Jonah Goldberg

The Barack Obama who wrote "Dreams From My Father" probably never dreamed of becoming president of the United States. That man was a product of campus culture -- at Harvard, Columbia and the University of Chicago -- and his vignettes of racial struggle were in some respects the coin of his realm. Later, when he entered the national political scene, he discovered this currency was accepted by much of the mainstream media as well.

No doubt Obama experienced racial animosity in his life, but not enough to fill a memoir with true examples. No doubt life had been unfair to him, but not so unfair as to keep him from Harvard, the Senate or the White House. He has lived a charmed life in almost every regard, but the truth is not as compelling as the legend.

The lies, the self-made myths and the whole gestalt of the Obama story as told by Obama and his fans boil down to a man who has struggled with adversity and proven himself better than the society that spawned him. In effect, we don't deserve Barack Obama. Perhaps this helps explain why Michelle Obama once said that the impending nomination of her husband was the first time in her adult life she was proud of America.

One pattern holds from beginning to end of the tale: When things go wrong for the young Barack, the truth must be bent to show that it's somebody else's fault. Young Barry Obama had the right stuff as a basketball player but was denied by the smallness of his coach's vision. Older Barack Obama, likewise, has the right stuff, but voters, or the Republicans, or maybe the Europeans, are too small to recognize his greatness. The truth of the matter has nothing to do with it.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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