Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama resume-padding

Abraham Katsman and Kory Bardash point out several instances of Obama inflating his resumé with bogus claims about his record in The Jerusalem Post. They argue that he is doing this because despite holding multiple noteworthy positions, he really hasn't accomplished much of anything in any of them. He's published not a single academic paper while Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, published nothing while Harvard Law Review President, and can't point to any significant legislation he spearheaded in the U.S. Senate or in the Illinois State Senate.

UPDATE: John Lynch, in the comments, has, to my mind, refuted the concerns about publications (a Lecturer is not expected to publish, nor is the Harvard Law Review President), but my main concern was about the false statements. Two of the false statements are that he claimed to have "passed laws" that "extended healthcare for wounded troops who'd been neglected" when he didn't vote on the bill in question, and his statement that "Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee--which is my committee--a bill to call for divestment from Iran as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon" when he's not even on the Senate Banking Committee.

On the latter point, Obama's campaign says he meant to say "my bill" rather than "my committee," in which case the statement becomes somewhat more accurate, as Obama did supply some of the provisions to the bill in question. But it isn't really Obama's bill, despite his contributions. It's more accurately described as Christopher Dodd and Richard Shelby's bill.


John Lynch said...

What every about Obama's legislative record, the authors of this piece show that they know nothing about Law schools.

Obama spent twelve years on the University of Chicago Law School faculty--singularly famous for its intellectual ferment and incubator of scholarship--and produced not even a single scholarly paper. He was President of Harvard Law Review, but wrote nothing himself.

As anyone who has spent time in academia knows, lecturers (particularly part-time ones in Law Schools) are not expected to publish any academic papers. See the current Chicago lecturers for example; most are practicing lawyers (tenure-track faculty are not and they are expected to publish). The same goes for the HLR President; the journal is a student-lead one (like all law reviews) and the president (who is usually a 2L student) is not expected (afaik) to publish in it. Neither of the positions would result in "a serious impact" as Katsman & Bardash claim.

The JP post is really just a hatchet job and you're doing yourself a disservice by posting it.

John Lynch said...

And while I'm at it ...

Katsman has worked on several political campaigns, including Rudy Giuliani's successful run for mayor and Bush's 2004 re-election. He is involved with Republicans Abroad Israel (for which Bardash in co-Chairman). They have written a whole series of anti-Obama pieces.

Jim Lippard said...


Another commenter on the SKEPTIC list where I came across this made the point that anyone who cites Michael Medved (as these authors did) is clearly full of shit, which is an argument I have sympathy with.

Your response is fair enough regarding those two positions, but I do think the fact remains that Obama's political record is exceedingly thin and (as the JP article points out) that he has made false claims about himself--unless you have refutations for those?

On the other hand, I think Obama has chosen well by putting Jason Furman of the Brookings Institution as head of his campaign's top economic advisor.

I favor Obama over McCain for many reasons, but he shouldn't be exempted from criticism where it's deserved.

John Lynch said...


Fair enough (and you will note that I did not make any comment on their charges regarding his legislative record). Any way, while you were replying, I was posting this over at my blog. Feel free to comment.