes, if Obama had been completely comfortable with affirmative action, wouldn't he have proudly checked the box? ...
Update: Maguire questions the second half of Obama's quote--where he says "those who benefit typically rise to the challenge when given an opportunity." Maguire wants to know if there's actual evidence to back up the "typically." ... 11:46 P.M. link
Maybe, like me, you haven't followed the career of John Doggett, one of the great characters of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings. But you kind of knew he would become a "talk-show host who embraced conservative thought," didn't you? ... [via Instapundit] 10:28 P.M.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it's central to an effective war strategy. The war on Islamist terror, after all, is two-pronged: a function of both hard power and soft power. We have seen the potential of hard power in removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. We have also seen its inherent weaknesses in Iraq, and its profound limitations in winning a long war against radical Islam. The next president has to create a sophisticated and supple blend of soft and hard power to isolate the enemy, to fight where necessary, but also to create an ideological template that works to the West's advantage over the long haul. There is simply no other candidate with the potential of Obama to do this. Which is where his face comes in.
Consider this hypothetical. It's November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America's soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama's face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.