Recently I reported on an article from a former Columbia University student who graduated in the same year as President Obama and said he never saw Obama on campus. Obama may be hiding something about his college years, but it’s not the fact that he was there.
Wayne Allyn Root, class of ’83, must not have read David Maraniss’ tome on the O-man. I’m plowing my way through now and have just finished the Columbia years section. Maraniss succeeded in finding many students, professors and old girlfriends who agreed to be interviewed and can attest to Obama’s presence in New York in the early 1980’s.
Obama went to New York, he told his family and friends, to find himself—to learn about black culture in the neighborhoods in and around Harlem. But, that isn’t really what he did. It was curious that Maraniss found one of the few prominent black professors at Columbia who even taught a course while Obama was there on what it means to be black in America and he never saw hide nor hair of Obama.
Barack (he didn’t like being called Barry by this stage of his life) filled his days trying to find himself and socialized primarily with his Pakistani friends. Hamid, Saddiqi and Hasan (the “Pakis”) were his good buddies and he traveled with a couple of them to Pakistan one summer while at Columbia (but of course that raises the question so often asked—on what passport did he travel to the Muslim country?).
By the way, Maraniss tells us frequently (through recollections of Obama’s friends) that Obama was really smart and that he had a notion he would be someone important some day, maybe even a writer of some note.
Frankly, I must say I wouldn’t have liked the Ivy League Obama any better than I like Obama the President. Although he had given up his heavy marijuana smoking days, he chain-smoked cigarettes, was constantly on the quest for the answer to the question—who am I?, and his narcissism drips from the ‘love’ letters he exchanged with one girlfriend Alex McNear; and it is probably what made his other significant girlfriend, Australian Genevieve Cook, start to have doubts and call off their affair.
I think it was McNear who now describes Obama as “self-absorbed.” I’m guessing though that she didn’t see that at the time, but was attracted to his seeming complexity and probably assumed (he told her!) he was troubled by his mixed racial identity and thus she found him attractively deep. Girls of that age did that sort of thing!
If you want shorter versions (than Maraniss’ 600 page book) of the Obama college love life check out a couple of stories (here and here) that appeared last May on the white women he lived with during and shortly after college in New York. Why on earth Alex and Genevieve released their letters and diaries to Maraniss is beyond me.
I bet Michelle O. was not a happy camper when that happened.
And, to think whatever possessed Alex McNear to keep his letters in the first place. In one letter, Obama basically calls his mother a hypocrite for saying she is helping poor people in Indonesia while she has servants and enjoys the amenities of working for the ‘sell-outs’ at the Ford Foundation.
Maraniss says of Obama (you can see why I say I wouldn’t have liked him!):
It was easier for Obama to see what unsettled him about his mother’s existence than to chart his own future.
But, then at the same time (and talking about hypocrisy) we learn that the magazine article Obama wrote during his New York college years on nuclear disarmament had nothing to do with a strong conviction and his ideology, but rather, he just wanted something more for his job resume as his college career was coming to an end (revealed to McNear in one of the dreadful letters where you get the feeling he is ‘perfecting’ his writing style with McNear, instead of having a nice conversation with a dear friend).
If you want to see the best proof that Obama did not write his memoir ‘Dreams from my Father’ you should read some of the excerpts from those letters. Here is the final passage in his “dear john” letter to McNear. And, please note this ‘pigeon sentence’ is the second half of one looong sentence!
“…pigeons comb the cobblestones on Riverside, white and gray and plump; the varying sounds reach from many sides, deep and shrill, from far away and nearby twining through one another. I feel lonely yet surefooted, and hope all goes well with you.” (sounds of barfing!–ed)
I just had a thought—maybe McNear released these to get even.