December 18, 2012

"Understanding Obama," the law school course.

Understanding... presumably from a legal perspective.

Ah, here: The professor — who was one of Obama's lawprofs — describes the course this way:
This reading group will focus on the way in which race, religion, and politics have impacted the development of President Obama as a leader... We will explore his views as a biracial child, his time as a student at Harvard Law School, the successes and failures of his political campaigns, and the way religion and his views on faith nearly derailed his campaign. Finally, time will be spent analyzing the challenges he faces as president of the United States in establishing both his domestic and global policies.

51 comments:

PatHMV said...

I'm betting that there is no law school course entirely devoted to any other single individual, President or not. A course devoted to James Madison, or to George Washington, or to Abraham Lincoln, 3 individuals who fundamentally shaped the country we live in today, that might have some value, though the individuals themselves are not as important as the ideals they upheld. Man, people delude themselves a lot when it comes to Barack Obama. What itch are they trying to scratch when they declare that he is some sort of vastly superior human being to the rest of us mere mortals, or even in comparison to every President who has come before? They are nutty.

Russ said...

And here I thought they taught law at law school.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I'm curious to know how the story ends.

Does President Obama ever find true happiness?

chickelit said...

He's way more popular than Jesus now.

AprilApple said...

Classes taught on pop culture seem silly to me.

rhhardin said...

There's going to be a lot of fuzz in that course.

Bob Boyd said...

Sounds like another wankfest.

edutcher said...

Maybe it should be a course about understanding William Ayers since most of what we think we know about Choom is really what we know about Ayers.

Colonel Angus said...

Nope, no cult of personality there.

Rick67 said...

I doubt that understanding is truly the agenda. What if understanding Obama means insights, findings, conclusions that are troubling or even repulsive? Will this course be open to such possibilities?

virgil xenophon said...

BEYOND parody..

whoresoftheinternet said...

Cult of Personality.
+
Rechstag Fire Incident=

Enjoy the fascism you created, America!

Also, Seig Heil, Mein Obama!

machine said...

Oh noes! This is what happens when a non-citizen, socialist, muslim, racist, witch doctor wins in a blowout...again.

machine said...

Oh yea, and a Nazi...

MadisonMan said...

People will pay to take this course.

That's the funny part.

I wonder how the prof got buy-in from others, as far as making the course fulfill some kind of requirement.

edutcher said...

1.5% is a blowout?

Strelnikov said...

What will they do after the first two days, when the material is depleted?

Strelnikov said...

And remember: This is not a cult.

Roux said...

Good luck getting those college transcripts....

CJinPA said...

the way religion and his views on faith nearly derailed his campaign.

The closest thing to this would be his association with the racist lunatic Jeremiah Wright. But we were assured that "Shut up. Those aren't HIS views on faith."

It was a high point in American political history: a politician is revealed to have had a two-decade relationship with a hate-filled nut, and prevented his campaign from being "derailed" by giving a long speech lecturing America on its need to avoid hate.

X said...

makes sense on a rule of man basis. how else to understand bankruptcy law, constitution law, immigration law, etc.?

machine said...

332 to 206...blowout...and its actually more like 4%...

Try not to use the Dick "the Genius" Morris/Karl Rove calculators....

edutcher said...

I'm talking popular vote.

But even 4% is a joke if we're talking blowouts.

Now 49 states to 1 - that's a blowout.

Your math is off.

Surprise!!!!

dc said...

Is anyone qualified to teach a course on understanding Biden?

Drago said...

edutcher: "Now 49 states to 1 - that's a blowout"

I remember quite clearly the lefties telling us in 1984 that despite 49 to 1 state victory that Reagan did not have a mandate because the dems controlled the House of Representatives (the body "closest to the people").



Peter said...

And is the text "Obama: A Hagiography"?

n.n said...

This is one reason why education is so expensive in America.

Summary: Obama is an opportunist.

To make this class cost-effective, it should expand its scope to cover all of the world's narcissists who lead nations, civilizations, companies, etc. over the cliff.

Robin said...

Obama is a leader? News to me.

creeley23 said...

It was a high point in American political history: a politician is revealed to have had a two-decade relationship with a hate-filled nut, and prevented his campaign from being "derailed" by giving a long speech lecturing America on its need to avoid hate.

CJinPA: Succinct. Accurate. Stinging. Thanks.

John said...

I wonder if Obama's legal scholarship and journal writings will be required reading?

If so, it will be an awful content free course.

John Henry

Rockport Conservative said...

It might be a real course if he showed the movie America 2016, then even he might understand Obama. I found it very insightful from someone who really understood the rest of the world.

creeley23 said...

This class is taught by, surprise!, Charles Ogletree -- professor, mentor and personal friend to Obama at Harvard. Kinda like Rev. Wright except a law professor. Ogletree has also written a book on Prof. Gates, the black Harvard professor who behaved arrogantly and stupidly with the Cambridge police.

So the course will really be some combination of lickspittle, cronyism and political activism that ought to embarrass Harvard, but in these degraded times it's just par for the course at our marvelous Ivy League schools.

campy said...

Will they offer cross credit with the Divinity school?

chrisnavin.com said...

Will they discuss how Obama, as a politician, has taken advantage of race, his biracial background, and voters minds in order to gain political power?

Will there be a section on the corruption and patronage of the old Civil Rights apparatus, and the Chicago political machine?

wildswan said...

It's kind of interesting that this law course is not analyzing Obama's time as President of the Harvard Law Review and his immediately previous stint as 1989 editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Taken together the editorial choices Obama made show support for critical race theory, a legal theory.
CRT has been described this way: "CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society.... institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color" I defer our leader and other lawyers on what CRT is but it seems to me that this theory might be that held by Obama's Supreme Court choices - hence we should know more. Also the vile race baiting now emanating from Obama's penumbra is explained if he still supports the CRT perspective - explained - but it seems as if it will go on. Race baiting would be a feature not a bug, if Obama still supports CRT.

The Law Review the year Obama was President was #104. Taking the two years of articles together we find an overall tone of support for Derrick Bell's theories and for CRT including an article by Richard Delgado. The only article known to be by Obama is about abortion but it is speculated that he also wrote the book review entitled "Talking of Unconscionable N...." (The word which is a racial slur is spelled out in the Law Review but it is not a word I use.)

SteveR said...

We know more about Einstein's college record than Obama's. That said its clearly not a serious course. There are a few well worn phrases that can define his rise to the presidency, none of which require any real insight. Oh yeah, those (auto)biographies

EMD said...

Understanding George Washington is not available.

Troubled Voter said...

The professor could just ignore the opportunity to do anything interesting AT SCHOOL, rest on his tenure, and host a blog/amazon affiliate that coddles conspiracy theories and antiquated political perspectives (but is in no way a political blog). What an idiot!

mccullough said...

Obama plays a lot of golf, but didn't golf as a kid growing up in Hawaii. He started playing as an adult after Harvard law school. What in his bi-racial background, religious faith, or time at Harvard Law School explains this?

Hyphenated American said...

Will they examine his SAT/LSAT scores?

Ann Althouse said...

Well, here's my challenge. Hypothetically, you're a lawprof and you must teach a course called "Understanding Obama." You have high ethics about what should be taught in a law school course, and you want it to be intensely about law and genuinely beneficial to the students.

What's in the course?

Chip S. said...

Prairie Fire, of course.

Chip S. said...

Seriously, given this constraint

You have high ethics about what should be taught in a law school course

I think you've made an impossible assignment.

Of course, you are talking about law-school ethics, so I may be wrong.

I once took a look at the online materials for the course Obama taught at Chicago. That stuff would probably suffice. It was all pretty much...."OK, there's the legal stuff, and then there's what we should do."

creeley23 said...

Looking more deeply into Ogletree you find the usual rat's nest of radical New Left/Black Power/Black Panther/Black Liberation connections we find with Obama's associates and Obama himself.

Ogletree edited the Black Panther newspaper, attended every day of Angela Davis's trial, remains good friends with her to this day, convinced the NAACP not to support Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court, became the attorney for Anita Hill, and made an appearance to defend the Black Liberation Army which stormed a San Francisco police station and killed a policeman.

How do such nasty, radical people who basically hate America rise to positions of such prominence and power? How is it that they are protected by the media and academia while their vile connections are ignored by voters?

I don't see any difference between Ogletree and some white guy academic with links to the KKK people who bombed churches in the sixties.

Who would want such a guy to become a big-time professor at Harvard and a good friend/mentor/adviser to the President of the United States?

cambridge3l said...

I am a 3L currently attending Harvard Law, and I wanted to add a few points to this conversation:

The class is a 1 credit pass/fail reading group that is one of 21 reading groups being offered in the coming semester alone. Reading groups are relatively informal and are offered on a much wider array of subjects than traditional classes and seminars. This is certainly not the first time that a reading group has been offered on the subject of an individual, for example this semester will also have a reading group on Alexis De Tocqueville. Given that the syllabus has not yet been circulated (which is the norm for HLS classes) there is no basis for anyone to predict the content of the course, nor how supportive it will be of the president. No Harvard professor could present the sort of simplistic, one-sided course you're imagining without losing all interest from the students in the class. I know at least one of the ten students currently enrolled in the course voted for Mitt Romney, and I think the entire purpose of the class would be defeated if we didn't have a range of voices, supportive and critical of the president on different issues. I'm uncertain if the vitriol and ad hominem attacks in this comments page are representative of this website's, but I find them to be a sad distraction from meaningful political/policy debate. If I am able to get into the class, I expect it to be provide an engaging vehicle for thoughtful conversations about a wide range of topics. I only wish the same could be said for this thread.

creeley23 said...

cambridge3l: The vitriol is based on facts which you have made no attempt to deny. You simply affect a more-sorrow-than-in-anger superiority.

DeTocqueville is long dead, and his HLS class was not taught by one of his best friends who happened also to be good friends with people dedicated to the overthrow of the American government and have murdered people on that account.

If you would like to supply another side to this discussion, you're welcome to do so.

But be aware that many of us are not impressed by the self-regard that Harvard students and faculty have for themselves and their dedication to thoughtful, wide-ranging debate.

creeley23 said...

I know at least one of the ten students currently enrolled in the course voted for Mitt Romney...

That's sounds like the perfect Ivy League notion of political diversity -- 9:1 liberal to conservative.

creeley23 said...

...there is no basis for anyone to predict the content of the course, nor how supportive it will be of the president.

Well, we know the course will not be based on any legal articles or books that Obama has written or on any cases in which he was involved, because there are none. Obama has zero footprint as a lawyer or legal scholar. How is a course on Obama germane to the current study of law?

Professor Ogletree has a longstanding history as Obama's professor, mentor, friend, consultant and supporter. Do you really consider Ogletree's supportiveness a mystery? Are we not allowed to question his objectivity?

How is this course not an embarrassment?

Hyphenated American said...

" If I am able to get into the class, I expect it to be provide an engaging vehicle for thoughtful conversations about a wide range of topics. I only wish the same could be said for this thread."

This sounds like a hobby, not an actual class. I think this is the difference between my engineering degree, where I had to learn actual truth, and the liberal feel-good, hug-me, lets be friend, nonsense.

cambridge3l said...

I apologize for any ambiguity, but when I said that I know 1 person in the class voted for Mitt Romney, I didn't mean to suggest only one person did so. I only know 3 people in the class, and the other 2 voted for obama. This may not be a representative sample set, but it's roughly in line with the youth voter percentage that went for Obama and Romney respectively. Also, I didn't mean to suggest that De Toqueville was the only individual who has been the topic of a reading group during my time at HLS, that's just happens to be the case for the coming semester. As to the charge that the class will not be germane to the study of law, i suggest that the comment is based on a rather constrained notion of what law school is supposed to teach. The law school has classes on various areas outside of black-letter law, including psychology, divinity, history, computer technology, business, etc. Also, the class may address any number of topics that are within the scope of more traditional law course: Administrative law, national security, war powers, legislative procedure/negotiations. It is not a bad thing to have the comprehensiveness of liberal arts education influence the breadth of the law school curriculum. Also, the notion that Professor Ogletree will be a 2-dimensional cheerleader for the president is bizarre. No one would want to sit through a class that dull and unengaging. I'm sure there will be many policies Prof. Ogletree supports, and I'm sure there will be many he criticizes, but I assume it will largely be the students driving the direction of the discussion. That is the whole point of a reading group after all, to have a conversation amongst peers, not to have a conversation controlled by a professor.

Hyphenated American said...

" The law school has classes on various areas outside of black-letter law, including psychology, divinity, history, computer technology, business, etc. Also, the class may address any number of topics that are within the scope of more traditional law course: Administrative law, national security, war powers, legislative procedure/negotiations."


And this professor, he is a legal authority on the questions of "administrative law, national security, war powers and/or legislative procedure/negotiations"? In other words, the actual lawyers who represent their clients in court, they extensively use his books and articles to improve their arguments relating to these topics? And more generally, what is the criteria by which you would judge if you indeed learned anything useful in this class? Now, I understand you expect to hear a lot of interesting conversations, and you expect students to influence what is discussed - but can't you just meet your friends once or twice a week, drink beer and discuss same subjects? How do you expect this class will be more educationally useful than than a party with students? What is the value that this far-left professor is supposed to bring?