One of the funny things about Barack Obama is that his supporters seem to think that he is somehow different from the usual politician, whereas his record, and his own statements, demonstrate that if he differs from the average politician, it is only in being more cynical. This is one of the points that emerge from the new biography of Obama by Edward Klein, The Amateur. I haven’t yet read the book, but the Daily Mail has some excerpts. The Mail highlights the claim that Michelle Obama was ready to leave Barack, and had divorce papers prepared, after he foolishly challenged Bobby Rush in a Democratic primary and got clobbered. I don’t know anything about Barack and Michelle’s relationship, and don’t care much, either.
But this story is interesting for what it shows about Obama’s view of practical politics:
He also had a run-in with Steven Rogers, a wealthy businessman who became the Gund Family Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Early in his campaign for the U.S. Senate he gave Mr Obama $3,000 and arranged for thousands more dollars to be donated to him on one condition: he come and speak at the school when he got elected.
After becoming a Senator Mr Obama is said to have gone back on his offer because he was too busy and told Mr Rogers: ‘Come on man, you should know better when politicians make promises’.
In a furious tirade Mr Rogers screamed at him: ‘You’re a dirty rotten m*****f*****. What kind of s*** are you trying to pull? F*** you, you big-eared m*****f*****.’
A year later Mr Obama finally showed up but by then Mr Rogers’ had all but written him off as a friend.
That strikes me as a wonderfully revealing anecdote. “Come on, man. You should know better when politicians make promises.” Have we ever seen a politician as cynical as Barack Obama? I can’t think of one offhand. Compared to Obama, Richard Nixon was an idealist.