Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sadly, Obama

Clearly, whether ingrained or affected, Obama is an elitist. To be sure he is the candidate of the elitists. This has been no secret but the Times article (July 30) about his time as a law professor reveals things that perhaps only a law professor can appreciate. For example,"He was also an enigmatic one, often leaving fellow faculty members guessing about his precise views." Or this quote from Richard Epstein, "“His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he’s always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he’s never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings.”

Another excerpt, "Nor could his views be gleaned from scholarship; Mr. Obama has never published any. He was too busy, but also, Mr. Epstein believes, he was unwilling to put his name to anything that could haunt him politically, as Ms. Guinier’s writings had hurt her."

Sound familiar? Yes clearly Obama knew how to play the game. He was careful not to extend himself or to offend anyone even if it means passing on chances to do some good. What the Times did not say is that Obama was, in fact, the model of the type of person most sought by law school hiring committees.

There is one important distinction between Obama and elitist law professors. Even if he was totally calculating he at least had an important goal in mind. For the day to day careful law professor who is similarly careful the ends are hardly as lofty.

I will vote for Obama - don't even know who is on Socialist Workers' Party ticket -- but I don't like it.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this post, as I recently voiced a similar Obama "endorsement;" vexed at having to reinforce elitism with my vote, but certain that the vexation is not enough to overcome what I think is in my family's and my country's - and, indeed, the world's - best interests. I have canvassed on his behalf, I am poll-watching on his behalf, I have defended him in numerous political discussions, but I am simultaneously irked that I am working for a system which will likely undervalue my state law school education. I'll leave you with a quick anecdote: I am a 3L now, and I worked last summer in BigLaw. When they introduced the summer class to the firm at a welcoming event and got to me, the partner playing MC made sure to emphasize my Ivy undergrad credentials (after blurting my law school's name like a trained auctioneer); the other three summers, all from T-14 law schools, had no mention of their UF undergrad degrees. When I asked the hiring partner after I was hired, "why me?," it was clear that without Cornell on my resume I would not have been considered.

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