Obama and Power
May 03, 2012, 09:35 PM
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Pat Casey writes in the comments on my own site:

Ever consider that Obama wanted to be a politician more than he wanted to be black; that he wouldn't have cared about being black if he didn't want to be a politician; that his desire to be a man of POWER is what drove him into an identity crisis because he could never really be the white candidate and figured no one would ever understand him as the mulatto candidate, leaving selling himself as the black candidate the only option he could imagine?  

If that is the actual cause and effect its not surprising he wouldn't be honest about it; much more compelling to talk about an identity crisis than a consuming desire for Power.

I once counted the number of times the word "power" comes up in Dreams from My Father. It was something like 73. 

Something that's not mentioned in Dreams, but must have had a major psychological impact on Obama is that his father was a fringe player in the most famous drama of power in Kenyan history: the rise and sudden fall of Tom Mboya, his father's mentor. Mboya, a Luo, seemed the logical successor to Jomo Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, but Mboya was gunned down on July 5, 1969, moments after talking to Barack Obama Sr. Indeed, Obama Sr. was the final witness called in the prosecution of the hit man. Obama Sr. claimed his career was ruined by his testifying.

That's a little too close to the flame for my tastes, but Obama Jr. seems not to have been discouraged in his pursuit of power by this. Perhaps he was galvanized by it. You might see vague references to this, suitably filtered, pop up occasionally in Michelle's comments about how Barack could be gunned down at any moment by roving white racist gangs while filling his gas tank at the Hyde Park filling station.

But, of course, nobody has ever asked Obama about what lessons he learned from his father's role in the Mboya tragedy.