Here is the full text of the 9th paragraph of a letter sent by Barack Obama to the Harvard Law Record in 1990, dealing with the topic of the criteria for making Law Review at Harvard:
“I’d also like to add one personal note, in response to the letter from Mr. Jim Chen which was published in the October 26 issue of the RECORD, and which articulated broad objections to the Review’s general affirmative action policy. I respect Mr. Chen’s personal concern over the possible stigmatizing effects of affirmative action, and do not question the depth or sincerity of his feelings. I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year, I have not personally felt stigmatized either within the broader law school community or as a staff member of the Review. Indeed, my election last year as President of the Review would seem to indicate that at least among Review staff, and hopefully for the majority of professors at Harvard, affirmative action in no way tarnishes the accomplishments of those who are members of historically underrepresented groups.” (emphasis added) (You have got to love the “may have benefited” part, as though he weren’t sure his grades were too low.)
This letter, which was posted on Breitbart.com on October 12 of this year, pretty much closes the loop on the President’s remarkable progress from an admittedly unexceptional high-school student (mediocre grades, no notable extracurricular activities, regular abuse of drugs and alcohol – “Look, you know, when I was a kid, I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point.” ), to admission to a highly-selective small college (Occidental College), to transfer-admission to an extraordinarily selective university (Columbia), and onward to and through the almost impossibly-selective Harvard and then its Law Review and then on to Law Review President.
If there were any remaining doubt as to the reason why the President’s SAT scores, LSAT scores, and college and law school courses and grades are considered to be more highly classified than the secret details of how our military killed Bin Laden, if there were any doubt as to the reason why a President who spends a year and a half “spiking the football” over the Bin Laden raid is not similarly bragging about his academic records, well, now we know the answer. Turns out the President has spent a lot of time in places where he was not even close to being the smartest guy in the room.
Why am I not surprised?
What I can’t square is how a man who was educated at Punahou School in Honolulu, at Occidental College and Columbia University can claim to be anything other than the recipient of a first rate, elite education. The only historically underrepresented group President Obama can legitimately claim membership in is the group of under performing law students who traditionally have not been selected on law reviews. The distinction of serving on the Harvard Law Review will always be suspect for those black students who have worked their way onto it. American meritocracy suffers.