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May 11, 2008
NYT calls Obama a bridge builder (updated)
The New York Times carries water again for Barack Obama, portraying him a s bridge-builder who brings together different groups. The word "pragmatic" appears in the headline and sets the tone for the approving article by Jo Becker and Christopher Drew.
But there are questions that remain unasked. Inconvenient truths, perhaps.
"There are some people who say he's not strong enough on this or that, that he's wishy-washy, that he's trying to have it both ways," said Abner J. Mikva, a former congressman and mentor to Obama. "But he's not looking for how to exclude the people who don't agree with him. He's looking for ways to make the tent as large as possible."
Is that why he voted against Alito and Roberts and was rated the most liberal member of the Senate--that's how he enlargens the tent?
"He became a part-time professor at the University of Chicago Law School."
He was not a professor but a lecturer per the law school's web site. In the world of academia, that's like calling an ensign a captain. [see update below]
"Obama cultivated clients like Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, the influential pastor of an 18,000-member black church and founding president of the Woodlawn Organization."
The article fails to note that the Woodlawn Organization was founded by radical Saul Alinsky And I like how Brazier and Obama met at the elite East Bank Club. So why did Obvama stay at the radical TUCC when he could have joined Brazier's church?
"Today, Obama espouses more centrist views."
See comment #1
"For the better part of a quarter century, Mikva had played in a golfing foursome that included (Emil) Jones."
I guess Jones, leader of the Illinois State Senate,. used to be able to afford to golf regulary but just last week he cried that he needed food stamps because of his low Senate salary.
"Last year, Mikva said he took Obama aside to complain about his endorsement of an alderwoman who had supported Obama in his U.S. Senate run and was the focus of newspaper reports about questionable spending on a $19.5 million cultural center. Mikva said Obama's response was simple: ‘Sometimes you pay your debts.' Early last year, Obama endorsed Daley in his re-election bid, asserting that Chicago had blossomed during his tenure."
This is Obama's "new kind of politics" and "change"?
Overall, as a bridge-builder, I am waiting to see evidence that Obama has ever worked to educate his Palestinian friends of the necessity of ending terror attacks on civilians in Israel, to accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel, and to end their hateful propaganda castigating Jews as vampires, monkeys, pigs, etc. It seems his bridge is a one way street.
Update: Factcheck.org reveals that University of Chicago seems to be covering for Obama:
Was Barack Obama really a constitutional law professor?
When I was in law school, I addressed all of my course instructors as "professors," regardless of their rank or formal position in the school academic hierarchy (tenured professor, assistant professor, adjunct professor, lecturer, etc.). Was Obama exaggerating or factually wrong in referring to himself as a "constitutional law professor" at the University of Chicago Law School even though his official title was lecturer?
His formal title was "senior lecturer," but the University of Chicago Law School says he "served as a professor" and was "regarded as" a professor.
Sen. Obama, who has taught courses in constitutional law at the University of Chicago, has regularly referred to himself as "a constitutional law professor," most famously at a March 30, 2007, fundraiser when he said, "I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution." A spokesman for the Republican National Committee immediately took exception to Obama’s remarks, pointing out that Obama’s title at the University of Chicago was "senior lecturer" and not "professor."
Recently, Hillary Clinton's campaign has picked up on this charge. In a March 27 conference call with reporters, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer claimed:
Singer (March 27): Sen. Obama has often referred to himself as “a constitutional law professor” out on the campaign trail. He never held any such title. And I think anyone, if you ask anyone in academia the distinction between a professor who has tenure and an instructor that does not, you’ll find that there is … you’ll get quite an emotional response.The campaign also sent out an e-mail quoting an Aug. 8, 2004, column in the Chicago Sun-Times that criticized Obama for calling himself a professor when, in fact, the University of Chicago faculty page listed him as “a senior lecturer (now on leave)." The Sun-Times said, "In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles. Details matter." The Clinton campaign added that the difference between senior lecturers and professors is that "professors have tenure while lecturers do not."
We agree that details matter, and also that the formal title of "professor" is not lightly given by academic institutions. However, on this matter the University of Chicago Law School itself is not standing on formality, and is siding with Obama.
Due to numerous press inquiries on the matter, the school released a carefully worded statement saying that for his 12 years there he was considered to be "a professor."
UC Law School statement: The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer." From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.
Speaking as an ex-academic, universities confer the title "professor" on those who are on a track to or have achieved tenure. Retroactively, the school is covering up Obama's claim with slippery language unworthy of reputable school.