The Other McCain

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Obama in 1990: America ‘Mean-Spirited’

Posted on | March 15, 2012 | 5 Comments

While a student at Harvard Law School in 1990, Barack Obama was interviewed by the Associated Press in an article the Illinois Daily Herald headlined, “Harvard student tackles racism at core“:

America suffered when the movements of the 1960s dissipated, he said. Those movements succeeded in raising doubts about harmful traditions of sexism and racism, but failed to offer a viable alternative.
“Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous,” Obama said.

(Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit.) This article shows Obama to have been a man of his time in two important ways:

  1. Second-Hand Sixties Nostalgia — Born in 1961, Obama was too young in the 1960s to have any real direct knowledge of what “the movements of the 1960s” were actually like. (Of course, in 1967, when he was 6, young Barack moved to Indonesia.) Like many liberals of his age, however, Obama was raised to view “The Sixties” as a sacred thing, so that it was a terrible thing when the “movements . . . dissipated.” This attitude was common among liberal college kids in the ’80s. The South African “divestment” campaign that became a campus vogue during that decade was typical of attempts to re-live the legendary glories of Sixties protests movement.
  2. The Critique of Reagan-Bush Policy as ‘Mean-Spirited’ — Keep in mind that, when Obama gave that 1990 interview, the Left had just suffered an epic decade of political disasters. Ronald Reagan had been elected and re-elected and handed off the baton to George H.W. Bush, who won the 1988 election in a memorable landslide, defeating the hand-picked champion of Massachusetts liberalism, Mike Dukakis. Worst of all, from the leftist perspective, America was on the brink of winning the Cold War. The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989 and, when Obama gave his interview to the AP, the Soviet Union itself was near complete collapse. Liberals of the era, however, viewed the entire decade of the 1980s as an orgy of “mean-spirited” selfishness.

Because liberals flocked to academia in the 1960s and ’70s, theirs was the historical worldview — “Sixties good, Eighties bad” — that prevailed in such elite environments as Obama inhabited at Harvard Law in 1990. As a man of the Left, Obama certainly would have felt right at home there, despite his assertion in the interview that he was confronted by “dismissive” racism on a regular basis.


5 Responses to “Obama in 1990: America ‘Mean-Spirited’”

  1. Shocking Obama Revelations from his Student Days! (Or Something)
    March 15th, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    […]  I see that Stacy McCain thinks that this revelation shows that Obama was proffering a “Critique of […]

  2. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 15th, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Mean spirited you say…
    The Ballad of Barack Obama…

  3. Obama 1990 Interview: ‘We’re Going To Reshape Mean Spirited Selfish America’ [Updated]
    March 15th, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    […] Linked at The Other McCain thanks! […]

  4. Taxpayer1234
    March 15th, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    OZero is about 6 months older than I.  Unlike OZero, I had no 60s-envy, and I LOVED being a college student in the Reagan Years.  Now that was a real era of hope and change!

  5. MJS
    March 18th, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    “We’ve come far, but I think we need a new harmony among the races in our country.  And we’re on a journey into a new century, and we’ve got to leave tired old baggage of bigotry behind.” – George H. W. Bush.

    “Where is it written that we must act as if we do not care; as if we’re not moved?  Well, I am moved!  I want a kinder, gentiler nation.” – George H. W. Bush.

    “So today I am outlining the next steps to welfare reform; the next actions we must take to build a more just and generous nation.” – George W. Bush