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May 02, 2017


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Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Yesterday, I saw several Trump books on the scratch and dent last chance .99 cent table at Barnes and Noble. They were recently published too. Are we picking on Trump too much? I kinda feel sorry for him. I just chuckled out loud when I saw those.


Please be sure that your Trump piece echoes the hate of the man felt by almost all of those in legal academia, or it won't be published. The tone should be as hostile and derogatory as possible, just as much as the tone of the quoted material above was written in a reverent, worshipful way:

"Every step — whether his foray into community organizing, Harvard Law School, even the choice of whom to love — was not just about living a life but about fulfilling a destiny."

WHen we speak of political leaders having "destiny" (any political leader) we are no longer dealing with rational thought. Can ANYONE see this? Anyone writing this sort of sentence hasn't done the work, and doesn't know the subject.

Al Brophy

Anon, this one about Trump may not be published, then. Because I'm going to suggest that he has something in common with left wing historians.


If that is the case, and you are not ridiculing, denigrating or otherwise attempting to discredit "left wing historians" by way of the comparison, then I would suggest you are brave man, Prof. Brophy!

Folks in legal academia believe that students needed counseling to deal with the trauma of merely having elected the man. The administrations of many law schools, quite inappropriately by the way, have made their views quite clear.

And, by withholding protection of persons who do not share their views from anarchistic violent groups, these administrations have demonstrated their support for, as recently announced by the failed candidate, the "resistance."

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

I would expect nothing less of the legal academy to be openly hostile and derogatory to T-Rump, as am I. Any person of good faith and decency would display the same. He ran a two year long campaign and continues to espouse racist, bigoted and mysoginistic views. Rather than leading, he mis-lead.

Some would argue that he shouldn't be taken literally. The only thing the legal system has its tool is language. Words are important and critical. Would any car dealer advertise Cadillacs for .99 cents.... and not deliver?


This books got a scathing review for the NYTimes yesterday. One of the worst I have ever read, and on the front page of the Arts section, too.

Al Brophy

Obviously I haven't read Rising Star yet; however, I thought the Times review unfair. For instance, the reviewer complained that this focuses on Obama's ascent to power and devotes something like 50 pages to his presidency. Yet, the purpose of the book was to uncover Obama's ideas and actions before he became famous (and as he was becoming famous). I'm one of those people who wants -- and is looking forward to -- 1500 pages of detail about Obama's early life. And I'm particularly looking forward to how what David has uncovered fits with James Kloppenberg's Reading Obama. I understand that may not be what everyone wants, but I think that review was not fair.


I gazed upon the field where he strode, and my heart was filled. Oh Happy Day! Where he walked, oh happy day, where he walked.

Despite worshipful praise of every action, and neglectful omission of every mistake and fault, the fact is that scholarly analysis has rarely, if ever, ranked this presidency in the upper quartile. And those fairly mediocre findings (about a B, perhaps) are likely to slip further as time goes on, some of the more obvious shortcomings and failures are revealed, and the devout are exposed more and more as having worn (and perhaps still wearing) blinders.


When reading those 1500 pages, please evaluate a central theme of the campaign. It went something like this:

"I was raised by a single mom who had to work and who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us the things that other kids had.” As stated in a piece on NPR in 2011: " In Obama's presidential campaign, she was the struggling single mother, the food stamp recipient ..."

This theme left a clear impression in the minds of many. It is part of the "origin story."



The question regarding the origin story is, obviously, was it true? Not just true in some very Clintonian, minor, short term way (if even that), but "the truth" in the sense of the impression that was deliberately created - "I was RAISED ..." ... suggesting an upbringing by a long term, impoverished, single parent?

Now, once you answer that question, Professor, ask yourself this: How would the media you respect describe a similar, central biographical fact disseminated by the present president, with the same degree of truth content?

When you read 1500 pages of awe inspiring feats of superhuman goodness, will you even notice the veracity of this central claim (and so many others), and ponder the significance of telling a story that was carefully designed to instill that awe in you?

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Obama belongs on top. It took FDR four terms, a Big War and total destruction of the world's economic base (while ours remained unscathed) to pull us out of the Depression. Obama did it within one term with an intact and competitive world infrastructure. Look what he accomplished, even with total political and racial opposition. Even the little stuff. I don't pay $35.00 for a diet pop anymore...

Matt Bodie

Al -- This thread is long dormant, and I understand if you'd not want to get further into the debate. But I'd be interested in your take on the controversy surrounding this book, particularly Maraniss's tweet. My surface-level, mainstream-media perspective on this book is that it relies too much on one source and leans too heavily on the "Obama was an ambitious, soulless politician" narrative. I'd be interested in your thoughts from a legal academic perspective.

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