Did He Really Say That, A Review of "Audacity of Hope"

Introduction

Liz asked me about an Obama quote that has been widely circulated among conservatives, "...I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." Always interested in the context of quotations, I researched the quote and found it reported in those exact words by j. Grant Swank in a posting of the Conservative Crusader on their website. In fact he gives the page number of the paperback version he was using of the book "Audacity of Hope" by B. Hussein Obama. However I found the same quote in http://www.snopes.com. There, the gave the presumably correct words and the context of the quote. Even though I have found Snopes to be accurate and fair in the cases on which they have reported, I decided to go further and get the book and read it for myself.

The exact quote from Snopes and from the book I have with limited context is:

"In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/coilofrage.asp#Tz4RXHqkHJ1Dc3Dk.99

As a result of this finding, I decided to write the following article.

"I will stand with them..."

Several explanations are available to explain the differences of what Snopes reports and what Swank says. One proffered is that the version Swank quoted was an earlier version and the versions that Snopes and I had been edited. The second is that Swank quoted someone by the name of B. Hussein Obama.

The third, and in my opinion the most likely, Swank edited the sentence slightly to convey his interpretation of what Obama was saying. Conservatives and libertarians need to be the bastion of truth and integrity. Using the techniques of the left and progressives does not work. Conservatives and libertarians only diminish themselves to the level of those who misrepresent the truth when they use the same techniques.

The Review

This is an article under construction. I will enter reviews in the same order as the book below, but they may appear at different times. Caution, they are my impressions. I recommend readers of this article read the book themselves and comment in the forum topics as to their opinions.

The Constitution

Overall

The chapter confirms my opinion that Obama shares the "results oriented" view of the progressives. Even though he gives lip service to the freedoms we enjoy under the constitution and our form of government, any can be sacrificed to accomplish the desired results. He uses the debates of the founders both to complement the results of their work but to bolster his opinion that the constitution is a "living document", one whose meanings change with history.

Specifics

View of History

I can understand Obama's ignorance of Southern History, having graduated from northern universities. However, as the intellectual that he claims to be, he should should check his facts before publishing them. No more true is the adage that "The winners get to write the history" than the northern universities accounts of the "War between the states" or as southerners often call it "The war of Northern Aggression". Because Lincoln used slavery as a clarion call for forces to invade the South ignores the claims of Southern leaders, before and after the war. For example, slaves were owned by no more than 14% of southern householders. History that is taught neglects to tell us why the other 86% of southerners were willing to fight. They certainly did not benefit from slavery. History teachers do not quote Jefferson Davis when he holds that the primary reason for the war was economic in nature, that the north with their plurality of votes was causing a transfer of wealth from the South to the North. They certainly do not credit southern soldiers letters to home citing their desire to protect freedoms from a tyrannical government that was, in their opinion, violating the rights of states guaranteed in Amendment X.

As a politician, I guess I expect him to stretch points he wishes to make one of which "...a nation half slave and half free." is one, completely ignoring the 14% figure mentioned above and clearly made to invoke the anger of those descended from slavery.

I guess I expect him to ignore that one of the principle industries of several Northern state, Massachusetts being one, was the importation of slaves to sell to the southern plantation owners.

"Basic Set of Individual Liberties"

The following "basic set of individual liberties identified by the Founders and enshrined in our Constitution and our common law" are inumerated in his chapter on the Constitution. Where the statement of them is credible, I get the impression that they are rights granted by the government rather than those "endowed by our creator." What is more significant in this list to me is what is missing. Even thought he mentions the right to bear arms in this section, he talks more about the debate that continually exists between those that believe that "original understanding must be followed" and those who believe that "we have to take context, history, and practical outcomes of a decision into account."

They are (His list below is written in italics. My comments are in regular type):

"the right to speak our minds"

As long as we use politically correct language.

"the right to worship how and if we wish"

As long as we don't offend others.

"the right to peaceably assemble to petition our government"

But we must expect harassment from the Internal Revenue Service, monitoring by the NSA, and ignorance from the courts.

"the right to own, buy, and sell property, and not have it taken without fair compensation"

Unless the government determines that it and other individuals and/or companies need and can manage it better.

"the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seisures"

"the right not to be detained by the state without due process"

that due process is solely what the administration determines, executing citizens abroad with drones comes to mind, or releasing enemy combatants, or not faithfully executing the law.

"the right to a fair and speedy trial"

understanding that the government can try, convict, and execute you in absentia, without representation, a judge, and jury.

"and the right to make our own determinations, with minimal restriction, regarding family life and the way we raise our children"

as long as they meet with criteria established, not by law, but by non-elected administrative committee.

The "Affordable Care Act" has removed individuals "right to make our own determinations" about what citizens may purchase to insure themselves medically. A man now has to pay for insurance on conditions from which he cannot suffer, like pregnancy. A woman who has had a hysterectomy must pay for medical procedures that she will never need. Companies must pay to provide employees medical insurance. What was once an employee benefit that companies used to attract employees has now become a mandated expense to companies. And even though "Common Core" is a recommendation in education, it is only a matter of time for it to become a requirement for schools to receive government aid. Our children, already suffering from mandated educational material that incorrectly teaches, or ignores history, will now suffer from texts that present an absurd methodology for teaching math.

One only needs to re-read the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution to realize that his recitation of the rights are limited. Taken with the Declarations affirmation of the rights of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" the Bill of Rights further delineates those rights in more specific terms. One would think that he took those rights from the UNs "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" although after doing a quick check of that document, it does not appear to be so.

The Filibuster