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There was much written and said during the recent presidential campaign about the supposed “mystery” surrounding now President-elect Barack Obama. Senator McCain and Governor Palin, along with the Republican Party spokespersons and their allies on talk-radio, often raised the question, “Who is the real Barack Obama?”

Their contention was that his thin record as a United States Senator gave us no clue as to what kind of president he might be or how he might govern if elected. The right threw around buzz words like “the most liberal member of the Senate” and pointed to Obama’s “radical associations” in an attempt to portray him as a far-left ideologue who would carry that ideology into the Oval Office.

As is brought out in a post on today’s Moderate Voice, there is a much better guidepost to how President-elect Obama will govern than his time in the Senate, and that is his tenure as president/editor of the Harvard Law Review.

According to the post:
“The environment at Harvard during Obama’s matriculation was rife of protests and peaceful sit-ins of the Dean’s Office and other faculty. Divergent activist groups of blacks, Hispanics and others demanded more diversity among the composition of law professors.

In this divisive setting, Obama was selected to join The Harvard Review, the most prestigious publication of any law school in America. His peers elected him president/editor of the group his third and final year at Harvard.

Juan Zuniga (a law student one year behind Obama) said Obama’s emergence in the selection process was “a neutral, middle-ground, non-threatening, non-ideological candidate.”

His (Zuniga’s) impressions of Obama from friends on the Harvard Law Review and faculty were “that he was not perceived as an ideologue by those who knew him. Rather, he has an incredible facility to listen to other people, consider their positions, respect their positions when making a decision and then use his own intellect to reach his own conclusion. He draws talented and respectful people to himself. He makes responsible decisions based on merit and not ideological principles. It is very much worth noting that in many ways he keeps himself above the fray.

“While a bunch of us were out there trying to take over the Dean’s office, Barack was never a meaningful presence at any rallies. I have no doubt he believed we needed a more diverse faculty, but he also knew that the role he had as Editor in Chief of the Law Review meant he could accomplish so much by approaching his task with professionalism without raising an ideological torch and being a rabble rouser.”

I had my own skepticism about then Senator Obama at first. That was due mostly to listening to the characterizations of him in some of the media. But as I listened to him, I didn’t hear a strident, far-left ideologue, I saw what his fellow students at Harvard saw, a pragmatist, with reasonable solutions to the problems facing our country. And that is how I expect President Obama to govern beginning on January 20, 2009.

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