Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Obama at Occidental

Just about everyone knows that Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law. Many people know that he got his bachelor's degree at Columbia. But not as many know that he started out at a small liberal arts college here in LA called Occidental College.

The Arroyo Monthly, sort of a glossy magazine for the Pasadena area (that I had never heard of until a co-worker showed it to me this morning - thanks Al) has a profile of Obama and how he spent his two years there. He was known as Barry, but he wasn't known as a political phenom. He wasn't ambitious for himself.

Unlike so many who came before him, he has arrived at the presidency by focusing not on what he wanted to be, but rather on what he wanted to do.
David Axelrod concurs:

“So often what defines presidential candidates is this need to be president, to define themselves. He didn’t have that. And you know, we told him, ‘You’re gonna have to find some other way to motivate yourself.’ And he did – which was what he could do as president.”
Isn't it wonderfully refreshing to have as President-elect someone who puts his ambition for others ahead of his ambition for himself?

Some of his friends from back in the day missed out on recognizing a future president.

“If I’d known he was going to be president,” says Kent Goss, who shot a lot of hoop with Obama in the fall of ’79, “I’d have paid a lot more attention.”
But apparently it was easy to not notice how special the guy was.

"If you asked everyone at Oxy to rank the people who might be president, he’d be
the last. He’s the most regular guy I could imagine as president.”
Hopefully that's another nail in the coffin of that whole "elitism" nonsense.

The online version doesn't have it, but in the print version there's a very funny picture of Obama, white shirt and tie, standing with his hands on his hips, brows furrowed. He's standing in front of and below another famous figure known for uncanny abilities - Superman.

I'd like to think that if Superman could vote (was he an American citizen?), he would have voted for Obama.

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