What A Country! From George Washington To Barack Hussein Obama

Ed Raymond

It has taken just over 200 years to have the presidency of the country move from the white uncallused hands of the wealthy slaveholder George Washington to the white-black hands of Barack Hussein Obama. It is very possible that George got rich from the slavery of some of Barack and Michele Obama’s ancestors. It might be a fascinating trace of family trees involving black tribes in Africa and white tribes in the United States. Washington, one of the richest men in the colonies, owned over 100 slaves to do his bidding.
   President Obama has lived on food stamps while watching his mother die of cancer as she argued about coverage with her health insurance company. He has lived in Indonesia with his mother and her second husband, Indonesian Lolo Soetoro, who was well off enough to hire a cook-nanny combination named Turdi to serve the family. Although listed as a male on his national ID card, Turdi really thought he was a woman, so Barack at eight years old had a transgender as a nanny for two full years of his formative life. Longtime neighborhood residents confirm that Turdi served as Obama’s nanny.
   Turdi, who now calls herself Evie, is now 66 and lives in a Jakarta slum making a living by scrubbing dirty laundry. Transgenders are not wanted in Indonesia, so Evie has often been beaten by police and soldiers. She has had her head shaved by soldiers who put out cigarettes on her hands and arms. Evie says, “People call me scum, but I was nanny for the president of the U.S. I never let him see me wearing woman’s clothes, but he did catch me trying his mother’s lipstick! That used to crack him up.”
   Turdi-Evie is now a devout Muslim, praying toward Mecca five times a day. She did not know that Obama had been elected president of the U.S. until she saw a family picture in newspapers and on TV. She says, “I couldn’t believe my eyes.” She was proud to learn that Obama had appointed Amanda Simpson, an open transgender, as a senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department in 2010. Quite a difference between our first president and the 44th. And a big difference between candidate Mitt Romney and Obama.

Does A President Need
Business Experience?

   Do leaders of any enterprise need experience in business? Mitt Romney insists that he will “turn the country around” and “take the country back,” and pushes all that fuzzy-wuzzy political crap on the stump and in TV commercials. Mitt says business experience is “essential” and that Obama took office “without the most basic qualification [business experience] that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task.” Data related to the effectiveness of presidents with business experience indicates that such a premise is mainly baloney. In my experience as a school district administrator working with many local businesspeople and other professionals such as lawyers and doctors, plus having about 25 different jobs while working my way through high school and college, I have found that there are as many chumps and champs in business as in any other line of work. In fact, we should be lowering the wages of American CEOs by importing foreign CEOs who actually know how to run efficient businesses for one-tenth the salary. We could call it “in-sourcing.”
   New York University history professor Jonathan Zimmerman has done a study of the business experience of presidents since 1900, and then followed the judgments of other historians about their effectiveness. Since 1900, only five of our presidents had significant business experience: Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and the two Bushes. Only Truman has made it into the Top Ten list for presidents, and I don’t really consider him as having much business experience. He and a WWI buddy went into the men’s clothing business and failed, but business failures were endemic in the U.S. during that period.
   George W. Bush with his MBA is no doubt the worst president of the modern period, and certainly ranks among the worst businessmen by not being able to find oil in oil-saturated Texas. He played a major role in the recent Republican National Convention by not being there. His absence sent a great message across the country. Daddy Bush did not attend either.
   Herbert Hoover is considered to be the most successful businessmen of the presidents, roaming the globe and investing in various mining industries. In Australia he acquired a gold mine for $1 million that would later generate $65 million for his company. But, like Romney for Bain Capital, he was a vulture capitalist who fired people and closed down businesses, gaining a reputation as a heartless predator. He replaced striking miners in Australia by importing cheap Italian labor as replacements. He fired a 72-year-old accountant on his staff because he thought he was too old. Hoover bragged about his prowess: “If a man has not made a million dollars by the time he is forty he is not worth much.” Hoover will be forever known for the “Hooverville” shacks scattered all over the country put up by the homeless and unemployed during the Depression. (When did we start equating money with success?)

Businessman Hoover
Failed To Handle The
Stock Market Crash

    Hoover failed to cope with the 1929 stock market crash that brought on the worldwide Great Depression. A president with no business experience whatsoever named Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought us through 25 percent unemployment, farm and home foreclosures, and bank failures with his innovative policy approaches. Other successful presidents had virtually no business experience: Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan. It has become quite clear that government is not a business and cannot be run like one. Good government requires a different set of skills, all political. Otto von Bismarck put it best, although we have had a lot of presidents who didn’t hear the hoofbeats and even missed the horse and the coattails: “Political genius consists of hearing the distant hoofbeats of the horse of history and then leaping to catch the passing horseman by the coattails.”

“A Black Man Can’t Be
President In America...”

   I have had my disappointments with Obama. I thought he surrounded himself with too many Wall Streeters, bankers, and other businessmen after the Dubya Debacle. We needed economists and historians who had studied the major problems and the political solutions of the Great Depression, not “Know-Nothings” who had been seduced by greed, did not know the history of the Great Depression, and weren’t even in greed addiction recovery yet. I thought he should have told the Republicans to go to hell about three months after he started with sweet talk. Naivete in politics is wearing a suicide vest with a chest trigger.
   He gave up the public option in his health care bill when he negotiated with himself. I spent 28 years at negotiation tables in my career, and such a stupid strategy was new to me. Within a decade, Obamacare will have to turn into single-payer coverage anyway, otherwise most of our medical patients will go overseas or out of the country for treatment because of our bizarre health cost structures. Imagine a sane, civilized country with 129 million people unable to get health insurance because they have pre-existing conditions. Obama evidently thought the power of his words would force congressional Republicans to work with him to solve the nation’s problems. He didn’t seem to understand they were willing to sacrifice the country to gain power. The power of the presidency rests in dealing money, roads, bridges, military bases, buildings, and legislative policies for floor votes. That’s the reality. (Read FDR and LBJ.) It has taken a long time for Obama to realize that most politicians put themselves first instead of the country, but I think he has finally gotten the message. If elected, his second term will be much better.
   All voters should read Ta-nehisi Coates’s article “Fear Of A Black President” in the September 2012 Atlantic magazine. It is a cogent, well-researched piece about how much racism is left in America. In 2008, Cornell Belcher, an Obama pollster, expressed to Gwen Ifell, the black host of a PBS political talkshow, the following reality: “The thing is, a black man can’t be president in America, given the racial aversion and history that’s still out there. However, an extraordinary, gifted, and talented young man who happens to be black can be president.”
   History includes over 3,000 lynchings of blacks between 1882 and 1930, with thousands of white families celebrating the deaths of those who didn’t live by the codes of the South. The theme of “To Kill A Mockingbird” is very real, not fiction. When Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman after he went to a store and bought Skittles and iced tea, his death brought thousands of racists out of the deadly cypress swamps of Southern manhood. John Derbyshire of the libertarian publication “Taki’s Magazine” gave Southern advice to his children: “Never help black people in any kind of distress,” “Avoid large gatherings of black people,” and “Cultivate black friends to shield yourself from charges of racism.” The white-supremacist website Stormfront “discovered” a photo of Martin wearing saggy pants and flipping the bird to whites. It was later determined to be a fake. Zimmerman collected $200,000 from whites in just two weeks to pay for his defense.
  The Secret Service investigates on average 30 death threats a day directed at Obama or his family. An Internet vendor sold gun-range targets of Trayvon Martin wearing his hoodie and carrying a bag of Skittles. The vendor sold out in a week.
  Corky and I lived in the South for three years prior to all the civil rights laws passed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. We lived in the “white” and “colored” days, where whites walked on the sidewalks and “niggers” had to walk in the streets, where a black woman Corky hired to help her with our first child refused to sit down with us and have lunch because she was afraid to.

“All Free White Persons...
Shall Have The Rights
Of Citizenship”

   In 1790, our white founders made sure that only whites could be citizens: “All free white persons who have, or shall migrate into the United States... shall take an oath of allegiance, and shall have resided in the United States for one whole year, shall be entitled to all the rights of citizenship.”
   In 1944, a West Virginian wrote this to his senator: “I am a typical American, a Southerner, and 27 years of age... I am loyal to my country... But I will never submit to fight beneath that flag with a negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throw back to the blackest specimen from the wilds.” The writer joined the Ku Klux Klan and later ran for the U.S. Senate. He ended up being the longest-serving senator in history. Democratic senator Robert Byrd died in 2010. Obama did not do well in West Virginia in 2008. In the Democratic primary, Obama lost ten counties in West Virginia to Keith Judd, a white felon residing in a West Virginia prison!
   William F. Buckley, that great conservative icon and Republican stalwart, wrote this in 1957: “The central question that emerges... is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because... it is the advanced race.”
  Harvard researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has compared the 2004 vote for John Kerry with the 2008 vote for Obama in each state, and has concluded that Obama lost three to five percentage points of the popular vote to racism. The birthers are still alive, led by wingnuts like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Southern members of the Tea Party who keep pushing the issue. Half of all Republicans still believe that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. A dozen Republican legislatures introduced “birther bills.” Almost 20 percent of Republicans say Obama is a Muslim.
   The 2008 election of Obama spurred the growth of white supremacist organizations and other hate groups, now numbering more than 1,000. The marketers of hate on radio and TV have succeeded in keeping racism alive and well in the United States.