Do We Really Not Know Obama?

I don't really understand this notion floated below by Glenn Loury and (to some extent) James Pinkerton that we don't really know Obama. Loury points out that Obama has rounded off the edges of a lot of his arguments so as to appeal to as many people as possible and thus has the left the nation unclear on what he really thinks. Isn't this what politicians do? How many presidents have published two memoirs of their lives--before and after getting into politics? How many presidents have confessed to drug use? As Jamelle Bouie points out, there's even the David Remnick biography (which Barack Obama was interviewed for) laying bare the man's entire life. 


I don't really get it. My sense is that Obama is center-left president trying to cobble together the largest coalition possible to support his agenda. That's what center-left politicians tend to do. And then making the case that Obama is somehow responsible for Dinesh D'souza racist scribblings just seems untenable to me. This propensity to struggle with the fact that president is black is not confined to the Right.


Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in National

From This Author

Just In