Friday, October 29, 2010

As the nation prepares his political grave, a Harvard historian puts out an adoring treatise on our "philosopher president"

Said William Buckley for the ages, "I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."

In his forthcoming biography, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg shows the timelessness of Buckley's wisdom. Although the Kloppenberg book is not yet on the shelves, he gives enough away in a recent New York Times article for me to dismiss it for the blathering nonsense it promises to be.

In New York last week to lecture on the book, Kloppenberg insisted that President Barack Obama was a true intellectual, a rare "philosopher president," one that he classed with the likes of Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Wilson.

If this were not removed enough from reality, Kloppenberg doubles down on his obliviousness by insisting that the philosophy guiding Obama, according to the Times, "is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought developed at the end of the 19th century by William James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce."

To be sure, Kloppenberg dismisses outright those conservatives like Dinesh D'Souza and Stanley Kurtz who argue that Obama is either an anti-colonialist or a socialist. "Adams and Jefferson were the only anti-colonialists whom Obama has been affected by," Kloppenberg told his audience in New York. "He has a profound love of America."

To make his case, Kloppenberg would seem to have ignored everything we know about Obama's leftist, anti-American influences: his secular humanist mother, his communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, his radical Hyde Park pals Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi, and, of course, his deranged pastor Jeremiah Wright.

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