Black writer says Obama presidency is product of AA

(Correction: the article was not written by Boyce Watkins, but by a contributor at American Thinker. See discussion below.)

Jim C. writes:

Boyce Watkins, “The Scholar for Black America,” argues that our Barry is an affirmative action president. If Watkins is thinking this, so are many other blacks.

LA replies:

Watkins writes:

True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the U.S. Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks?

That’s good.

Watkins continues:

In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama’s oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people—conservatives included—ought now to be deeply embarrassed. The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that’s when he has his teleprompter in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all. Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth—it’s all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.

My problem with this is that Bill Clinton, who has a very high IQ, never had an original idea and spoke constantly in hoary liberal clichés. So that’s a weak argument.

And this also is weak:

Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy, direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most consequential job?

I’ve dealt with this argument before. It’s a false argument. Voters had a choice between McCain and Obama. More people liked Obama than McCain. It was as simple as that. If McCain had clearly been a superior candidate, then the argument that it was crazy to elect as president a complete unknown like Obama would be plausible. But McCain was sub sub mediocre. To many people, Obama seemed better able to be president than McCain. So it was not so irrational and crazy to elect Obama.

Also, when a writer goes for shameless sycophancy—“the incomparable Norman Podhoretz”—I turn off.

- end of initial entry -

Jonathan W. writes:

I agree the choice between the mediocre McCain and Obama explains how Obama was elected, but doesn’t explain how Obama was able to defeat Hillary Clinton and others in the primary. Watkins’ article raises that question.

LA replies:

Marginally more Democrats voted in the primaries for Obama than Hillary because they liked him more, saw him as more exciting, a more promising figure as president, etc. So he “lacked executive qualifications.” So did Hillary—or has no one noticed (and the biggest thing she led, the health care task force in ‘93-‘94, was a disaster)? So did Abraham Lincoln, the most admired U.S. president. This hardly makes Obama’s nomination/election “a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.” That’s just a stupid thing to say. It’s a kind of mob piling on Obama. I repeat: people who were willing to elect McCain or Hillary as president are not in a position to say that people who voted for Obama were suffering from mass insanity.

The real guilt is that of the media. If they had brought out the meaning of Obama’s membership in Wright’s church, Obama’s candidacy would have been severely damaged. But they gave him a pass, and moved on. The average voter responds to the choices that are presented to him.

Alan Roebuck writes:

Jim C. said that a black writer has said that Obama is a product of AA. But if you scroll down to the end of the essay, it says that the author is Matt Patterson, and the essay was published at American Thinker. (Here is the original essay.) It is unlikely that Matt Patterson is black.

LA replies:

This is the below-stupidity that is common at blogs. Bloggers frequently copy entire articles, without indicating that they are copying them, without giving the original publication, and without giving the author’s name. In this case, he gave the author’s name—but only at the very bottom of the article, and he didn’t even give the address of the original article, only the main address of American Thinker.

And in this case it was even worse. Above the article it says in big letters, “Boyce Watkins, The Scholar for Black America,” which certainly makes it appear that the article is by Watkins, and at the beginning of the article text it has the name of the website,,” inserted into the article text the way news services often put their name at the beginning of an article:

( Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon…

So Boyce Watkins, scholar of black America, not only did not give the name and origin of the article at the beginning of the article where it was needed, he actively made it appear that he and were the sources of it.

Paul Nachman writes:

Poking around at American Thinker, after being led there from your updated entry on how Wonderboy won, I found this, Cashill’s latest on the inability of either Wonderboy or Mrs. Wonderboy to write fifth-grade-level prose. I think it’s worth reading.

I share your general skepticism about American Thinker, noting all its triumphalist stuff about Wonderboy’s Gotterdammerung. I think they don’t recognize that the stupidity, on average, of the American voting public makes sensible outcomes a crap shoot.

LA replies:

I read that Cashill piece yesterday.

Did you know that Michelle stopped practicing law almost 20 years ago? Cashill writes:

In the case of Michelle Obama, affirmative action did all three. The partners at Sidley Austin learned this the hard way. In 1988, they hired her out of Harvard Law under the impression that the degree meant something. It did not. By 1991, Michelle was working in the public sector as an assistant to the mayor. By 1993, she had given up her law license.

I checked that claim out at Wikipedia:

Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband. At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property.[4] She continues to hold her law license, but as she no longer needs it for her work, it has been on a voluntary inactive status since 1993.[46]

Footnote 46 leads to an article at which discusses the status of Barack and Michelle’s law licenses. She did not give up her law license, she voluntarily placed it in inactive status. She could return it to active status if she chooses.

Cashill regularly writes investigative articles at mainstream website about the Obamas, he’s written a book about Obama. Yet, as the above shows (and as I have repeatedly pointed out in the past), he cannot be trusted as a source of information. He’s careless and sloppy. And the mainstream conservative media that publish him are so partisan that they don’t care.

Paul Nachman replies:

Yes, I knew she’d dropped her license.

It would be interesting to find factual support behind Cashill’s assertion that “Sidley Austin learned this the hard way.” It’s quite believable, while being hard to believe that evidence exists anywhere in the public record.

LA replies:

Right. there’s another Cashill assertion that can’t be trusted.

It’s one thing to be an opinion writer. It’s another thing to be a researcher / investigative journalist. When he writes, “Sidley Austin learned this the hard way,” Cashill is an opinion writer pretending to be an investigative journalist.

- end of initial entry -

A. Patterson writes:

Dr. Boyce Watkins was the subject of an American Renaissance news item just last week.

Watkins is absolutely NOT some sort of black conservative or maverick. He is merely another member of the racial grievance industry, African-American division. “The Scholar for Black America” would never complain about Obama for being unqualified—although the confusion is understandable the way that article was presented (“hijacked” might be a better word) on a different site, without attribution or explanation.

In the AR comments, don’t miss Comment #7, which digs up some of Watkins’ “poetry” about how much he loves playing with his Xbox. Seems “The Scholar for Black America” can’t spell too well.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 30, 2011 01:24 PM | Send

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