May 24, 2012President Barack Hussein Obama won on a fluke.
When Obama set out to run in 2007, everybody figured that he was setting up for the run in 2012, or a vice presidential bid. Then he surprised Hillary Clinton, the heir apparent, and Johnny Reid Edwards, the challenger apparent, by winning Iowa. And because of the absurd way we nominate and elect presidents, the rest is history.
Because the press was behind Obama 100 percent, no vetting was done of him. It wasn't until 2011, when Donald Trump starting making a lot of noise about his birth certificate, that Obama even bothered to release it. No matter what you believe about where Obama was born, it is interesting that he would choose to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys when he could have made the entire issue go away for the price of a 44-cent stamp. What did he have to gain by not releasing his birth certificate? It is an example of questionable judgment if nothing else.
It is also fascinating that no one in the national press corps even bothered to look up the biography that Obama had listed with his publisher right up until 2007. Just because a book promo says that Obama was born in Kenya doesn't mean that it is true. It is far more likely an exaggeration to sell books. And unless you happen to be running for president it really doesn't mean much. Kind of like Edwards: Men have affairs all the time, and unless you happen to be running for president it is unlikely acquaintances would give you close to $1 million to hide your mistress from the public and your wife.
Things change for most people when they run for president. Look at Sen. John Kerry. People who served with him in Vietnam questioned the validity of the stories he told about his service, and those challenges gained a lot of traction with the general public.
With Obama the opposite happened. The press turned a blind eye toward his past, toward his lack of accomplishments, toward his extremely spotty resume, drug use, and everything else. We knew that at Yale, former President George Walker Bush had a slightly better grade point average than Kerry when the two were running against each other. We have no idea if Obama passed a class at Occidental College or Columbia University, but we assume he did because he went to Harvard Law School. Did he get in any of those schools by claiming to be a foreign student, like in his publisher's biography? It is certainly possible. It once again doesn't mean that he is foreign, but it would be an interesting way to go from Occidental to Harvard Law. And in this world, many students think it's perfectly acceptable to fudge a little on their applications, once again unless you happen to be running for president.
There is no doubt that Obama was not born in Indonesia, so it has nothing to do with his birth certificate. But is it possible that Obama at one time had an Indonesian passport. It would be interesting to know. The US recognizes dual citizenship, but it seems we should know more about our president than what is found in one book that someone else wrote and is not an autobiography and not fiction, but is somewhere in between.
It appears that for this election the mainstream media may show a little more curiosity about Obama and exactly how he got where he is today. It's got to be a great story, and it's a story the American people have a right to know.
First on the list should be discovering whether he played freshman or junior varsity basketball at Occidental. The Los Angeles Times reported that he did, and that is a respectable newspaper that you would expect to have some basis for including that fact.
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The North Carolina Republican Party finds itself in uncharted waters. For over 100 years the Republican Party has been the minority party in North Carolina. For most of the last century the Republican Party had virtually no power in the General Assembly. Now the Republicans control the state House and the state Senate and they have a very good chance of winning the governor's mansion, which will give them control of the state government.
As one might expect the Republicans have big leadership problems. Armies perpetually have to learn that the best generals in peacetime are not the ones you want leading the troops into battle. Peacetime generals are often more concerned with uniforms, marching and following the proper chain of command than they are with killing the enemy. The role of the army changes when there is a war, and the role of the Republican Party is changing now that it is moving into a position of authority.
For a century the role of the Republican Party in North Carolina was to oppose what the Democrats were doing. They could make speeches, write columns, talk people's ears off, but the only way anything was going to become law was if the Democratic leadership said so.
Now it is the Republicans' time to rule. The leaders who were good at throwing grenades into the middle of a Democratic legislative session are not necessarily the ones who know how to govern.
Speaker of the House Thom Tillis is a prime example. He might be great in opposition, but he is doing a miserable job as speaker. First he gave his staff 20 to 30 percent raises when no one else in state government was getting a raise. Then he looked the other way when his chief of staff and housemate was having an affair with a lobbyist. He also ignored another staff member who was having an affair with a lobbyist. Then when the two resigned under pressure he gave them a month's severance pay. In each instance he made the wrong decision.
The Republican leadership of the legislature did the same thing with redistricting that the Democrats have done in the past, and the Republicans complained bitterly about. The redistricting process was done behind closed doors and presented as a done deal to the rank and file. They could either vote for it, or be blacklisted.
This is not the kind of government we need in Raleigh. If the Republicans are going to do everything but pass laws behind closed doors, we might as well have the Democrats in office. If the Republican leadership is going to give big raises to its friends, cover up for them when they misbehave and then give them big bonuses for misbehaving, we might as well get former state House Speaker Jim Black out of retirement because that is only one step away from handing out bags of cash and accepting donations to change legislation. Black was convicted of corruption and served time in federal prison.
Handing out state money to friends is heading down that slippery slope and that is not the way the Republicans need to be going. The Republicans should make a point of having a more open and fair state government. If the Republican leadership continues down this path, the next election could find them back in the minority.
Fortunately a bunch of new Republican legislators were all but elected in the May primary. They still have to go through the November general election but many have no or token opposition. These newbies need to go to Raleigh and clean house, not just of all the Democrats appointed to plum positions but within the Republican leadership. We need new leadership in Raleigh, not just a new party doing the same old things.
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If the trial of Edwards proves anything it is that the United States needs to change its method of electing presidents. It is obvious that we are no longer getting the best and the brightest running for president and we need to change the absurd system where Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have influence out of all proportion to their population.
The Obama versus Sen. John McCain race is a prime example. What kind of choice was that? You had Obama, who was charismatic and a good speaker but had virtually no experience to prepare him to be the most powerful executive in the world, and you had McCain, who even people who like him admit is kind of a nut. McCain seriously wanted Sen. Joe Lieberman be his running mate – the same liberal Democrat who had been Al Gore's running mate. Someone who has been in Washington so long they can't tell a Democrat from a Republican is a problem. And a Republican who thinks he can win with a Democrat as his running mate on the Republican ticket is kind of a nut.
In the Democratic primary in 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton, Edwards and Obama were the front-runners. Obama had virtually no experience as an executive. He had never been mayor, governor or run a business. Clinton's main experience was being the spouse of a governor and then the spouse of a president. She had been in the Senate, but once again most of her experience was meeting heads of state in social situations and then retiring with their spouses while the officials discussed issues.
Then you had the really scary one – Edwards. A successful attorney, Edwards had been elected senator on a fluke. But he was smart enough to realize he had no chance of being reelected and that running for national office was his chance for fame to go with his fortune.
Edwards was having a tawdry affair while his wife was dying of cancer, and he had his personal assistant Andrew Young claim to be the father of his love child when the National Enquirer found out Edwards' girlfriend Rielle Hunter was pregnant.
Now Edwards' defense in court is that he is a despicable man, a slime ball – one of his supporters described him on the radio as "pond scum" – but being a slime ball is not against the law. The jury is trying to decide whether or not in his slimy effort to do whatever it took to hide Hunter and their child from the National Enquirer he broke the law. But no one denies that he is slimy, completely dishonest and self-centered.
This is a man who at one time was the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president. Even worse, he came within a few hundred thousand votes of being vice president.