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Was Obama A "Professor"?
My offhand comment about Barack Obama having been a "professor" at the University of Chicago triggered some surprising feedback: Was Obama really a professor, the questions run, or was he just an instructor or some kind of lecturer? I had thought this question was resolved a long time ago, but I guess not. Anyway, the University of Chicago Law School put out the following press release on the question a while back:
From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.
So the school says he was a professor; he was carrying a full teaching load; he was teaching serious courses like con law; and (if I recall correctly from my time visiting at Chicago) he had a permanent faculty office in the law school. Labels are funny things in academia, as Tim Wu has discussed. But to my mind, Obama was a professor.
Just John:
Yes, yes, yes, but does it say he's a professor on his BIRTH CERTIFICATE?! AHA!!
7.8.2008 5:56pm
Ron Mexico:
It sounds to me like he was, through the comfort and aid of the terrorist-sympathizing University of Chicago law school, merely pretending to be a professor. And then, when the time is right, he will finally reveal himself to all as . . . hmmm.

christian : muslim :: law school professor : ???
7.8.2008 5:57pm
taney71:
At first I would say he wasn't but reading what UoC had to say about it I change my mind. If they want to call him a professor then he's a professor.
7.8.2008 6:01pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@Ron Mexico:
"christian : muslim :: law school professor : ???"

Retard?

Okay, that wasn't productive. But it was funny.
7.8.2008 6:05pm
Dave N (mail):
I agree with Taney71. I would merely add that outside academia, this isn't even an April shower in a teapot, let alone a tempest.
7.8.2008 6:10pm
ak47pundit (www):
A professor, oh come now, how much did he publish? :-)
7.8.2008 6:11pm
merevaudevillian:
If you go through archive.org and click on Obama's original "bio" page, you'll see that, as of April 15, 2004, he formerly called himself a "senior lecturer."

Currently a senior lecturer specializing in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, Obama has served on the boards of some of Chicago's leading foundations and chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million philanthropic effort to reform the public schools.


(I'm not ambitious enough to go back and find out when that characterization changed.) Whether a "senior lecturer" means "professor" is a different matter... but I think it's notable that he, at one point, called himself "senior lecturer."
7.8.2008 6:19pm
wm13:
I would assume that Obama called himself a "senior lecturer" because that was, in fact, his title, but that his campaign staff at some point realized that the average American doesn't know what that means (and, anyway, everyone hates being lectured), so they changed his bio.

Anyway, the only meaningful title in law is "partner." (Well, maybe "Chief Justice" also ranks.)
7.8.2008 6:23pm
taney71:
Of course "senior lecturer" doesn't mean "professor." If it did then no one in academia would care about the tenure process and the goal of become a professor.
7.8.2008 6:24pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Yes, yes, yes, but does it say he's a professor on his BIRTH CERTIFICATE?! AHA!!

Good point. And that press-release has some suspicions aspects to it that makes it look forged -- the official seal is off and the font is not typical of U Chicago releases. Fake!!! Call Powerline!!!
7.8.2008 6:25pm
taney71:
*becoming
7.8.2008 6:25pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Anyway, the only meaningful title in law is "partner." (Well, maybe "Chief Justice" also ranks.)

"Summer associate" was also a title I very much enjoyed -- it was definitely among the best positions I've had in law.
7.8.2008 6:27pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Please. If there's anything academics pay attention to, it's their titles.

Prof. Kerr, tell me — with a straight face — that if GWU Law School, in a periodic revision to your web page, accidentally changed "Professor of Law" to "Associate Professor of Law" or (gasp!) "Assistant Professor of Law" (and Obama never even merited that title, which is commonly understood to apply to people on a potential tenure track), you wouldn't call up the webmaster and ask them to make a correction.

Tell me that on that happy day when you ascend to an endowed chair, you won't carefully proof-read the way that new title appears on your webpage.

Tell me that if a junior member of your faculty were caught having submitted a manuscript for publication to various law reviews in which he misrepresented his status (and claimed to be, say, an associate professor instead of an assistant professor), that would not be treated by your faculty caucus as an act of academic dishonesty that would impair his future tenure prospects.

Obama has orally described himself as a "law professor" many times. Well, hell, I was an associate at two law firms for seven years, a partner at another three years, a shareholder at another for two years, and I've been "of counsel" to two other firms. Never — not once — have I represented myself as a "partner" when I wasn't (not even when I was a shareholder, which was the functional equivalent, in that firm's nomenclature, of a partner at other firms). I didn't do that because doing so would have been lying.

Bottom line, I really don't care what you consider Obama to have been. I do care when he represents himself to have been something he wasn't. That his buddies at Chicago have blessed his lies retroactively doesn't make them not lies.
7.8.2008 6:51pm
Hoosier:
Full Disclosure: I am voting for McCain, and I am convinced that Obama is shockingly unqualified for the presidency.

Yes. He was a professor at U of C. "Senoir lecturer" is not a portable term, that is, it doesn't mean the same thing at one university that it may mean at another. For *public* purposes--as opposed to tenure-and-promotion committee purposes--he was a law professor.
7.8.2008 6:52pm
Craig Oren (mail):
He was essentially a superadjunct: that is, someone not otherwise on the faculty who was teaching more than one course. At my institution, people like that are referred to as professor. It could be argued in contrast that a school ought to refer to only tenured or tenure-track faculty as "professors," but that does not seem to be the pattern.
7.8.2008 6:53pm
Angus:
Out of all the stupid things in this election, this is one of the most stupid. I am an Assistant Professor on the tenure-track. I am a professor. The tenured and tenure-track people in offices around me are professors. The full-time Visiting Assitant professors we have are professors. The handful of Adjunct Professors we have each semester are professors. If we had a "Senior Lecturer" teaching in our department, he'd damn well be a professor too.
7.8.2008 7:03pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Running for office involves presenting one's résumé for consideration. It's like a job application. One must be scrupulously accurate in presenting one's credentials.

There's no ethical or practical difference, in other words, between how Obama describes himself to the American public while running for office and how he might describe himself to a tenure-and-promotion committee.

Does anyone seriously argue that if he's been truthful and accurate — if he had said, for example, "I've been a constitutional law instructor" instead of "I've been a constitutional law professor" — the public would have been unable to process the accurate statement?

We can argue all day long about whether Obama has or hasn't been "bi-partisan," for instance, or whether he is or isn't "post-racial." Those things are subjective. His job title isn't. It was an objective fact, and he's repeatedly misrepresented himself (to make himself appear more highly credentialed and serious than he actually is).
7.8.2008 7:05pm
eyesay:
Bill Dyer and other declaimers of Obama's professorship:

Given that his employer said he was a professor, tenure is a red herring. Suppose a university somewhere is formed without any tenured faculty at all. Are you going to suggest that all of the professors there are not actually professors?
7.8.2008 7:06pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Angus: When you sign official correspondence, what does it say under your typed name?
7.8.2008 7:07pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
His former employer is in the tank for him, eyesay. Regardless of what they say now about their star "senior lecturer," I guarantee you that the University of Chicago is as title-conscious in the real world (if that term can ever be applied to academia) as any other major university or law school. I don't doubt that when Obama was an instructor, he indeed had an office. I would bet $1000 that it didn't say "Professor" on the door, though.
7.8.2008 7:10pm
cjwynes (mail):
If he taught three courses a year -- including con law, a class that almost everybody takes -- then there must be *somebody* out there who took his class. I imagine it might be extremely enlightening to hear what his con law class was like, especially considering how generally ignorant of constitutional law he appears every time he tries to comment on it. But perhaps he's dumbing it down a little for his supporters, some of whom are vapid zombies who stare at him lovingly and chant an endless refrain of "hope... change... hope... change..."

Or maybe VC has spoiled me. Tony Kornheiser had the attorney Abbie Lowell, whom he calls "the smartest man in Washington", explaining the Heller decision on his show. When Tony asked him whether this applies to cities and states, Abbie flatly stated that the Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land, making no mention whatsoever of the Incorporation issue, not even in a simplified form. It was sadly obvious that this successful attorney, who routinely goes on radio shows to comment on the law, knew nothing about the Incorporation debate. Outside VC, I think the bar for real understanding of constitutional issues is set pretty low.
7.8.2008 7:11pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

Bottom line, I really don't care what you consider Obama to have been. I do care when he represents himself to have been something he wasn't. That his buddies at Chicago have blessed his lies retroactively doesn't make them not lies.

Every time this comes up I'm amazed at the seeming intentional ignorance. What Obama's is referring to as being a "law professor" is the general occupation of teaching a subject matter at an institution of higher education, which is more than appropriate when describing the general nature of one's employment to a non-academic audience. Had he been describing the position as "University of Chicago Professor of Law", and asserting that he held the title of "Professor" as opposed the general occupation "law professor", this kind of outrage would be justifiable, but that isn't the situation and we have a charade issue for people to kick around in stead of substantiative issues.
7.8.2008 7:13pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Furthermore: I'll put up another $1000 on behalf of the proposition that when Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, he and his articles editors always looked into the academic provenance of the writer of every manuscript presented to them for publication, and that they were keenly aware — for purposes of deciding which manuscripts to offer publication — which came from full professors holding endowed chairs, which came from full professors, which came from associate professors (with tenure), which came from assistant professors (without tenure, but hoping desperately that a journal like the HLR would accept their articles to improve their tenure chances), which came from mere instructors, which came from mere J.D.-holders, and which came from students.

Not only does Obama know these title and status games, he's been a player.
7.8.2008 7:15pm
Hoosier:
Angus--What frustrates me about this--as a fellow academic--is that I KNOW almost all of my colleagues will be supporting Obama. AND YET . . . and yet they are INSANE about titles.

A few years ago, a "concurrent assistant professor" used the phrase "assistant professor" in some (print) context. When the faculty dean found this out, he decided to DO AWAY WITH the "concurrent" title. He wanted to turn all concurrents into "lecturers."

I gave him a call, and asked, among other things: If I were to portray myself as "dean of faculty," would you feel compelled to do away with your own title? He relented.

I am a rare conservative at my institution. And yet I'm the only one who is an egalitarian when it comes to faculty titles. Again, when I see that Obama is getting a free pass on this, I get rather frustrated.

That is not PROF. Obama's fault, however.
7.8.2008 7:16pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Mr. Kowalski: Professional ethics and honesty requires professionals to be careful even in casual, purely oral use of titles.

At the hospital, when you're looking at the person holding his or her gloved hands above your chest as the anesthetic is taking hold, you don't want to hear the person next to him or her say, "Here's the scalpel you wanted, nurse."

Someone else, outside the profession, may not know the distinctions, and may not care. Obama knows. When its his credentials being discussed, it's his duty not to overstate them or (within his power) to permit them to be overstated.
7.8.2008 7:19pm
Hoosier:
Oops. Final point.

I can see making A Big Deal out of this, if it were to transpire that Obama listed himself as "Professor of Law" on his c.v. at some point. That's a clear no-no.

But, as a previous poster noted, saying you are a "law professor" at U of C as a description is a different matter than using "professor of law" as a TITLE--especially on a c.v. or publication.
7.8.2008 7:21pm
MarkField (mail):

"Summer associate" was also a title I very much enjoyed -- it was definitely among the best positions I've had in law.


It is, along with first base coach, one of the two greatest jobs ever created.
7.8.2008 7:21pm
tvk:
Bill Dyer,

This is, frankly, pathetic. When Obama was at the law school before he became a hot commodity, stduents called him professor, faculty called him professor (when they weren't calling him Barack or Senator), pretty much everyone called him professor. It used to be a joke within the school that someday, some pedantic nitpicker of a political opponent would accuse Obama of lying because his formal job title was "senior lecturer." Sad to see that day has come.

By your logic, if an associate professor at Chicago was running for president, he would need to refer to himself as a "Associate Professor" ever time in his speeches, because otherwise people might think he was a tenured full professor. Or do you think that anyone with the word "professor" in is title, including a Visiting Assistant Professor (usually a entry level person, not on tenure track, who is looking for a permanent job somewhere) can call himself a professor, but a Senior Lecturer at Chicago (including the likes of Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook and Diane Wood) cannot?
7.8.2008 7:36pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
A real-life story about legal titles that I witnessed in person:

It's 1986, and the case on trial in the 151st District Court of Harris County, Texas, is Pennzoil v. Texaco. Joe Jamail is cross-examining esteemed New York deal lawyer Martin Lipton. Jamail is going over some detail in some exhibit, which Lipton has previously identified as a memo that had been hand-delivered by a colleague for Lipton's review at some point during the negotiations with Getty. In the midst of his question, Jamail refers to the fellow as "your partner, Mr. Smith" (or whatever it was). Close paraphrase of what followed:

Lipton (interrupting): "— He's not my partner."

Jamail: "Oh, you didn't even know this Mr. Smith then?"

Lipton: "That's not what I said at all. I said Mr. Smith is not, and was not, my partner. He was an associate at my law firm, not a partner there. I'm a partner there, a name partner in fact."

Jamail: "Oh, ho! So are you saying he was a burglar? An intruder on the scene? He broke into your offices and stole that memo and then brought it to you to review?"

Lipton: "No, of course not, he was an employee acting under my direction and supervision, and bringing the memo to me was something he was doing in the course and scope of his responsibility."

Jamail: "Well, was he a lawyer at your firm?"

Lipton: "Yes, of course."

Jamail: "Was he an attorney at your firm?"

Lipton: "Yes, absolutely."

Jamail: "Was he among your firm's legal counselors who are authorized to do legal work for your firm's clients?"

Lipton: "Yes, subject to the supervision and oversight of our partners."

Jamail: "Can he go to the bathroom without permission, then?"

Lipton (angry): "Don't be absurd!"

Now, this was Jamail at his best, or worst, depending on one's point of view, but the jury loved it. Jamail took every opportunity during Lipton's cross-examination to encourage Lipton's considerable ego to display itself. And it was extremely successful: The jurors unanimously believed Lipton was a pompous gasbag who was completely willing to perjure himself for Texaco. They despised Lipton. (Jamail's strategy wasn't anti-Semitic, as some later argued after the verdict, but there definitely was some regional, i.e., anti-New York calculation going on in Jamail's tactics. But another famous, and Jewish, New York lawyer who testified for Pennzoil, by contrast, by contrast, the jury loved.)

If Barack Obama were a down-home good-old-boy who didn't much care in his own life about the difference between lecturers, assistant professors, and full professors with endowed chairs, then one might be more inclined than otherwise to forgive him for being sloppy (in a way that builds up his credentials more than they deserve). But Obama is not sloppy, and I don't believe that he's that kind of good old boy. I believe he's every bit as title-conscious as Martin Lipton was — which makes what he's done in puffing his own credentials inexcusable.
7.8.2008 7:37pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
tvk: I suspect that Posner, Easterbrook, and Wood are too careful, and too scrupulously ethical, to ever describe themselves — in a setting whether they're presenting their own credentials — as being "professors" even in their oral discussions. I'm quite sure they'd never do so in writing.
7.8.2008 7:39pm
David Berke:
This whole thing seems rather silly.

Is there really anyone who thinks that this is anything more than Obama trying to express that he taught law? When I was in law school (or undergrad, for that matter), I didn't distinguish between the professors (which is how I thought of all of them) on the basis of whether they were guest lecturers, senior lecturers, tenured faculty, etc - I didn't know, and I didn't care. I called them Professor (last name). When I spoke about them with others, I called them Professor (last name). Everyone I know did the same. It's just a short hand.

People like Bill Dyer who are insisting that this is evidence of dishonesty are themselves dishonest - they have an axe to grind, and they're going to grind it, truth be damned.

Although it shouldn't matter, I'm on the fence between McCain and Obama, but will probably end up voting for Obama. Let the ad hominem attacks begin.
7.8.2008 7:41pm
JoshD (mail):
It seems to me that people have a problem with the "professor" title because it implies a level of respect and expertise Obama has not earned. In addition, Obama and his campaign use the term to imply serious expertise on constitutional law and to elevate his views from that of opinion to educated fact.

Certainly, Senator Obama has more expertise and understand of constitutional law and precedent than someone like John McCain who is not a lawyer nor a constitutional scholar. However, it is easy to understand why people get upset as Obama tends to refer to himself as a constitutional law professor as prima facie evidence of the correctness of his political views rather than using the title to simply describe his past activities.

Obama's constitutional expertise consists of being recruited to U of C - apparently as a result of his celebrity stemming for his stint as editor of the Harvard Law Review and his book deal - and then teaching for 12 years while pursuing a political career and a brief stint in private practice.

Take a quick look at the current Senior lecturers at U of C. Most clerked for Supreme Court Justices, half are judges, and the only person who did not clerk for a US Circuit judge or Supreme Court judge is a successful economist, business executive, and business partner of Richard Posner. Conversely, Obama was a senior lecturer only 5 years removed from law school with minimal substantive legal experience. Therefore, while extending the title of Professor to a senior lecturer like Judge Posner makes sense, it just doesn't sit well seeing Obama use the title as a political weapon.
7.8.2008 7:42pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
By the way: I sent a very polite series of emails to the author of that University of Chicago press release, asking precisely what authority it was published under, and whether it had been discussed by the faculty.

No answer, no acknowledgment.

Prof. Kerr, supplementing my previous questions: Would you sponsor a resolution before your faculty authorizing lecturers, instructors, adjunct faculty, or others whose job title does not include the word "professor" to nevertheless represent themselves in formal settings, either in writing or orally, as being "professors"? And: Do you think such a resolution would pass (if it weren't connected to someone with Barack Obama's current star appeal)?
7.8.2008 7:47pm
Richard Riley (mail):
Strongly agree that Mr. Dyer should continue to focus on this issue to the exclusion of all other possible lines of political attack against Obama, except possibly the provenance of PDF scans of his birth certificate. In this way, McCain's election will be assured.
7.8.2008 7:47pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

When its his credentials being discussed, it's his duty not to overstate them or (within his power) to permit them to be overstated.

Well, if he were in fact discussing his credentials and his title, then by all means, this is a dishonest foul. But all the evidence points to him using the wort "professor" to describe his occupation in general, and doing so in a way that most ignoramuses can grok without too much pain, not discussing the details of his job title.
7.8.2008 7:49pm
cboldt (mail):
The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching.

.
-- So the school says he was a professor; he was carrying a full teaching load; ... --
.
I don't see "carrying a full teaching load" anywhere in the school's description.
.
Otherwise, I see the dispute as typical puffery. Some candidates do it more than others. Obama isn't vying for a tenure position or some other exalted position in the lofty sphere of academia. He wants to live in the White House, and he needs to convince the voters that he's intelligent, wise, etc.
7.8.2008 7:49pm
tvk:
Bill Dyer, you are making a bunch of assumptions and accusations with absolutely no evidence. Some examples:

1. That Obama cares, and cares deeply, about these differences in title. There is absolutely no evidence of this as far as I am aware.

2. That Posner, Easterbrook and Wood do not call themselves as professors at Chicago in speech.

Your analogy to Lipton also falls completely flat. Obama is not misrepresenting his status. A professor, as I pointed out, can include a visiting assistant professor who is neither on tenure track nor particularly well respected. Indeed, on the pecking order, that visiting assistant professor will rank considerably lower than senior lecturers at Chicago. Moreover, note that in this case it is YOU who is being extremely keen to draw out every fine distinction in hierachy of job titles, which makes your counterpart in the analogy the "popmous gasbag" Mr. Lipton.
7.8.2008 7:53pm
LM (mail):
possible Obama job descriptions:

professor - accurate
lecturer - accurate
teacher - accurate


possible Obama job titles:

Senior Lecturer - accurate
Professor of Law - inaccurate


The key distinction, as pointed out by Hoosier (and maybe others I missed) is between a job description and a job title. Find a single instance where Obama used the title "Professor" (i.e., capital "P", no article), "Professor of Law" or "Professor of Constitutional Law," and you have a case. But calling himself a law professor (i.e., lower case "p" with the article) is not only consistent with the law school's authorized terminology, it's descriptively accurate. Considering how adamant the critics, including some here, claim to be about fastidiously using only the proper academic terminology, I'd think the routine semantic distinction between a description and a title would go without saying.
7.8.2008 7:59pm
LM (mail):
That said, I'd encourage McCain supporters to make this a major campaign issue.

Please.
7.8.2008 8:01pm
frankcross (mail):
Bill Dyer, you would be right except for the fact that the law school calls him a professor. That legitimates whatever he calls himself. They get to make the call and they apparently did.

I personally would be pretty indifferent to whether lecturers call themselves professors, if it made no substantive changes in their authority.
7.8.2008 8:01pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@David Berke:
"I'm on the fence between McCain and Obama, but will probably end up voting for Obama."

I'm firmly in Obama's camp, myself, although I certainly don't find McCain to be somehow unfit for the job.

It surprises me that both sides in this particular race seem hell-bent on demonising the opposite side. This is the first time in my adult life I've ever seen two candidates I wouldn't mind having as President. To my mind, this is the best possible scenario: no matter who gets elected, I'll be reasonably happy. I simply can't fathom the rationale behind all this venom and vitriol. Both candidates are sensible and well-qualified. I can write off the opposition to McCain as liberal insanity (I'm a Republican, so this is easy), but what exactly is the great opposition to Obama? Are the conservatives now every bit as crazy as the liberals?
7.8.2008 8:03pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Mr. Cross: Show me any other example in which the University of Chicago has blessed any (non-super-star, non-presidential candidate's) self-description of himself as one of their "law professors," and then I'll believe the author of the press release (who may or may not have gotten authorization from the full faculty or the dean) didn't cut a special "rule" for him after the fact.
7.8.2008 8:08pm
A. Coward:
Bill-
Perhaps the "shareholder"/"partner" distinction in law firms is most appropriate. I'm sure all partners in "true partnerships" (although, most are limited liability partnerships, but whatever) appreciate your scruples in never referring yourself as a "partner" while holding an ownership stake in a professional corporation. But, seems that the many (most?) shareholders/directors/members of law firms routinely describe themselves as "partners" when speaking with people outside their own firm. This is especially true when dealing with people outside the legal community, because everyone knows what a partner of a law firm is, and no one knows or cares that it's connected to the form of the firm's business entity.
7.8.2008 8:09pm
Hoosier:
" but what exactly is the great opposition to Obama? "

He is completely lacking experience and record that would justify his election.

I cannot say this enough: He is inexperienced and unknown. This is NOT the sort of person that should be nominated by one of the major parties.
7.8.2008 8:15pm
hawkins:
Bill Dyer - do you think students raised their hands in class to ask a question, and began "Senior Lecturer Obama..."?

Professor is a descriptive title. Nearly everyone person teaching in a law school classroom is described as by the term. I've even seen student writing fellows called professor before.
7.8.2008 8:17pm
hawkins:

Show me any other example in which the University of Chicago has blessed any (non-super-star, non-presidential candidate's) self-description of himself as one of their "law professors," and then I'll believe the author of the press release (who may or may not have gotten authorization from the full faculty or the dean) didn't cut a special "rule" for him after the fact.


This is a little like insisting people are not "best friends," even though both insist they are.
7.8.2008 8:19pm
Hoosier:
"Professor is a descriptive title."

When first gen college students whom I advise ask me "What do I call my teachers? I don't know if they al are 'Dr.' ", my response is always the same: Just call everyone who teaches a class "professor." No one is ever offended by that.
7.8.2008 8:22pm
hawkins:

He is completely lacking experience and record that would justify his election.

I cannot say this enough: He is inexperienced and unknown. This is NOT the sort of person that should be nominated by one of the major parties.


His lack of experience is a valid criticism. But this is hardly unique to Obama. Bush was governor for 5 years prior to being elected. Obama will have had 4 years in the Senate. Regardless of which is better experience, not much of a difference.
7.8.2008 8:24pm
trad and anon:
When first gen college students whom I advise ask me "What do I call my teachers? I don't know if they al are 'Dr.' ", my response is always the same: Just call everyone who teaches a class "professor." No one is ever offended by that.
The prof in my multivariable class in undergrad opened the class by telling us to call him "Bob" and that he would ignore us if we tried to call him "Doctor" or "Professor."
7.8.2008 8:25pm
Hillary '12:
Oh for Pete's sake. As one who is quite possibly the only Hillary supporter to read this blog regularly, I have to tell you that I have been bashing Obama for months and you all have alot to learn. There is plenty of material in the experience department to work with (2 years in the Senate before running for President, etc.). No need to resort to this distinction that he hardly ever even talks about. In common parlance (people outside the law school profession), a person who regularly teaches classes at a university is a professor. So when trying to represent his experience to the American people at large, Obama said he had been a professor. It's fine.

Come to think of it, as a liberal who's increasingly irritated with Obama's mad dash to the center/right, I think those of you who want to call him a lecturer are probably helping him at this point. Helps him to shed the ivory tower liberal image that he seems so desperate to avoid.
7.8.2008 8:31pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>Bush was governor for 5 years prior to being elected. Obama will have had 4 years in the Senate. Regardless of which is better experience, not much of a difference.

****

"My choices early in life were either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth there's hardly any difference."

- Harry S Truman -
7.8.2008 8:32pm
trad and anon:
The best part about this is that if it were McCain who had been a Senior Lecturer back in the day, we'd be making the exact same arguments, but in reverse.
7.8.2008 8:34pm
Hoosier:
hawkins--I didn't vote for Bush either. He was manisestly unready. Obama has less experience tha Bush did. And less of a paper trail to judge him by, since he has managed to dodge tough votes in both bodies to which he was elected.

I am losing a lot of sleep over this. Our republican democracy now comes down to whether 51% of voters "like" a candidate? Or think he'll bring "change"?

Burke would not have approved.
-------

"The prof in my multivariable class in undergrad opened the class by telling us to call him "Bob" and that he would ignore us if we tried to call him "Doctor" or "Professor.""

We have people like that. In the alternative rock arena--yes, I like that noise--some of us have latched onto the phrase 'snobbery-snobs.' These are people who insist that any sign of acceptance by the "industry" makes a musician a sell-out. This is how I view my colleges who insist on being called by their first names: "Look how much better I am than all those elitists!"
7.8.2008 8:36pm
Hoosier:
(And now I should get some sleep. My last post had too many typos. Even for a dumb Hoosier.)
7.8.2008 8:39pm
LM (mail):

Is America ready to elect a law professor or community organizer as president and commander in chief? Really ... ?

As former jobs go, you really think those are worse than "actor?"
7.8.2008 9:05pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
"when you're looking at the person holding his or her gloved hands above your chest as the anesthetic is taking hold, you don't want to hear the person next to him or her say, "Here's the scalpel you wanted, nurse."

So "Doctor" is to "Nurse" as "Senior Lecturer" is to "Professor"?

Maybe on Remulak. But not back here on planet Earth.
7.8.2008 9:05pm
GV:
After a long day at work, this thread really brings a smile to my face. Thank you Bill Dyer. Keep on fightin' the good fight.
7.8.2008 9:20pm
Steve P. (mail):
Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track.

This strikes me as the relevant snippet from the press release. According to this, all Senior Lecturers are regarded as professors, so it seems like Obama's "buddies at Chicago" didn't intend to just target him with this statement. Seeing as it's their call, it's hard for me to find fault with it.
7.8.2008 9:20pm
U.Va. 3L:
I would bet $1000 that it didn't say "Professor" on the door, though.

At U.Va., no one's doorplate says "Professor" on it. Just faculty names.
7.8.2008 9:40pm
byomtov (mail):
Show me any other example in which the University of Chicago has blessed any (non-super-star, non-presidential candidate's) self-description of himself as one of their "law professors,"

Show me any other case in which someone has made an issue of it.
7.8.2008 10:14pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):
I have read all the comments in this thread, and after seeing the degree of heat and noise kicked up over this all I can do is quote that great American patriot, Sam the Eagle:

"You are all weirdos."
7.8.2008 10:46pm
hawkins:

It's not the former jobs category under consideration. It's the qualifications one.


Huh?
7.8.2008 10:58pm
frankcross (mail):
Bill Dyer, it doesn't matter if they cut out a special rule for him. Universities actually do this with real tenured professors, bringing them on for prestige.

If this were unauthorized or otherwise improper, I trust some one at the law school will complain. They have conservatives. Have any of them complained?
7.8.2008 11:09pm
American Patriot:
Sure, Barack Obama was a law professor.

Also, Barack Obama is a Christian.

Also, Barack Obama's religious mentor has never been Reverend Wright.

Also, Barack Obama's middle name is not, and has never been, "Hussein".

LOL!
7.8.2008 11:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

I suspect that Posner, Easterbrook, and Wood are too careful, and too scrupulously ethical, to ever describe themselves — in a setting whether they're presenting their own credentials — as being "professors" even in their oral discussions. I'm quite sure they'd never do so in writing.


Commenters on Posner's blog address him as "Professor Posner," and he seems to not hasten to object. One example is here.

This isn't a blatant contradiction of the claim you made, but it's nevertheless a bit of mildly interesting evidence.
7.8.2008 11:36pm
whit:
I'll admit that I had no idea that the title of professor meant so much before this whole U of C Obama thang. I would suggest that, outside academia, most people think Professors are people who are teachers at the University level.

Seriously. I went to college (and grad school), and I was never aware of the distinction between lecturer and professor.

It's kind of like the whole reporter/staff writer etc. thang that probably means a lot to those in the media biz, but if you are joe voter - a reporter is a guy who writes articles for the newspaper. Staff Writer? What's that?

Disclosure: I am NOT an Obama fan, but I think this is absurd. Not that discussions on a legal blog aren't often absurd (arcane trivial inanities and all) but CMON.

Professor means to most people - he taught at the University.
7.8.2008 11:46pm
Publia Padena (mail) (www):
Yes, but Obama is no longer a lawyer, having voluntarily removed himself from the lawyer rolls in Illinois. Curious, no?
7.8.2008 11:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

scrupulously ethical


Since you are calling for public figures to avoid statements that are not "scrupulously ethical," I was surprised to find no complaint on your blog about these remarkable statements:

- We found the weapons of mass destruction
- He wouldn't let them in
- A wiretap requires a court order

Just to pick a few helpfully succinct examples.
7.8.2008 11:51pm
LawMan 5000:
I am an alum of University of Chicago law school, and while I never took a class with Obama, I did take classes with Professor Posner and Professor Kerr. The term "Senior Lecturer" does appear on the website with respect to Judges Posner, Easterbrook and Wood, but no one ever thought or spoke of these faculty members as anything less than professors. Obama was undoubtedly a professor, he was definitely offered tenure --that is not a post-hoc rationalization by the law school, and he was a very highly esteemed professor. Saying Obama was never a professor at the University of Chicago Law School is ridiculous.
7.8.2008 11:58pm
Buzzkill (mail):
Obama was actually quite humble to call himself a mere "law professor" rather than explain that he is different from (and better than) most of the losers who cling to their tenure and their titles because their self esteem is so low. "Professors" who cling to their titles are like PhD's who insist on being called "Doctor." How ridiculous! I will vote for Obama, even though he had to teach in a law school for money. Hell, I would even vote for him if he had been a tenured professor. Tenured professors are not all losers, and they are certainly people too. Each should be judged on her/his/its own merits.
7.8.2008 11:59pm
Chicago Student:
I can preface my comments by stating that I will probably vote for McCain. There is no rational reason to be criticizing Obama for calling himself a "professor" when his real title was in fact Senior Lecturer in Law. The professor concept is one easily-recognizable by the general public and makes much more sense than something such as "lecturer." The fact is that he taught serious subjects and was granted a title by the law school, a title above lecturer. Obama became a senior lecturer, a title he shares with the likes of Judges Posner, Easterbrook, and Wood of the Seventh Circuit. Would anyone seriously be throwing a fit if Judge Posner referred to himself as a law professor? I highly doubt it.
7.9.2008 12:19am
OrinKerr:
Bill Dyer writes, in response to my post:
Please. If there's anything academics pay attention to, it's their titles.

Prof. Kerr, tell me — with a straight face — that if GWU Law School, in a periodic revision to your web page, accidentally changed "Professor of Law" to "Associate Professor of Law" or (gasp!) "Assistant Professor of Law" (and Obama never even merited that title, which is commonly understood to apply to people on a potential tenure track), you wouldn't call up the webmaster and ask them to make a correction.
Bill, I'm genuinely flummoxed by this response. Your suggestion, if I understand this, is that I am not being honest: "please," you write, "with a straight face" speak with candor about academic titles.

But what possible reason would I have to be dishonest in Obama's favor here? I have not only endorsed McCain, but I am a member of the McCain campaign's Justice Advisory Committee; I given money to McCain; and obviously I will vote for McCain.

To the extent you imagine that I am being dishonest, why on earth would I be dishonest to help a candidate I oppose and disfavor a candidate I support? You of course can disagree with me if you like. But to suggest that I am being dishonest is complete bullshit, and you know it.
7.9.2008 12:22am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Hawkins wrote:
Bill Dyer - do you think students raised their hands in class to ask a question, and began "Senior Lecturer Obama..."?

Actually, when I was in law school, faculty members were very proud to be addressed as "Mister," and that's actually the title they used on their office doors.

But the point, again, is not how others address him, but how he refers to his own credentials when he's presenting them for evaluation by the voting public. In that situation, he has an obligation not to smudge, not to fudge, not to puff, but instead to be precise -- even when speaking.

And again, as to the University of Chicago's after-the-fact blessing: Again, I believe this to be a special dispensation that does not accord with even their own usual usage and practice. It certainly doesn't accord with usage and practice in the academic world generally. And whatever they say now doesn't change the objective fact about his job title and position when he was there.

Mr. Coward: Are you familiar with the concept of "partner by estoppel"? When one holds himself out as a partner, and someone in the public reasonably relies upon that, then the purported "partner" becomes one in the eyes of the law -- including assuming joint and several liability in his personal capacity for partnership obligations. In the words of a popular politician, "Words have meaning." There's a large building on the edge of downtown Houston whose developer I once put into bankruptcy after getting, quite properly, an eight-figure summary judgment against him in his personal capacity based on his self-representation to lenders that he had been a "partner," despite his later insistence that he was merely intended to be a "limited partner."

That said, I agree that in some contexts, precision is less important than others. In the context of describing one's relative qualifications (as compared to the sitting POTUS) to voters, I believe precision is damned important, just as it was when this fellow asked lenders to make decisions on his venture's credit-worthiness in part based on his self-description as a partner.

Mr. Kowalski: In at least one documented occasion, Obama was indeed specifically discussing his credentials to opine on matters of constitutional law, as compared to those of the sitting president. But I'm repeating myself.

Steve P: The press release was put out, it says, in specifically in response to inquiries about Obama. The title of the press release is "Statement Regarding Barack Obama." To my knowledge, Obama is the first major party presidential nominee-presumptive to have had any affiliation with the University of Chicago Law School, so I presume that would be the explanation for why the propriety of presidential campaign statements like these hasn't come up before. Moreover: They didn't give this guy tenure. I've read Cass Sunstein as being quoted as saying if he'd wanted to get onto a tenure track, they'd probably have agreed to that. But then he'd have actually have to have published some kind of work of legal scholarship — something that he apparently has never, ever done.

(That he was able to not only remain on the Harvard Law Review but become its president without having to do so is yet another mystery about the Chosen One. Most such reviews have a "publish or perish, up or out" rule requiring students to write something publishable; most pick their editors in part on the basis of such compositions. Obama's campaign has denied that he's the author of any of the unsigned student notes published while he was there. So did HLR not have that requirement then, or did he find some way to dodge it?)

Jukebox: Judge Posner's not seeking a new job — the most prominent one in the world — in any part on the basis of how his blog readers refer to him. (I note that on his webpage at Chicago Law, they quite properly refer to him as "Judge Posner," a title which most folks would agree is more reverential and consequential than "Professor" anyway.) My point, once again, is this: In every speech and public appearance, though, Obama is touting his credentials, such as they are, for the precise purpose of persuading voters to vote for him. If he cannot be trusted to do that with accuracy and modesty, what can he be trusted with?
7.9.2008 12:23am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Prof. Kerr: If I ever think you've been dishonest, I'll say that in so many words. I don't think the offense you inferred was justified, but in any event it wasn't intended, and if you took offense, I apology without reservation.

Nevertheless, you haven't answered my questions, which were genuinely put. In the Socratic method, I had hoped they would lead you to re-evaluate your initial conclusion, as well as confirming (from your first-hand experience as a tenured professor of law) some of what I believe to be true about academic attitudes, practices, and usage.

Lawman5000 wrote:

The term "Senior Lecturer" does appear on the website with respect to Judges Posner, Easterbrook and Wood, but no one ever thought or spoke of these faculty members as anything less than professors.


You're just wrong on your facts, sir or madam: Posner, Easterbrook, and Wood are all three clearly and appropriately identified at the TOP of their respective web pages as "Senior Lecturer[s] in Law."
7.9.2008 12:33am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
"apology" --> "apologize" ... mea culpa squared.
7.9.2008 12:34am
Steve P. (mail):
Bill Dyer — a couple of things. First off, while Obama is the first presidential candidate to be in this situation, the response involved all Senior Lecturers. So it's the title of the press release that indicates it's only applicable to him?

Secondly, you're completely right, they didn't give him tenure. The offered it, but he refused on multiple occasions. On the other hand, he taught constitutional law. Is that relevant as to his informal title of a professor of law?
7.9.2008 12:38am
OrinKerr:
Bill Dyer,

Thanks for the clarification.

To answer your irrelevant questions, I have no idea if I would call the website people to correct the error in title in your hypothetical. I was recently on a panel in which I was described as an "associate professor" (GW Law's "entry level" professorship) rather than a full professor, but I didn't correct them: I really don't care one iota what they call me, so it didn't occur to me to say anything. Also, I still carry business cards from 2001 that say I am an associate professor; I haven't bothered to get new business cards just because I became a full professor in 2006 (or was it 2007? I have no idea). I think you imagine a world in which professors are obsessed with such silliness; sorry I can't help you in that.
7.9.2008 12:45am
Buzzkill (mail):
The best classical musicians are not tenured faculty in music conservatories, and are most likely to be "just" adjunct faculty, or have some limited status, despite their greater merit, and many have, like Obama, turned down tenure-track positions. Similarly, the best lawyers and the best "law professors" (with a small "p") are not necessarily tenured Professors (with the tenure-loving losers' capital P). Wow, Obama, as a law student, or afterwards, was never published in any lame student-reviewed journal, and never wrote for any article for one, although he was on the Harvard Law Review. Wow! I like him even more! These are good things. He has not added one more to the manure pile. Did Clinton write any silly law journal articles while he was on the law faculty in Arkansas? Have you read a law review (any law review, from cover to cover) lately? Important stuff in there? Yeah, right.... Now we're worried about Obama's supposed ethical lapse in calling himself a "law professor." Nobody cares, or ever will, but law Professors who need to get a life already (and I don't mean publishing more crap for journals).
7.9.2008 12:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

Judge Posner's not seeking a new job — the most prominent one in the world — in any part on the basis of how his blog readers refer to him.


True, but you know that's not the point. You said that Posner was too "scrupulously ethical" to describe himself as a 'professor.' But I showed you that one or more of his blog readers address him that way. He doesn't seem to mind. He should and would, if the difference between 'senior lecturer' and 'professor' really amounts to more than a hill of beans, as you persistently allege. But Posner speaks English, so he realizes that a common definition of 'professor' is simply 'a teacher at a university.' Something you would realize too, if you were really interested in being "scrupulously ethical," rather than rabidly partisan.

As I suggested earlier, your sensitivity about "scrupulously ethical" statements seems to be highly partisan and selective.

And although it happened years ago, it is still true that those who are "scrupulously ethical" do not walk away from their commitments. (If your browser doesn't automatically scroll to the correct comment, it's at Nov 21, 2004, 6:07:51 PM.)
7.9.2008 2:15am
LM (mail):
Buzzkill,

In fairness, I haven't seen any Professors of Law make an issue of this. The complaints all seem to come from others who are certain what an outrage this must be to the legal academy.
7.9.2008 2:32am
Contentious:
I think most responders here are focusing on the wrong aspect of this controversy.

Let's grant he was a Professor.

Who was the last professor to become President. Woodrow Wilson?

That all worked out wonderfully, didn't it?
7.9.2008 3:24am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Steve P, you wrote:
"[Y]ou're completely right, they didn't give him tenure. The[y] offered it, but he refused on multiple occasions."

No, they offered him a tenure-track position. That's a chance to earn tenure, which is generally a multi-year process that involves not only teaching (which Obama did), but also doing significant legal research and writing, and then publishing the results of that (which Obama didn't do). Even as a student on a law review where it's usual to do so, he apparently didn't write and publish a student note; indeed, it's so very usual (and I suspect mandatory) that the first female president of the HLR, Susan Estrich (now a tenured and chaired law prof at USC), was quoted (even after her preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, dropped out) as saying she thought his campaign was lying when it denied that he'd written and published anything in the Harvard Law Review.

Jukebox: I freely confess to being a partisan, and have never pretended otherwise. But if ad hominem attacks on me are the best you've got, that says more about you, I think, than it does either me or the subject of this post. Find me a place where Judge Posner, when discussing his own credentials, has referred to himself as a "constitutional law professor" or even just a "law professor," and I'll grant your point. I respectfully submit that his failure to rebuke to a commenter doesn't say much about his views on whether he's entitled to claim that title.

Prof. Kerr: I'm not being snarky or sucking up when I say that I am entirely willing to believe that you are not obsessed with rank and titles, and your anecdotal examples are to your credit. I'm sure you'd have done better than Marty Lipton, on cross-examination by Joe Jamail. I already knew you weren't a snob from your willingness to engage on legal topics with mere practicing lawyers and even (gasp!) laymen here and elsewhere. I wish that your modesty were typical of all lawyers and law professors, and will forebear from further argument on that point for now. And I appreciate your partial response, even though you deem my questions irrelevant; as an author here you have the right to make and enforce such rulings, and I am glad to see you instead leave it to your readers to draw their own conclusions as to relevance.

But you still haven't answered my a couple of my questions. As I re-read them, I must concede they were phrased as leading statements, rather than open-ended questions as Socrates would have suggested; I cross-examine for a living, alas, and that's reflected in my blog posts and comments.

So, if your patience permits, here are my questions again, re-stated and in some cases slightly reworded:

1. If a junior member of your faculty were caught having submitted a manuscript for publication to various law reviews in which he misrepresented his status (and claimed to be, say, an associate professor instead of an assistant professor), would that be treated by your faculty caucus as an act of academic dishonesty that would impair his future tenure prospects? (Same answer if instead of a law review article, it were a job application?)

2. Would you sponsor a resolution before your faculty authorizing lecturers, instructors, adjunct faculty, or others whose job title does not include the word "professor" to nevertheless represent themselves in formal settings, either in writing or orally, as being "professors" (without further limitation or qualification)? (I.e., would you bless and universalize the "rule" announced by the Obama press release?)

3. Do you think such a resolution would pass (if it weren't connected to someone with Barack Obama's current star appeal)?

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry were all accused of being serial exaggerators in describing their own roles in events — sometimes a bit, sometimes a lot. Kerry, for example, claimed to have served "two tours in Vietnam," when in fact he'd served one (entirely honorably) aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Gridley (which for some reason he never much talked about, to the later irritation of offended shipmates) and then less than a quarter of his projected one-year tour as a Swift Boat commander, and only six weeks of that in combat (which he nevertheless made the centerpiece of his convention biographical presentation). Some people thought his exaggeration was significant; others thought it was scandalous to even meention. To each his own.

But Obama has less of a public track record than any of those three. He's held one job that he almost never discusses (doing research and writing for a Manhattan financial publishing house), he rarely speaks about his experience during his short stint as a practicing lawyer, and some of us, even after reading his first book, are still clueless as to what exactly a "community organizer" is, or how that's supposed to be a qualification to run for public office. If he shares the "serial exaggerator" character flaw, I for one believe that's a relevant topic upon which voters may wish to base their judgments of him.
7.9.2008 3:36am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
A couple of other questions, Prof. Kerr, if you've time and inclination:

I know that you, like Obama, were a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, and that you were an executive editor of another fine law journal published there. You've since published as a faculty author in the HLR, among many other top-ranked law journals. My own experience was at another law school and journal, and indeed in an earlier decade. So:

By any chance, do you know whether the HLR had a "publish or perish, up or out" policy for its student members/editors earlier in the 1990s when Obama was there? And do you dispute my characterization of law review editors, in general, as being well aware of the differing job titles (and related status) of their potential contributors? Many thanks in advance.
7.9.2008 3:50am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
(PS: Besides your business cards, you haven't updated the .pdf version of your full c.v. to reflect your promotion to full professor. You're hiding your light under a bushel, Professor!)
7.9.2008 3:57am
Exasperated:
Good grief. Teachers teach. Why would anybody care about the 8 different labels UofC tosses around to identify teachers? And what does it have to do with the skills of a president anyway?
7.9.2008 4:03am
Julian Sanchez (mail) (www):
Good lord, this is Monty Pythonesque. The University says it regards senior lecturers as professors and they're conspiring to cover for him after the fact?

Here is the University of Chicago's Law Faculty listing. There is a section for "lecturers" and a separate listing for "professors". All the "senior lecturers" -- including Posner, Easterbrook, Wood, and yes, Obama -- are listed under "professors".

Did the University hastily dump them all there after the fact as part of the grand Obamaspiracy? Let's check the Internet Archive at archive.org to see what the page looked like back in 2000. Yet again, Obama is listed with the professors, right under Martha Nussbaum. But the Obamaspiracy is mighty; we can't rule out the possibility that they have somehow corrupted the Internet Archive, perhaps even the very fabric of space-time itself...

Seriously, the school clearly considers him a professor, and clearly has considered him a professor for at least eight years. Can we move on?
7.9.2008 4:14am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Mr. Sanchez: He was listed with the actual professors in their various forms, that's true, and under a heading that read "professors." But then, the University of Chicago scrupulously listed his actual job title: "Barack H. Obama, A.B., J.D., Senior Lecturer in Law." They took care, in other words, to ensure that no one would be confused.

Obama didn't.
7.9.2008 4:36am
LM (mail):
Only a dedicated conspiracy theorist could believe U of C Law School fabricated an eight year internet archive to cover for Obama's alleged exaggerating. So I hope it's not just crass piling to point out that another top law school, NYU, also regards its adjunct faculty as "professors."
7.9.2008 4:42am
LM (mail):

They took care, in other words, to ensure that no one would be confused.

Obama didn't.

Bill, nobody is confused. U of C made absolutely clear that "Senior Lecturer" is a sub-category of "professor." In calling himself a former law professor Obama has been scrupulously accurate.
7.9.2008 5:10am
tvk:
Bill Dyer, I suspect that just about everyone here has run out of patience and are utterly unpersuaded by your view, and we are never going to agree because you are relentlessly partisan and not amenable to logical persuasion yourself. But let us note your position:

1. You started off by the reasoning that academics in general, Professor Kerr in particular, and Barack Obama to boot, were and are all obesessed about their titles. Having zero evidence and faced with the uncontradicted statement of Professor Kerr that, in fact, he is not obsessed with his title and presumably will not, on the day he receives an endowed chair "carefully proof-read the way that new title appears on [his] webpage," I gather you have flip flopped on that line of logic.

2. You next argued that "Obama has orally described himself as a 'law professor' many times" and that, in contrast, you never represented yourself to be a partner when you were in fact a shareholder. You then drew the comparison to Marty Lipton and his rigid emphasis that an associate was not a partner. Since you are the only person here who seems to insist on the distinction between a shareholder and a partner, an associate and a partner, and a senior lecturer and a professor, the only reasonable inference was that you believed yourself to be a mirror image of Marty Lipton.

3. Faced with several comments that Posner, Easterbrook and Wood are all senior lecturers who may quite plausibly be regarded as law professors, you boldly asserted that they would never refer to themselves that way. Pointed to the fact that they are sometimes referred to in that way, you now insist that they would not "formally" refer to themselves that way.

4. Finally, having virtually no reasonable foundation for your partisan position, you assert that a presidential campaign is like presenting your resume to the voters, so the slightest inaccuracy is akin to resume fraud. By that logic, George Washington committed lied by calling himself a general, since he was a Major-General and not a full General -- and the fact that in 1976 Congress retroactively promoted him to five star rank is just ex post cover-up. Indeed, by your "every-statement-is-a-formal-job-application" standard in presidential campaigning, I would imagine that John McCain and Barack Obama are committing resume fraud every day.
7.9.2008 6:07am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
"Scrupulously accurate" in a Queen of Hearts, "words mean what I say they mean" sense only, LM. These different titles signify different levels of accomplishment; that's precisely why they're normally used (and protected) by academic institutions.

Suppose instead of merely using the term in an attempt to build himself up in comparison to George W. Bush, Barack Obama had sent out a letter on Chicago Law School letterhead in which, under his typed name, he'd added "Constitutional Law Professor." Would that be okay?
7.9.2008 6:09am
Hoosier:
"Only a dedicated conspiracy theorist could believe U of C Law School fabricated an eight year internet archive to cover for Obama's alleged exaggerating. "

That's just the tip of the iceberg, LM. You DO know that they are covering for Obama's culpability in the 9/11 plot, right?
7.9.2008 6:15am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
tvk:

He shoots! He sco — ah, heck, he dribbles off the edge of the rim. You systematically mistate my positions or conflate unequal things, friend.

I never accused Prof. Kerr in particular of being overly concerned with titles. I believe law school faculty members in general are very aware of them, however, as are law review editors.

That I'm capable of understanding some of the same legal concepts and distinctions as Marty Lipton doesn't make me as insufferably pompous as the jury found him to be in Pennzoil vs. Texaco. Those who are eager to excuse Obama's imprecisions, though, will certainly accuse me of that, and worse (as some here already have).

Nor did I fuss at Prof. Kerr for originally making a passing reference to Obama as a "professor." I've consistently maintained in my comments here that professionals, when describing their own credentials so that others may assess their qualifications, have a duty to be precise. In his speech, Obama was describing his own credentials — tooting his own horn. In my judgment, he was culpably imprecise, and knew or should have known that given his own background.

And finally, as I said in a very early comment, some descriptive terms are subjective. We can argue until the cows come home about which of the candidates is a "flip-flopper" because that's not an objective term with a definite meaning. "Senior Lecturer" is a term with a definite meaning, and it's the term that applied, but it didn't have the zing that "constitutional law professor" had, so Obama chose to embellish. You may, as I've said, think that's small potatoes. You may also think he's entitled to claim many other counter-factual things, just because you're inclined to cut him a lot of slack. I'm not. I'm frankly perplexed, if Prof. Kerr is — not because I think Prof. Kerr is a rabid partisan (I think he's a reasonable partisan), but because I think he's a man who knows and appreciates the value of precise language too.

If you're convinced I'm wrong, stop arguing with me. But please don't misstate or twist my arguments, and then claim victory.
7.9.2008 6:24am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
From Judge Posner's personal home page (hosted by the University of Chicago, but distinct from his page as a faculty member):

Richard A. Posner
Judge, United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School


Number of times on this page that Judge Posner refers to himself as a "professor": zero.

Number of times Judge Posner refers to himself as "professor" in his biography page, as linked from that home page: three. Number of those references which were to the period before his 1981 appointment to the Seventh Circuit, i.e., the period when he actually was a professor: three. "Posner entered law teaching in 1968 at Stanford as an associate professor, and became professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School in 1969, where he remained (later as Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law) until his appointment to the Seventh Circuit in 1981." Scrupulously precise. Self-description of his current connection with the University of Chicago Law School on this page: "He continues to teach part time at the University of Chicago Law School, where he is Senior Lecturer, and to write academic articles and books." Again, scrupulously precise.

Judge Posner's MS Word .doc file containing his C.V. follows precisely the same precise usage.

I think it's likely that Judge Posner has already forgotten more constitutional law than Barack Obama has ever known. He was a superstar as a practicing lawyer, then as an academic, and then as a circuit judge. He doesn't need to embellish, and he's honest. So he doesn't.
7.9.2008 6:47am
JK:
Good research Julian Sanchez, I think that really closes the issue (what little crack was left open). It is clear that while his job title was "senior lecturer," that he was regarded as a "law professor," and described as such in every way other than stating his job title.

Contesting that he was a "professor" at this point is like saying that a "corrections officer" is lying if he describes himself as a "prison guard."

On a side note I found Bill Dyer's comparison to a hospital and the title of "doctor" vs. "nurse" amusing. Both of those terms are thrown around in hospitals all the time, even when not technically correct (and hospitals are really quite title-conscious, although clearly nothing compared to Mr. Dryer). Doctor could mean anything from a department chief to a medical student or PA that doesn't even hold an M.D., and "nurse" anything from a nurse’s assistant with basically no relevant training to a nurse practitioner who has as much training as a PA.

This actually strikes me as a counter to Mr. Dryer’s position, as it shows the difference between a formal title such as “Professor of Law,” or “Attending Physician” and descriptive occupational terms such as “professor” or “doctor.”
7.9.2008 6:55am
Public_Defender (mail):
My official job title is "assistant public defender." Generally, the only "public defender" in a public defender office is the person who heads the office. The rest are "assistants" or some derivation of that.

But I regularly describe myself simply as a "public defender" except in those narrow circumstances where the distinction really makes a difference (generally, formal pleadings). And it pretty much never makes a difference when I'm talking to the public.

Likewise, most members of the public would call someone who teaches at a law school a "professor." When speaking to a general audience, it's perfectly OK to use terms the way they are generally understood.

Dyer, sometimes you make some interesting points. But all too often, you seem to lack the ability to see ill motives in people you agree with and good motives in people you disagree with.
7.9.2008 6:56am
Angus:
Bill Dyer,

You just don't seem to get what others are saying. A "Senior Lecturer in Law" is also a "law professor." Just like an "Adjunct Professor of English" is also an "English professor." Academics do not obsess over this as much as you seem to think.

My official title is "Assistant Professor of (Foo)." When people ask me what I do for a living, I say "I am a (Foo) professor." It is not imprecise in any way whatsoever, nor is it an embellishment.
7.9.2008 7:09am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
P_D: It's not about me. And really, not about you either, unless you're describing your credentials while running for president. Obama was a part-time lecturer. He didn't do research or publish; he didn't seek or have tenure. Some portion of the public does know that those things are generally associated with being a real professor, and it's precisely that segment of the public who were likely to be misled by his exaggeration.
7.9.2008 7:11am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Angus: Congratulations for at least aspiring to get tenure in (Foo). Have you ever listed yourself as a "(Foo) professor" in a job application, or when interviewing for a job?
7.9.2008 7:13am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Let me offer a contrasting context in which I think Obama's description of himself as a "law professor" might be innocent and non-culpable, even if still not quite accurate:

Suppose Obama is sitting around discussing with his staff and his legal advisors the prospective Obama Administration's potential nominees to the Supreme Court — the subject of Prof. Kerr's original post (which I liked; I think he'd go for Sunstein, btw). He says, as a throw-away line in a discussion of other people's qualifications, "John Doe didn't really have all that great a reputation with us law professors when I was back at Chicago." Okay, everyone there is already committed to vote for Obama. He's not introducing himself or pumping his own credentials, he's just making an off-hand reference to them as a tangential reference during a discussion of another serious subject. I wouldn't have a problem with that.

But presidential campaigns are long, painful job auditions. In describing objective facts about themselves, candidates ought to be held to a high standard of accuracy.
7.9.2008 7:22am
Gary Anderson (mail):
OK, Obama's a Law Professor.

And how exactly does this win him any votes? Are they held in high esteem -- "That's what we need; one of them there law perfessor's to help get the country back on track!"

lol. Nope not outside some circles... Real life has too much undisappearable reality for the law proffie types to work their success magic. lol
7.9.2008 7:44am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Prof. Kerr, one more question you may be peculiarly well suited to answer, since you've visited at Chicago: I gather that school operates on a quarter system, dividing each school year into fall, winter, and spring quarters. The Obama press release's description of him teaching "three courses per year" suggests to me that he might have regularly taught one course per quarter each year.

While that course might have been for three credit hours, couldn't it also have been, as some of their seminar courses (probably for second and third-year students) for only one or two credit hours? Does Chicago adhere to the tradition whereby "credit hours" generally correspond to "in-class hours per week"?

This article, which is generally quite flattering to Obama, says: "While a state senator, Obama held classes early on Monday and late on Friday during legislative sessions, running right through the school's popular Friday evening wine-and-cheese hour." Those sound likely to be seminar classes to me, rather than core curriculum (e.g., first-year required courses in con law or other subjects).

If he was teaching seminar courses only one or two hours per week (and at off-peak hours), would you still stick to your description of him as having taught a "full teaching load" — for that's a term that suggests full-time employment to me, or what would at least be full-time employment (and probably some overtime!) if combined with research and publishing expectations (which Obama never undertook).
7.9.2008 7:45am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
(I guess that's actually a set of questions. Sorry.)
7.9.2008 7:46am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Okay, okay, I'll stop now, but ... my post on this topic back in March on my own blog includes links to opinions from a couple of other law professors whose blogs I regularly read, Glenn Reynolds (who was underwhelmed) and Ann Althouse (who agrees it's an "embellishment"), as well as links to some other folks arguing the subject.
7.9.2008 7:56am
Angus:
Angus: Congratulations for at least aspiring to get tenure in (Foo). Have you ever listed yourself as a "(Foo) professor" in a job application, or when interviewing for a job?

Yes, in fact. When I applied for a job outside academia in a desirable location I did indeed say in my application that I was a "(Foo) professor." That is a fully accurate way of describing my current profession (not my formal job title).

And as someone who has served on multiple hiring committees interviewing candidates it is not all that unusual for people who had been a lecturer or adjunct at, say, Big State U. to say in response to an interview question, "When I was a professor at Big State U. in 2004,..."
7.9.2008 8:02am
Chicago law grad:
Bill Dyer: Speaking as a recent graduate of the Law School whose time there overlapped with Sen. Obama's: His classes were three-credit, same as normal classes. They met twice a week because (to my understanding at the time) those were the days he was in town around his government work. They met for the same number of hours as other classes: generally one hour on Monday, and two hours on Friday. They were classes like Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process and American Law and the Rhetoric of Race -- i.e., a fairly standard mix of lecture-style and seminar-style classes.
7.9.2008 8:23am
DJR:
I am incensed that the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court continually refer to themselves as "Supreme Court Justices."
7.9.2008 8:32am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Angus, good sir, with respect to the people who you say it was not "all that unusual" that they orally referred to themselves as "professors" when they were "lecturers" or "adjuncts": Did they submit written credentials that were available to all the members of the committee which contained their actual job titles? Or did they fudge on those too? I suspect the former, in which case there was not likely any actual confusion caused by their imprecision; but if it was the latter, I hope you didn't hire them.

I'm not going to ask if you were offered the job outside academia that you applied for because I really don't want to drop into ad hominem attacks. (I hope you were at least offered it; I'm sure that (Foo) would have missed you, though. Is your "Foo" reference from these folks, who do seem to be big on titles, or perhaps the "Levin Thumps" books, which my daughter adores, and one of which is soon to be a major motion picture?) May I presume from your carefully worded response, though, that in your job applications in academia, you have indeed given your then-current actual job title, and your past actual job titles, rather than approximations or paraphrases thereof? If so, I applaud you for being, in my entirely subjective judgment, more ethical and honest than the Democratic presidential nominee. If not, well, then, you would in that respect be his equal, I suppose, which you may not consider to be an aspersion at all!
7.9.2008 8:33am
Floridan:
I find it somewhat amusing that the University of Chicago press release is being characterized as an after the fact cover-up.

Of course, this press release would seem a little puzzling if released prior to anyone asking about this meaningless issue.
7.9.2008 8:41am
Chicago law grad:
Bill, why do the Chicago catalog links not conclusively demonstrate that "Lecturer in Law" is a subset of "professor" at Chicago?
7.9.2008 9:10am
ClosetLibertarian (mail):
A senior lecturer is not a professor in a formal sense but it is common enough for anyone teaching at the college or university level to be referred to as professor.

Lecturer is not used as a title the same way professor is, so the only options are to say Dr. or Mr. to be technically correct or to just use professor as a catch all.

By the way this same discussion comes up in "For whom the bell tolls" regarding the main character. With regard to that, Obama can't be professor because he doesn't have a beard.
7.9.2008 9:23am
OrinKerr:
Bill Dyer, here are my best answeres to your questions:
1. If a junior member of your faculty were caught having submitted a manuscript for publication to various law reviews in which he misrepresented his status (and claimed to be, say, an associate professor instead of an assistant professor), would that be treated by your faculty caucus as an act of academic dishonesty that would impair his future tenure prospects? (Same answer if instead of a law review article, it were a job application?)
My impression is that saying you are an associate professor actually hurts your chances with the law reviews just a bit: most reviews prefer pieces by assistant professors, as they want to catch the rising star before he is a big name. So the hypo is sort of odd. You seem to be trying to ask if academic fraud would be seen as academic dishonesty. Of course it would be, but I don't see the relevance of that to our discussion: the entire point of my thread is that I don't see any fraud here.
2. Would you sponsor a resolution before your faculty authorizing lecturers, instructors, adjunct faculty, or others whose job title does not include the word "professor" to nevertheless represent themselves in formal settings, either in writing or orally, as being "professors" (without further limitation or qualification)? (I.e., would you bless and universalize the "rule" announced by the Obama press release?)
What is a "formal setting"? And who are all the "lecturers, instructors, and and adjunct faculty"? This question is very vague, and therefore difficult to answer.

GW does have one non-fulltime, non-tenure track prof who has an office at GW and teaches a full course load, Stephanie Ridder. I refer to her as a professor at the law school, and if she ran for political office I would certainly support a resolution saying she could use that label, too.
3. Do you think such a resolution would pass (if it weren't connected to someone with Barack Obama's current star appeal)?
Yes.
By any chance, do you know whether the HLR had a "publish or perish, up or out" policy for its student members/editors earlier in the 1990s when Obama was there? And do you dispute my characterization of law review editors, in general, as being well aware of the differing job titles (and related status) of their potential contributors? Many thanks in advance.
I have never heard of such a policy. I don't know if Presidents of the Harvard law review usually did or did not write them, or what the policy was, if any. The only such policy that I am aware of was held by the Texas Law Review in the late 1970s, and I only know of it from your blog posts about your experience with such a policy. (Of course, other journals may have such a policy; I just don't know and haven't heard of it.)

As for the general question of status-consciousness, the difficulty is that you are mixing up different circumstances in which people are status conscious or not. If a current law review editor gives me a formal academic resume, I would expect the resume to list his formal position on the law review -- what kind of editor, etc. On the other hand, if I'm at a party and I meet a former law review editor, I would think he's from outer space if he mentions his formal position ("Hey, man, were you on the law review back in law school?" "Yes, I was the Associate Deputy Book Editor." "Um, ah, okay.")
7.9.2008 9:53am
Crane (mail):
Chicago law grad - Because Bill Dyer has already made up his mind. He's made it quite clear that he thinks Obama's description of himself as a professor is a heinous lie, and there is nothing anyone can say or do to convince him otherwise.
7.9.2008 10:06am
Adam B. (www):
I'm also a former student of Professor Obama's, for what it's worth, and we never called him anything other than "Professor" there.

In re Who was the last professor to become President. Woodrow Wilson?, Bill Clinton taught classes at the University of Arkansas Law School before becoming governor, but I have no idea what his title was.
7.9.2008 10:42am
Aultimer:
Mr. Dyer,

If you were touring a college with your child and decided to approach a person who had just finished teaching a class to ask a question, what would you lead with: "young man", "honey", "kind person of unknown academic title", "professor" or something else?

[note that you owe Lawman5000 an apology - you misread him, he was not "wrong"]
7.9.2008 11:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

Susan Estrich … was quoted … as saying she thought his campaign was lying when it denied that he'd written and published anything in the Harvard Law Review.


That's what you said. Let's look at what the article actually said:

One thing Obama did not do while with the review was publish any of his own work. Campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Obama didn't write any articles for the Review, though his two semesters at the helm did produce a wide range of edited case analyses and unsigned “notes” from Harvard students.

Estrich believes that Obama must have had something published that year, even if his campaign says otherwise. “They probably don’t want [to] have you [reporters] going back” to examine the Review.


Notice how you (and Politico) distorted what LaBolt said. You claimed that Obama denied writing "anything" in HLR. But LaBolt's denial wasn't about "anything." It was about "articles." Politico is honest enough (but only in one sentence) to point out that Obama may have written material other than "articles" (and HLR indeed carries a lot of unsigned material that is not "articles"). But Politico then goes back to being dishonest in the next sentence, when they use the word "if" in a very slippery manner. And you took that slipperiness a big step further when you essentially replaced "if" with "when" in your paraphrase of the passage. You claimed LaBolt said something that he didn't say.

Noam Scheiber offers a comment on this exact matter:

I've checked with some former Law Review colleagues who also believe Obama wrote an unsigned piece.


You should apologize for making a false claim: that Obama said he hadn't published "anything" in HLR. I notice you also made essentially the same claim, earlier:

Obama's campaign has denied that he's the author of any of the unsigned student notes published while he was there


LaBolt's statement is not support for this claim you made. Do you have support elsewhere?

You also said this:

Most such reviews have a "publish or perish, up or out" rule requiring students to write something publishable


Hopefully you can show some proof of this claim. In particular, I hope you can show us that other presidents of HLR always wrote signed material like articles, and not just "unsigned student notes."

Politico has given us all the front covers from Obama's term as president of HLR (eight issues). They also provide a representative masthead, which names the 80 members of HLR, at the time. On the front covers we see the names of the 36 people who contributed signed material during this period. It's interesting to compare the two lists (the 36 and the 80), because we see this much overlap: zero. In other words, your implied claim (that members of HLR typically contribute signed material to HLR) seems to be complete baloney.

It seems to be the case that it is typical for HLR members to contribute only unsigned material. As far as I can tell, Obama has not denied doing so. As far as I can tell, Obama's tenure as HLR president was not unusual, in this regard. It also seems to be the case that you like to invent your own facts.

I freely confess to being a partisan


Partisanship is OK. Dishonest partisanship is not. I have shown that you indulge in the latter.
7.9.2008 12:16pm
Thales (mail) (www):
I'm glad we have Bill Dyer to set us straight about the most important campaign issue ever. I wish I could be similarly inured to evidence and reasoned explanations in my dogged pursuit of truth, justice and the American way. But I don't understand why he's surprised at "Professor" Kerr's elaborate obfuscations, because after all, "it's a conspiracy, and everyone's in on it!"
7.9.2008 12:16pm
Hoosier:
Obama supporters here have been saying they hope the GOP will use this as an issue.

I do too, but in a different way. McCain should make a point of referring to him as "Professor Obama" whenever he gets a chance. That should just about kill any chance Obama has of winning in November.
7.9.2008 12:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

his [Posner's] failure to rebuke to a commenter doesn't say much about his views on whether he's entitled to claim that title.


If the distinction was as material as you claim, Posner would have said something. He would also complain about being listed as a "professor" (as Julian helpfully pointed out). Why does Posner allow that?

He [Obama] was listed with the actual professors in their various forms, that's true, and under a heading that read "professors."


Indeed. And so was Posner. Which means that people like Obama and Posner are fairly described as both "Senior Lecturers" and "professors."
7.9.2008 12:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry were all accused of being serial exaggerators in describing their own roles in events


Nice job slyly introducing yet another classic canard. Gore never said he "invented" the internet. But that didn't stop lots of folks like you from pretending that he said something be never said.
7.9.2008 12:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

less than a quarter of his projected one-year tour as a Swift Boat commander


It's quite ballsy of you to bring up that subject, given the way you persistently fail to address your previous shenanigans on that subject, which I referenced here.

You've managed to pack a lot of misinformation into this one statement. You're implying that for a swiftboat commander, a one-year tour was typical. This was a lie told by O'Neill. A typical tour was eight or nine months. I demonstrated that a long time ago, on your own blog, here. (If your browser doesn't automatically scroll to the correct comment, it's at Oct 1, 2004, 9:20:10 PM.)

You're also suggesting that Kerry's swiftboat service lasted less than 3 months. Really? He joined Coastal Squadron 1 on 11/17/68. He became a swiftboat commander on 12/6/68. 3/26/69 is when he stopped being in charge of PCF-94. You should let us know how you translate this into "less than a quarter" of a year.

only six weeks of that in combat


Really? Kerry's swiftboat service started on 11/17/68 and ended on 3/26/69. That's 129 days. You're claiming that only one-third of this was combat. Please show us your proof.
7.9.2008 12:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
public:

most members of the public would call someone who teaches at a law school a "professor."


Not just that. A common dictionary definition of 'professor' is 'someone who teaches at a college or university.'
7.9.2008 12:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

Some portion of the public does know that those things are generally associated with being a real professor, and it's precisely that segment of the public who were likely to be misled by his exaggeration.


The segment of the public that understands and cares about the concept of tenure is also literate enough to understand that the word 'professor' is commonly used to describe any college teacher.

Those who are eager to excuse Obama's imprecisions


I note with interest your distinct lack of interest in these "imprecisions:"

- We found the weapons of mass destruction
- He wouldn't let them in
- A wiretap requires a court order

We're also hoping you will explain your own "imprecisions," which I've pointed out.
7.9.2008 12:47pm
PLR:
We're also hoping you will explain your own "imprecisions," which I've pointed out.

That makes one of you.

Professor of Law Kerr (if that in fact is his title despite his admitted use of a blatantly false business card) has my sympathies.
7.9.2008 1:31pm
Brian Mac:
This is an impressively long thread, given that there seems to be only one person in the world who cares about the issue.
7.9.2008 1:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
plr:

That makes one of you.


I'm obviously making an assumption, and it's based on the fact that many people in this thread (i.e., almost everyone who has spoken in this thread) have challenged Dyer's statements. You should explain your basis for making the contrary assumption.
7.9.2008 2:16pm
tvk:
Brian Mac, it is indeed. I have no illusions that we can convert Mr. Dyer. And we are not really trying to defend Obama's honor here, since I am not even sure I will vote for Obama; and several commentators have stated they will not. But it helps keep the VC a good blog if outrageous positions get refuted, if nothing else by consensus.

Bill Dyer, you accuse me of distorting your views, but point to nothing that actually did so. Instead, you have twisted and turned at basically every post seeking to support your indefensible partisan position.

Your newest position seems to be that people who "orally referred to themselves as 'professors' when they were 'lecturers' or 'adjuncts'" are OK if they "submit written credentials that were available to all the members of the committee which contained their actual job titles." The refutation practically writes itself, since Obama's full resume with the formal job title is freely available on the University of Chicago website, which is available to just about any voter who is inclined to be pedantic about the matter. And again, you still have not refuted my point that, by your standard, George Washington was lying when he referred to himself as a "general"; since of course he was a Major-General and not a full General.

Indeed, according to you, presidential candidates must be committing resume fraud all the time. For example, John McCain is frequently referred to as a "fighter pilot" during the Vietnam war (I would be surprised if he never refers to himself that way). Technically, he was not: he was a bomber pilot. So, is that resume fraud in your eyes?
7.9.2008 2:36pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Since Whit is here, who’s argued on a number of occasions that folks should have no qualms about speaking with the police (that it might very well get them out of suspicion rather than in suspicion for something), perhaps he and others would like to view the two videos shown here, by a lawyer and a policeman, who basically gloss in detail on the diktat by Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson that one should “make no statement to the police under any circumstances.”
7.9.2008 2:38pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
I’ve never been in the Navy, but as I understand it, McCain is no pilot at all, neither fighter nor bomber, but rather a naval aviator.
7.9.2008 3:12pm
LLVR:
I know PROF. Kerr is one of the more legitimately hipper bloggers on this board. But did anyone see it coming when he called "bullshit" on Dyer. I say he's now got the street cred of a union shop steward.
7.9.2008 3:13pm
Hoosier:
How about if we just agree that Obama was a "perfesser" and move on?
7.9.2008 3:31pm
Andrew Hyman (mail) (www):
It's pretty clear that Obama was a "professor" and not a "Professor." Some of the faculty had the formal title, and some did not. It's a very subtle and sometimes confusing distinction. If Obama is going around saying "I was a professor" then you have to wonder why he's doing it, since it would be just as easy for him to instead say "I taught law" or "I was a lecturer" etc. etc.

I'm not criticizing Obama for calling himself a professor, but it does make one wonder if he's doing it to fatten an otherwise thin resume.

Not that my resume is particularly impressive, of course! I'm just saying.
7.9.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
tvk:

John McCain is frequently referred to as a "fighter pilot" during the Vietnam war (I would be surprised if he never refers to himself that way). Technically, he was not: he was a bomber pilot.


A very interesting point. Yes, he was not a fighter pilot. He was a bomber pilot. Yet he is universally described as the former (by parties including Wesley Clark, Sen Rockefeller, LAT, Boston Globe and zillions of other papers).

In his web site bio, he doesn't use the terms "fighter pilot" or "bomber pilot," but he describes his missions correctly as bombing missions, not fighter missions.

However, his campaign has issued multiple press releases including quotes from others who describe him as a "fighter pilot" (example, example, example, example).

And his site hosts numerous articles which describe him as a "fighter pilot" (example, example, example, example, example, example, example, example, example).

How is this not a form of resume fraud?
7.9.2008 3:40pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
andrew:

If Obama is going around saying "I was a professor" then you have to wonder why he's doing it, since it would be just as easy for him to instead say "I taught law"


Funny you should put it that way. Here's how he said it in his official bio:

Soon after, he returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law.
7.9.2008 3:44pm
Andrew Hyman (mail) (www):
Excellent, I give an A+ for that. :-)
7.9.2008 3:58pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier,

"Only a dedicated conspiracy theorist could believe U of C Law School fabricated an eight year internet archive to cover for Obama's alleged exaggerating. "

That's just the tip of the iceberg, LM. You DO know that they are covering for Obama's culpability in the 9/11 plot, right?

Of course, but that's different. They're doing that mainly to cover their own part in 9/11, the same motive I suspect that explains Orin's implausible defense here of Obama.
7.9.2008 4:15pm
Hoosier:
Actually, McCain flew an "attack aircraft." And since there ain't no such phrase as an "attack pilot" . . .
7.9.2008 4:48pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Obviously, most of the commenters here have taken more interest in demonizing me than discussing the merits of what I've written. There's no point in my responding to that, other than to note, yet again, that they do so chiefly by misstating what I've written. (E.g., TVK writes: "Your newest position seems to be that people who 'orally referred to themselves as "professors" when they were "lecturers" or "adjuncts"' are OK if they 'submit written credentials that were available to all the members of the committee which contained their actual job titles.'" What I actually said was that if they'd submitted written, accurate credentials, then "in [that] case there was not likely any actual confusion caused by their imprecision." Similarly, if Barack Obama were to put a copy of the credentials page from his website into the hands of everyone who heard him exaggerate his job on TV, then they'd have a more accurate description and be less likely to be confused. That, of course, hasn't happened, and won't.) Much as I'd like to get into a further argument about whether the A-1 Skyraiders and A-4 Skyhawks, formally designated an "attack aircraft" by the Navy, could also be considered "fighter-bombers," or whether Gen. Washington deceived the American public, who elected him by acclamation, regarding his precise military rank, or whether John Kerry was likely to be shot at during Swift Boat training at Twenty-nine Palms Naval Station — I think I'll pass.

Prof. Kerr: Thank you for the polite responses, and the gift of your bandwidth and this forum for discussion. I continue to believe that you are a prince among law professors. It has not been my personal experience that your profession is as unconscious of status as you describe. And I wasn't attempting to make any argument as to whether law review editors prefer to publish assistant versus associate professors, but only that they are "plugged in" to such distinctions. But there's no point in quibbling further over that sort of thing. To the extent your standards for political candidates' appropriate honesty and ethics in self-representation of credentials and my own may differ — I'm still not sure whether they do — I certainly do not mean to imply that yours are lacking, no more than I expect you'd want to be read as implying that Prof. Althouse's are excessive for characterizing Obama's statement as an "embellishment." And I congratulate you on your newly won street cred.
7.9.2008 4:55pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Lawman5000: I did misread your comment. I apologize.
7.9.2008 5:04pm
LM (mail):
Bill Dyer:

"Scrupulously accurate" in a Queen of Hearts, "words mean what I say they mean" sense only, LM.

What I say is irrelevant. It's what the University of Chicago Law School says and has said for 8 years.

These different titles signify different levels of accomplishment;

So do "intern," "resident in pediatrics" and "Board Certified surgeon," each of which is also accurately and properly called a "doctor."

Suppose instead of merely using the term in an attempt to build himself up in comparison to George W. Bush, Barack Obama had sent out a letter on Chicago Law School letterhead in which, under his typed name, he'd added "Constitutional Law Professor." Would that be okay?

No it wouldn't, for two reasons that distinguish it from anything I'm aware of Barack Obama ever having done:

1. It's understood that "under his typed name" is where you put a formal job title, not an informal job description. Obama's formal title was "Senior Lecturer in Law."

2. "Constitutional Law Professor" is neither a formal title nor an informal description, so there's no way that particular construction could be technically accurate. If, however, in the body of the letter Obama said something like, "As you know, I'm a Constitutional Law professor here at Chicago..." that would be perfectly appropriate.

I have to say, Bill, the position you're taking here reminds me of Terry McAuliffe on the night Obama clinched the nomination, introducing Hillary Clinton as "the next President of the United States." The broad perception was that he didn't believe that, everyone knew he didn't believe it, and he knew everyone knew he didn't believe it. Such perceptions can be wrong, so maybe you do believe what you're saying here. My point is just that there are some positions so transparently flimsy that to continue standing behind them announces only your partisan affiliation. Nothing more.
7.9.2008 5:24pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Dyer misstates the formality of a presidential campaign. While it is a job interview in a sense, we expect a certain level of informality from the candidates. If Obama said he was a "lecturer," it would sound elitist and out of touch. So, he used the common definition of "professor."

Sometimes, the weakness of your attack merely demonstrates that you don't have any real arguments.
7.9.2008 6:24pm
kidblue:
Amazingly. Tenacity for its own sake. Stubbornness in the face of an overwhelmingly better argument.

I suspect Mr. Dyer would annoy me even more in real life than he did here.
7.9.2008 7:15pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

Obama supporters here have been saying they hope the GOP will use this as an issue.

I do too, but in a different way. McCain should make a point of referring to him as "Professor Obama" whenever he gets a chance. That should just about kill any chance Obama has of winning in November.

You may be right, but I'd assume (hope) you wouldn't feel good about it.
7.9.2008 11:29pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

McCain flew an "attack aircraft."


He flew the A-4 Skyhawk. Yes, this is often called an "attack aircraft." An attack aircraft can have characteristics of a bomber or a fighter. But the A-4 Skyhawk was a bomber, and that's how it was used over Vietnam, and that's the kind of mission McCain flew.

One clue that it's a bomber is to notice how Boeing describes it:

A4D/A-4 Skyhawk Light Attack Bomber; Douglas built 2,960 Skyhawks between 1954 and 1979. Built small to be cost effective and so that more could be accommodated on a carrier, the lightweight, high-speed bombers were affectionately nicknamed "Heinemann's Hot Rod" (after Douglas designer Ed Heinemann), the Bantam Bomber, Mighty Mite and Scooter. Skyhawks provided the U.S. Navy and Marines and friendly nations with maneuverable, yet powerful, attack bombers that had great altitude and range capabilities, plus an unusual flexibility in armament capacity. … Its combat career began with the first American carrier-launched raids on North Vietnam, Aug. 4, 1964.


(Emphasis added, above and below.) Here's how another source describes the way the plane was used in Vietnam:

Skyhawks were the Navy's primary light bomber over both North Vietnam during the early years of the Vietnam War


And this is consistent with what McCain says in his official campaign bio:

McCain … launched a 22-year career as a naval aviator … On July 29 1967, John narrowly survived the first of many near-death experiences during his lifetime while preparing to take off on a bombing mission over North Vietnam … During his 23rd bombing mission on October 26, 1967, a missile struck John's plane and forced him to eject


From a layman's perspective, bombers are big and fighters are small. So a Skyhawk looks like a fighter. But it's actually a small, light bomber.

McCain wasn't a fighter pilot. He was a bomber pilot. But the former term has more glamour and panache (Top Gun!), so somehow that's what he became. Not just a naval aviator, or a pilot: a "fighter pilot." There are countless examples of him being described that way.

I think it's interesting that I can't find a single example of McCain explicitly calling himself a fighter pilot. But his web site is packed with examples of other people doing this for him (above I cited about a dozen examples). This strikes me as quite disingenuous. I think he wants it said, and he won't correct anyone who says it, and he'll gladly quote anyone who says it. But he also realizes he mustn't be caught saying it.
7.10.2008 1:11am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Ground Attack Aircraft:

A number of names have or are used for ground-attack aircraft: attack aircraft, fighter-bomber, tactical fighter, tank-buster, tactical bomber, strafer, strike aircraft etc.


(Emphasis mine.)

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk:

Armament consisted of two 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannon, one in each wing root, with 200 rounds per gun, plus a large variety of bombs, rockets and missiles carried on a hardpoint under the fuselage centerline and hardpoints under each wing (originally one per wing, later two)....

The A-4's nimble performance also made it suitable to replace the F-4 Phantom II when the Navy downsized their aircraft for the Blue Angels demonstration team until the availability of the F/A-18 Hornet in the 1980s. The last US Navy Skyhawks, TA-4J models belonging to composite squadron VC-8, remained in military use for target-towing and as adversary aircraft for combat training at Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads....

Skyhawks were the Navy's primary light bomber over North Vietnam during the early years of the Vietnam War while the USAF was flying the supersonic F-105 Thunderchief. They would be supplanted by the A-7 Corsair II in the Navy light bomber role. Skyhawks carried out some of the first air strikes by the US during the conflict and a Marine Skyhawk is believed to have dropped the last US bombs on the country. Notable naval aviators who flew the Skyhawk included LCdr. Everett Alvarez Jr., Cdr. John McCain, and Vice Admiral James Stockdale. On 1 May 1967, an A-4C Skyhawk piloted by LCDR Theodore R. Swartz of VA-76 aboard the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard, shot down a Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 with an unguided Zuni rocket in the Skyhawk's only air-to-air victory of the war....

With renewed emphasis on Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) training brought on with the establishment of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in 1968, the availability of A-4 Skyhawks in both the Instrument RAGs and Composite Squadrons at the Master Jet Bases presented a ready resource of the nimble Skyhawks that had become the TOPGUN preferred surrogate for the MiG-17. At the time, the F-4 Phantom was just being exploited to its full potential as a fighter and had not performed as well as expected against the smaller North Vietnamese MiG-17 and MiG-21 opponents. TOPGUN introduced the notion of dissimilar air combat training (DACT) using the A-4E in the striped "Mongoose" configuration with fixed slats....


(Emphasis mine.)

So: McCain flew an attack aircraft, a synonym for which is "fighter-bomber." In addition to bombs and rockets to attack ground targets, it carried guns and missiles for air-to-air combat. Its primary mission was indeed bombing, but on at least one occasion during the war an A-4 shot down an enemy plane, and it was later used to simulate Russian fighters in the Navy's TopGun program.

From these facts, Jukebox projects onto Sen. McCain a burning, but well-hidden desire to misrepresent himself as a quote-unquote "fighter pilot." I suppose that this is offered as a counterpoint, in some respect, to the question of whether McCain is somehow equally as guilty as I have argued Sen. Obama to be for misrepresenting his status in his actual public statements.

I think one can, in good faith and conscience, disagree with me as to whether Sen. Obama's actual statements were accurate or not. I fail to see how jukebox's intuiting of Sen. McCain's supposed desire to say something he's not documented to have ever said is remotely comparable. I leave to the undecided readers — probably an entirely hypothetical category at this point — to decide which commenters here, if any, have been driven to hyper-partisan derangement.
7.10.2008 1:44am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

most of the commenters here have taken more interest in demonizing me than discussing the merits of what I've written


Poor baby. When you stand up in public and tell lies, the odds are high that someone will point out that you're a liar. And bring proof, based on "what [you've] written."

they do so chiefly by misstating what I've written


Nice job showing this many examples of me "misstating" what you've written: zero.

Much as I'd like to get into a further argument about whether the A-1 Skyraiders and A-4 Skyhawks, formally designated an "attack aircraft" by the Navy …


The Skyhawk was "formally designated an 'attack aircraft' by the Navy?" Really? Let's put aside the fact that even if this were true, it doesn't come anywhere close to addressing the issue (that McCain wasn't a fighter pilot). Let's instead ponder the fact that you are so inclined to invent facts that you do so even when they are worthless to your argument.

On the Navy site, I can find exactly one example of the Skyhawk being placed in a category:

Four Douglas A-4 Skyhawk attack bombers


That citation supports my argument: McCain flew a bomber, not a fighter.

You put "attack aircraft" in quotes, as if the Navy has used that exact phrase. On the Navy site, there are a grand total of three pages which contain that phrase, and also contain the word "skyhawk." Of those pages, this is how many actually declare ("formally" or otherwise) that the Skyhawk is an "attack aircraft:" zero.

So helpfully you'll tell us about your secret source which told you what the Navy "formally designated."
7.10.2008 3:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

or whether John Kerry was likely to be shot at during Swift Boat training at Twenty-nine Palms Naval Station


There is no such thing as "Twenty-nine Palms Naval Station." Twentynine Palms is a very large Marine base in southern California. Given that it's in the Mojave Desert, it's exceedingly unlikely that any "Swift Boat training" ever went on there. As far as I can tell, Kerry never stepped foot there. He was trained in San Diego.

But you're raising this as a pure diversion. You've been caught telling a lie, and now you're trying to hide from your lie by telling more lies. What you're doing now is pretending you don't understand the difference between time Kerry spent in CA and time he spent in Vietnam. You said this:

then less than a quarter of his projected one-year tour as a Swift Boat commander


You claimed that Kerry served as a swiftboat commander for "less than a quarter" of a year. Let's review some basic dates. From Corsi:

Kerry's "second tour of duty" in Vietnam began on Nov. 17, 1968, when he arrived in Vietnam and reported for duty to Coastal Squadron One, Coastal Division 14, at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam.


Kerry won a medal in connection with events that took place on 12/2/68. He also won a medal in connection with events that took place on 3/13/69. He left Vietnam in April, after being there for about 4 1/2 months. He was "a Swift Boat commander" during almost this entire period.

What's the basis for your claim that he was "a Swift Boat commander" for less than 3 months? I realize we'll get the answer to this right around the same time you explain your other bogus claims. Like your claim that Obama "denied that he's the author of any of the unsigned student notes published" in HLR. Or your claim that HLR members are expected to write signed articles.
7.10.2008 3:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

on at least one occasion during the war an A-4 shot down an enemy plane


There you go again, proving what a blatantly transparent hack you are. Your source doesn't say it happened "on at least one occasion." Your source mentioned "the Skyhawk's only air-to-air victory of the war" (emphasis added). You have absolutely no excuse for implying it may have happened on any other occasion (which is exactly what you're doing when you say "at least"), since your only source is telling us that it happened exactly this many times: once.

A stopped clock is right twice a day, and every so often (once in the entire war) a Skyhawk bomber acts like a fighter. That doesn't mean the Skyhawk is a fighter, and it doesn't make McCain a fighter pilot. It's sort of like this: the fact that some of your statements are truthful doesn't make you not a liar.

McCain flew an attack aircraft, a synonym for which is "fighter-bomber."


More pure hackery. You found a wiki article that describes the Skyhawk as an "attack aircraft," and then you found another wiki article which indicates that some "attack aircraft" are sometimes described as a "fighter-bomber." Trouble is, you have this many references describing the Skyhawk as a "fighter-bomber:" zero (likewise for the number of references describing it as a "fighter"). The Skyhawk is universally described as either a bomber, or an attack bomber (and for the purpose of this discussion there is no difference).

Its primary mission was indeed bombing


Bombing wasn't the Skyhawk's "primary" mission. Bombing was its only mission. That's why Boeing called it a "bomber." And that's why McCain's bio refers to his missions as "bombing" missions. So therefore it makes perfect sense to call McCain a "fighter pilot," right? And this is what you mean when you use the term "scrupulously ethical," right?

projects onto Sen. McCain a burning, but well-hidden desire to misrepresent himself as a quote-unquote "fighter pilot"


His web site is packed with references to that term, which tends to create the impression that his desire is indeed "burning," and also not particularly "well-hidden."

Sen. McCain's supposed desire to say something


If I hosted on my web site a diverse collection of sources that described Bill Dyer as an 'incorrigible fabricator,' it would indeed be fair to infer that this corresponded to my "desire to say something," even if I had some fairly obvious reason to prefer to let others say it for me.

If McCain was "scrupulously ethical," he would correct people who addressed him as a "fighter pilot." Instead, he collects examples of this and displays them on his web site.

It's exceedingly easy to find dictionaries that define 'professor' as 'a teacher at a college.' Only in the magic GOP dictionary is 'figher pilot' defined as 'someone who flies bombing missions in a bomber.'
7.10.2008 3:52am
Hoosier:
jukebox--You're letting Dyer get to you.

I've said above, a few times I suppose, that Obama was a "professor" in every sense but the narrow, academia-bound ranking system.

But "attack plane" and "fighter-bomber" have been used more or less interchangably for quite some time. And in the common parlance--which is how I also defend Obama's title--any plane that takes off from a carrier with missiles under its wings is some sort of "fighter."
7.10.2008 3:59pm
Hoosier:
LM: "You may be right, but I'd assume (hope) you wouldn't feel good about it."

Sorry to say so--you have no idea HOW sorry I am--but anyone who has been an academic should be barred from serving as president. And perhaps should be sterilized.

Too late for me on the latter matter. But I'm surrounded by people who think they could do better than FDR/Truman/Ike/Reagan/Bush I et al. And I have yet to meet a colleague who I'd support.

Buckley's comment about choosing to be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone directory than by that faculty of Harvard was witty when he said it. But I literally--LITERALLY--would choose his option.
7.10.2008 4:04pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Jukebox: You're delusional, friend. I'm not arguing that McCain is entitled to call himself a "fighter pilot." I'm arguing that you're unethical. The wiki page I quoted, friend, with the fighter-bomber language was one you previously linked, but ignored the fighter-bomber reference in. Yes, one of us is indeed being selective about sources. Now I understand why one of us doesn't bother to respond to comments left on the other's website anymore because one of us has concluded that the other is a troll.

McCain hasn't called himself a fighter pilot. Obama has called himself a professor. Now, regardless of whether it was or wasn't okay for Obama to call himself a professor, it's stupid to argue about whether McCain could or couldn't call himself a fighter pilot, when he hasn't.

End of discussion, please. Go inflict yourself on someone else.
7.10.2008 5:53pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

You're letting Dyer get to you


Nah. I think you know me well enough to realize that I take pleasure in this. And he makes such a good example, for so many reasons. He showed his stripes years ago (if your browser doesn't automatically scroll to the correct comment, it's at Nov 21, 2004, 6:07:51 PM), so I saw him coming from a mile away.

"attack plane" and "fighter-bomber" have been used more or less interchangably for quite some time


Let me review some basic terminology, starting with a very helpful sentence from here:

Fighter-bombers (also called tactical fighters, strike fighters, and attack fighters) are multi-role combat aircraft which can (at least theoretically) be equipped for either air-to-air combat or air-to-ground combat.


It really boils down to this: am I attacking a target on the ground? Then I'm a bomber. Am I attacking a target that's flying? Then I'm a fighter. So the crucial distinction is air-to-air combat as compared with air-to-ground combat.

Typical bombers are large and not too precise. This is especially a problem when friendly forces are on the ground near the target. So we created small bombers. These are called "attack aircraft." Some of these planes are also sometimes called "fighter-bombers" because they are small, like fighters. Therefore they can sometimes be equipped as fighters and used as fighters. They can have a dual role, in other words.

Trouble is, the Skyhawk, as used in Vietnam and as flown by McCain, was a bomber, period. It was not a fighter-bomber. Because it's small, and flies from carriers, and looks like a fighter, it's easy for a layman to think that it's a fighter. But it's not. A fighter attacks targets in the air. McCain and his Skyhawk attacked targets on the ground. That's called "bombing." The mission is different, the aircraft is different, the weapons are different, and the training is different.

If you choose to stand at an arbitrarily great distance, you can lump it all together and say it's 'airplanes that use explosives to break things and hurt people.' But then you should call him a military pilot, not a fighter pilot.

By the way, one way to tell if a plane is a fighter is to look for the "F" in the name. Like F-15. The Skyhawk was designated A-4. That "A" stands for "attack." An attack aircraft is basically a light, small bomber. When a plane is truly dual-purpose, and properly called a fighter-bomber, then it's tagged with both the F and the A. An example is the F/A-18 Hornet: "a modern all-weather carrier-capable strike fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets."

If the A-4 was truly a fighter-bomber (i.e., "designed to attack both ground and aerial targets"), then it would have been called the F/A-4. But it wasn't a fighter-bomber. It was an attack aircraft, which basically means 'light, small bomber.'

in the common parlance … any plane that takes off from a carrier with missiles under its wings is some sort of "fighter"


I see your point, but it really depends on how you want to define "common parlance," and it depends on context, and it depends on how far you're willing to stretch things. It's actually true that actual dictionaries define 'professor' as 'teacher at a college.' (It's not the only definition, but it's a common definition.) But I cannot find any dictionary or reference that defines 'fighter plane' as "any plane that takes off from a carrier with missiles under its wings." (It would really help me if you could find such a thing, anywhere at all. Like anywhere in pop culture. Even in a comic book.) That's not what 'fighter plane' means, in common parlance or any other parlance. "Fighter plane" means 'a plane designed to attack flying targets, i.e., air-to-air combat.' And a fighter pilot is someone who engages in air-to-air combat.

Here's one nice definition:

A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for attacking other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets by dropping bombs.


If you read the rest of the 7,000-word article, aircraft carriers are mentioned this many times: zero. Another nice general definition is here. Again, carriers aren't mentioned. Another nice general definition is here. Carriers are mentioned very briefly ("they are flown from both land bases and aircraft carriers").

Those definitions are helpfully long. Here's one that's helpfully short:

an aircraft designed to seek out and destroy enemy aircraft in the air and to protect bomber aircraft.


Again, taking off from a carrier is most definitely not the central idea. It's mentioned either barely or not at all, in every definition I can find. The central idea is air-to-air combat.

Sure, if I grabbed 100 people off the street and showed them a picture of a Skyhawk landing on a carrier, and I said 'is that a fighter plane,' I realize most of them would probably say 'yes.' But most of them probably couldn't find Iraq on a map, so I don't see that this means anything, one way or another.

I mentioned context. Let's consider that. When Kerry to decided to run on his war record, your party decided it was fair and proper to examine his wounds with a microscope, almost literally. A great deal of ink was spilled analyzing how much of his blood was or was not spilled.

Similarly, in 2000 it was your party that decided to make a very big deal out of the idea that Gore said he "invented" the internet, even though that's not what he said. Likewise for the fascinating questions about whether or not Clinton had sex with that woman. Or whether or not Clinton inhaled.

So long before Dyer decided to show up here and be embarrassingly pedantic about the word "professor," your party had already set a new standard for approaching politics in that manner. You made your bed, and you should now be prepared to lie in it (and for people like Dyer, the word "lie" is well-chosen).

McCain is most definitely running on his war record. He is also most definitely running on the idea of "straight talk." And the term "fighter pilot" is being used ubiquitously, by just about everyone. That darn liberal media. And I demonstrated that McCain has embraced the term, while also being savvy enough to let others say it for him. And the underlying issue is that "fighter pilot" simply has a lot more cachet than "bomber pilot" or "navy pilot" or "jet pilot" or just "pilot." I think the public perceives (either rightly or wrongly) that hitting a target on the ground is just not as hard or as dangerous as hitting a target that's flying. No one would understand the public view of this better than Hollywood, and it was no accident that they presented Tom Cruise as a heroic fighter pilot, rather than a heroic bomber pilot. Trouble is, McCain was the latter, not the former, because his job was to hit targets on the ground, not hit targets in the air. It's that simple.

What bugs me the most about this is that it would be very easy for McCain to defuse all this. He has exactly the right personality to do it in a charmingly self-deprecating manner. I think it would be a net win for him. It's something he could have and should have done years ago. But he seems to be simply too small to do that. And this fits with other signs of smallness, like the way he treated his first wife. So I see this "fighter pilot" business as important and revealing information about his character.

Dyer also revealed a lot about his character, but that was information I already had.
7.10.2008 7:51pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

I'm not arguing that McCain is entitled to call himself a "fighter pilot."


Then it must be another dyer who made a bunch of statements before like this one:

McCain flew an attack aircraft, a synonym for which is "fighter-bomber."


It's hard to understand why someone who was "not arguing that McCain is entitled to call himself a 'fighter pilot' " would bother trying to convince anyone that McCain's plane was some kind of 'fighter.' I can't imagine any other purpose. Except if your purpose was to make a fool of yourself.

The wiki page I quoted, friend, with the fighter-bomber language was one you previously linked, but ignored the fighter-bomber reference in.


Indeed. I ignored lots of irrelevant information on that wiki page, including "the fighter-bomber language." And I already explained why it's not relevant: the plane McCain flew is not a "fighter-bomber." You insist on pretending that "attack plane" and "fighter-bomber" are perfect synonyms. They're not. Some attack planes are fighter-bombers, and some are not. The Skyhawk is in the latter category.

Yes, one of us is indeed being selective about sources


If you have a source that describes the Skyhawk as a "fighter," and claims that we used it as such in Vietnam (outside of literally one aberrant occasion), and that McCain flew fighter missions (either primarily or ever), and not bombing missions, then I'd love to see it. So far you've presented this many such sources: zero. Likewise for a long list of other bogus claims you've made (some of which I summarized at the end of my comment here).

Now I understand why one of us doesn't bother to respond to comments left on the other's website anymore


Huh? It took you until "now" to understand why you acted like a coward in 2004? Very logical. And your "anymore" implies that you had ever made any remotely substantive response to my comments back then. Another brazen lie.

Aside from that, the problem with what you did here (if your browser doesn't automatically scroll to the correct comment, it's at Nov 21, 2004, 6:07:51 PM) is not that you didn't "bother to respond to comments" I left. The problem is that you repeatedly made a commitment, and then you utterly and completely failed to meet that commitment. Which proves that your original "challenge" was nothing but a bluff. I called your bluff, so you cut and run. Just like you're doing now. Some things never change.

one of us has concluded that the other is a troll


I realize you're using the magic GOP dictionary, where 'troll' is defined as 'anyone who uses facts and reason to prove that I'm full of it.'

McCain hasn't called himself a fighter pilot.


The term is either correct or not. If it's correct, then it's hard to understand why McCain (as far as we can tell) doesn't use it. If it isn't correct, then it's hard to understand why he's very happy to promote the statement when it's used by others.

it's stupid to argue about whether McCain could or couldn't call himself a fighter pilot, when he hasn't


He has indeed done it, by proxy. And aside from that, it's not just a question of evaluating his judgment, with regard to his use (direct or indirect) of the statement. It's a question of evaluating the judgment of the many, many people (including that darn liberal media) who use the statement.

Go inflict yourself on someone else.


No one ever held a gun to your head and compelled you to read anything I've written, about you or about anything else. Let alone respond. So the damage to your credibility is entirely self-inflicted. But I realize this is your way of telling us that you're not going to even begin to explain the many bogus statements you've made in this thread, which I've documented in detail.

And just for the sake of nostalgia, here's one that's worth mentioning again. You said that Obama "denied that he's the author of any of the unsigned student notes published" in HLR. When are you going to show us the quotation of him (or his representatives) saying that?

I'd also love to know how you know that Kerry spent only "six weeks" in combat.

There are numerous other indications that you are a serial fabricator.
7.10.2008 7:51pm
CDR D (mail):
This is dizzying.

Are "fighter" pilots more worthy than "bomber" pilots?

Or is it the other way 'round?

I sure wouldn't want to be the one to explain it to the surviving families of either type whose loved died in a fireball.

Sick.
7.10.2008 8:12pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Jukebox: I retract everything I've said about you.

I don't blog or comment anonymously, my identity is clear, and so I invite you to use this comment as my personal endorsement of you for a high-level position — Director of Communications, I would think, at the least — in the Obama Campaign. Good luck to you both!
7.10.2008 8:13pm
LM (mail):
CDR D:

Are "fighter" pilots more worthy than "bomber" pilots?

It's not a question of worthiness. It's about the unconscious associations raised by the terms. Would you prefer a President who's a fighter or a bomber?
7.10.2008 9:01pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>It's not a question of worthiness. It's about the unconscious associations raised by the terms. Would you prefer a President who's a fighter or a bomber?

***

Well, since I consider myself "conscious", I cannot make that distinction on merely word associations. Duke Cunningham was a fighter pilot, but so was Joe Foss. George McGovern, while not a pilot, flew in bombers... as did Joe McCarthy (or so he claimed).

All things being equal, though, I would prefer either type to a "perfesser".

(Well, except for maybe VC "perfessers") ;-)
7.10.2008 9:32pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

But I'm surrounded by people who think they could do better than FDR/Truman/Ike/Reagan/Bush I et al. And I have yet to meet a colleague who I'd support.

I've yet to meet anyone anywhere who (1) could do the job well, (2) would be willing to do what's required to win and be effective, and (3) I'd support. So if by "support" you mean all three of those, then I'd be surprised to have met such a person, whether in our out of academia. The peculiar set of qualities it takes for the first two, when overlapped with what I find personally admirable, is almost definitively a null set. But if you're parsing the conditions, I've known plenty of people, both in and out of academia, I'd support for their personal integrity and their wisdom, and in a few cases even their leadership quality, but few if any of them could be successful politicians, and none of them would want to.

Where you and I may differ is that having spent healthy stretches of my life among the working, academic (as a student) and professional classes, I don't see any of them as having a leg up (or down) on either of the others when it comes to these matters.
7.10.2008 9:41pm
PLR:
Quoting jukeboxgrad, re "that makes one of you":
plr:I'm obviously making an assumption, and it's based on the fact that many people in this thread (i.e., almost everyone who has spoken in this thread) have challenged Dyer's statements. You should explain your basis for making the contrary assumption.

So as not to leave you hanging, my "contrary assumption" was that there could not possibly be that many more people on a single internet forum who were anxiously awaiting yet another post from Mr. Dyer.

Your later post suggested that this is a hobby of yours, and I trust the two of you find it enjoyable.
7.10.2008 9:41pm
LM (mail):
CDR D,

You, I and most others here may not be the most likely constituencies to be swayed by such questions.
7.10.2008 9:44pm
Hoosier:
jukebox--Oh dear. Your response to my comment was . . . mmm . . . "long."

I'm not really that interested in the "perfesser"/"fighter pilot" debate. But your comments about the nasty stuff "my party" has done in the past don't lead me to conclude that you are being much more objective than Dyer.

It was not "my party" that said Clinton did not have "sexual relations" with "that woman." It was Clinton. And he was lying. In addition to which, he had gained the strong support of groups like NOW in 1992. I don't think I need to remind you about their rather strong advocacy of workplace sexual harassment codes. Live by the, umm, sword, die by the sword.

Did he "inhale"? First, that was HIS comment, in response to a question from a journalist, not a Republican operative. And, secondly, what a damned stoooopid thing to say. Why leave that one alone, when Letterman and Leno wouldn't?

Gore? Quote: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet." Pretty darned close. Using your approach (above), I'm sure that I could find "invent" as a synonym for "create" in a thesaurus without much trouble. Gore did what Gore does: He overstated his role in something that he thought would make him sound presidential. He got burned. It's not our fault Gore was Gore.

Kerry? Yeah. He was in Indian country during the Vietnam War. Neither Bush nor Cheney were. But he was also an incredibly bad candidate: He voted AGAINST the first Gulf War, and IN FAVOR of the second. Not my idea of a commander-in-chief. So I'm not crying about his loss.

One odd point: "I think the public perceives (either rightly or wrongly) that hitting a target on the ground is just not as hard or as dangerous as hitting a target that's flying. "

Is THIS what you think McCain is seeking to achieve by failing to say "Hey, I was NOT a fighter pilot"?

Don't you think that the American people are smart enough to understand that a guy who gets shot down, breaks multiple limbs, is held for 5 1/2 years, and is tortured by the Vietn Mihn, but who refused to go home due to the impact this would have on morale, was in a "dangerous" situation? Saying that the plane that got shot out from under him was not a "fighter" doesn't seem to detract from his heroism.

And this is not even to mention the Forrestal fire, his heroic attempt to rescue a fellow aviator uring that tragedy, and the serious injuries he sustained as a result.

Nor the crashes of his A-1s.

Wow.

When I put it that way, he is a real HERO. Amazing.

So what's your guy done?
7.10.2008 10:29pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cdr:

Are "fighter" pilots more worthy than "bomber" pilots?


Fighters are more powerful (expressed as a ratio to weight), and can do maneuvers that bombers can't do. And achieve speeds that bombers generally can't achieve. It also seems obvious, at least from the perspective of a layman, that hitting a target flying through the air at great speed (i.e., the enemy aircraft) is inherently more challenging than hitting a target on the ground, since the target on the ground is probably not moving at all (like a building) or moving relatively slowly (like a convoy of trucks). And targets on the ground are part of a reality that is mostly two-dimensional, while targets in the air are in a 3D reality.

In other words, I think there is a public perception that fighter pilots are the top (Gun) of the profession. And whether that perception is correct or not is not really the issue.

I sure wouldn't want to be the one to explain it to the surviving families of either type whose loved died in a fireball.


That's something else that is not really the issue.

If the one who "died in a fireball" is the person whose job it is to wipe a rag on the A-4's windshield, or check the tire pressure, I still "sure wouldn't want to be the one to explain … to the surviving families" that his job was less challenging than the pilot's job. He did have a less challenging job, but he is still a hero. Nevertheless, when the resumes of presidential candidates are compared, the one that says "fighter pilot" has a definite advantage over the one that says "windshield-rag technician."

Similarly, I think "fighter pilot" carries an advantage over "bomber pilot" or "navy pilot" or "jet pilot" or just "pilot." And even if you have a different opinion about the relative advantages of these labels, it is still wrong to say "fighter pilot" (either directly or by proxy) if it's not true. And it's not true.

All things being equal, though, I would prefer either type to a "perfesser".


That's no surprise, if you're a fan of the guy who liked to brag about being a C student. One of the many remarkable things about the modern GOP is its naked contempt for education. Bush is always delighted to put his rampant anti-intellectualism on display, like when he announced that bad grades lead to success (text, video).

We all realize that Obama takes a risk by admitting that he was once a professor. This itself is a pretty vivid indication of how anti-intellectual our culture has become.
7.11.2008 12:20am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

I retract everything I've said about you.


It would be hard to think of anything I care about less than what you've said about me. I pay little or no attention to it. What's important are your multiple bogus statements on factual matters. Those are the statements you need to either retract or explain. It's clear you will do neither. That's because you're a partisan hack.

I don't blog or comment anonymously, my identity is clear


Nice job tossing in a complete red herring. You're implying there's something dishonorable about anonymous blogging. There isn't. There are good reasons for it. If you disagree, start a movement. You'll only need to eliminate about 90% of all comments on all blogs.

My identity would matter only if I were expecting readers to accept my words at face value, or based on my reputation as a known expert in a particular field. But I don't do anything like that. Unlike you, I show proof to back up my assertions.

You have pointed out a difference between us, but it's an unimportant difference. Here's a much more important difference: I'm honest and you're not. And I don't expect anyone to accept this assertion at face value. I have shown proof for this assertion.
7.11.2008 12:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lm:

Would you prefer a President who's a fighter or a bomber?


There are signs that McCain see advantages in both. After all, he's the one who said "bomb bomb Iran."

But it's really true that the word "fighter" has heavily positive connotations, and the word "bomb" has some negative ones. To 'bomb' is to fail.
7.11.2008 12:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
plr:

my "contrary assumption"


I grossly misinterpreted you. My mistake. Sorry.

Your later post suggested that this is a hobby of yours


That word describes it as well as any other I can think of.

I trust the two of you find it enjoyable.


I can only guess about dyer, but I assume he's having the time of his life.

As for me, compared with most of what I manage to find on teevee, the stuff here is much funnier. And that includes the stuff that's intentionally funny, as well as the other kind. And the other kind tends to get funnier when I poke at it.
7.11.2008 12:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

Your response to my comment was . . . mmm . . . "long."


You know the old saying. I'm sorry I didn't have time to write you a short letter.

It was not "my party" that said Clinton did not have "sexual relations" with "that woman." It was Clinton. And he was lying.


True. But it was your party that decided to make a very big deal out of it. What someone described as "Kenneth Starr's $70 million bag of garbage." Personally, I think these lies deserve at least that much careful, sustained, professional, front-page attention:

- we found the weapons of mass destruction
- he wouldn't let them in
- a wiretap requires a court order

he had gained the strong support of groups like NOW in 1992


True. But I don't remember them as the key political force behind Starr. That force was these letters: GOP.

By the way, just for the record, I have never voted for anyone named Clinton or Gore. And I have voted in every national election since 1976.

Why leave that one ['inhale'] alone, when Letterman and Leno wouldn't?


Because there are more important things to talk about.
7.11.2008 12:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Gore … overstated his role [in the internet]


According to you. Not according to Vincent Cerf:

[Gore] deserves significant credit for his early recognition of the importance of what has become the Internet. … Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the
Internet and to promote and support its development.

… as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over
a longer period of time.

… there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening.

… As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an "Interagency Network." …

…No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.


Let the swiftboating begin. Forget the fact that Cerf and Kahn were truly inventors of the internet. Maybe they once gave money to a Democrat, so obviously they are terrorist-loving liars. And why trust the likes of them to describe the history of the internet, when you can get that history from Dick Armey.
7.11.2008 12:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
[Kerry] was also an incredibly bad candidate


Somehow 50.7% of us managed to elect the candidate who was even more "incredibly bad." But there is some consolation in the fact that the harm he did to the GOP is roughly as deep as the harm he did to the country.

Saying that the plane that got shot out from under him was not a "fighter" doesn't seem to detract from his heroism.


I agree with you. But the only way I can make sense of the facts is to conclude that McCain is too small to grasp this.

Nor the crashes of his A-1s.


Some people think that McCain crashed a lot of planes because he was a mediocre pilot.

he is a real HERO


I can sustain that view of him only when I ignore the way he treated his first wife.

what's your guy done?


He came from nothing and became something. I happen to place a great deal of importance on this. The very idea is quintessentially American. Someone else who did this is Clinton (and I think this fed the deep animosity toward him, in certain groups, for interesting psychological reasons). In contrast, Bush and McCain are both examples of people who were born on third base and are hoping you will think they hit a triple (and a lot of other GOP names could be added to that list, like Romney). They are both where they are despite the fact that they are fundamentally mediocre, in all the important ways. And when folks like that make a fuss about alleged 'elitism,' there's a word for that: chutzpah.

Here's something else Obama has done. He did something the GOP tried really hard to do for years, and couldn't do: defeat the Clinton machine. The way Obama ran his campaign shows very real skills in leadership, management and organization. Ironically, our first MBA president has been a flop in those areas. The country badly needs those skills at the top, and Obama has proven that he has them.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign continues to look like a train wreck. (There's a new example in the news pretty much every day, like Gramm today. But one classic example is here.) He will run the government as effectively as he runs his own campaign.
7.11.2008 12:22am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
X!
7.11.2008 7:09am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
That's a good start. Keep trying. If you continue those random pecks at the keyboard, eventually you'll come up with a direct, coherent statement taking responsibility for your shabby behavior. You can do it. We're rooting for you. Seriously. And if you want to speed things up, see if you can get some help from a roomful of monkeys.
7.11.2008 8:37am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
I just wanted to see how many words you'd spend to come up with the equivalent of "not X" if I wrote "x," Jukebox. Thanks for proving my point, and the many laughs.
7.11.2008 11:33am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
to come up with the equivalent of "not X"


You're very confused. What I said had nothing to do with trying "to come up with the equivalent of 'not X' ." That would mean that I was trying to show that your remark was wrong. But I was obviously not trying to show that your meaningless remark was wrong. That would be meaningless. I was just pointing out that your meaningless remark was meaningless. Duh.

You don't understand the difference between saying something wrong and saying something meaningless. That's no surprise, because it goes hand-in-hand with not caring about the difference between saying something true and saying something false.

Thanks for proving my point


Your point seems to be that I am inclined to speak up and mock you when you invite me to, by making a fool of yourself. I'll be happy to continue helping you to prove that point, as often as you like.

You're working really hard to try to direct attention away from the fact that you've been caught telling a bunch of lies. Your latest strategy is to say something meaningless. A slightly less foolish strategy would be to say nothing at all. After all, I assume you're the same dyer who said this, a while ago:

End of discussion


Promises, promises. You're giving us lots of proof that nothing you say should be taken seriously.
7.11.2008 12:18pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>In other words, I think there is a public perception that fighter pilots are the top (Gun) of the profession. And whether that perception is correct or not is not really the issue.<<<

I doubt most of the general public knows (or cares) about the difference between an A-4 and an F-4.

They probably don't know that fighters (F-100s, F-105s, and F-4s) were probably used in "attack" roles just as much, or more, than in air-to-air engagements.

Wild Weasels.
7.11.2008 5:40pm
LM (mail):

I doubt most of the general public knows (or cares) about the difference between an A-4 and an F-4.

That's a different question. The distinction between A-4 and F-4 goes to whether it would be accurate to call John McCain a fighter-pilot. (It wouldn't). The public perception, to the extent there is one, is only that it's more impressive to have been a fighter pilot. That perception doesn't imply familiarity with the factors which determine who was.
7.11.2008 6:16pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>The public perception, to the extent there is one, is only that it's more impressive to have been a fighter pilot.

****
If true, that's a shame.

***

Citation: Rank and organization: Captain (then Lieutenant Commander), of U.S. Navy Attack Squadron 192, operating from the USS Ticonderoga (CVA14). Place and date: Haiphong, North Vietnam, 20 and 26 April 1967. Entered Service at: Akron, Ohio. Born: 27 April 1931, Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. For conspicous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 20 and 26 April 1967 as an A-4 Skyhawk pilot in Attack Squadron One Hundred Ninty-two embarked in USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Leading a three plane flight in support of a coordinated strike against two thermal power plants in Haiphong, North Viet Nam, on 20 April 1967, Captain (then Lieutenant Commander) Estocin provided continuous warnings to the strike group leaders of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) threats, and personally neutralized three SAM sites. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by an exploding missile, he re-entered the target area and relentlessly prosecuted a Shrike attack in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire. With less than five minutes fuel remaining he departed the target area and commenced inflight refueling which continued for over 100 miles. Three miles aft of Ticonderoga, and without enough fuel for a second landing approach, he disengaged from the tanker and executed a precise approach to a fiery arrested landing. On 26 April 1967, in the support of a coordinated strike against the vital fuel facilities in Haiphong, Estocin led an attack on a threatening SAM site, during which his Skyhawk was seriously damaged by an exploding SAM missile; neverless, he regained control of his burning Skyhawk and courageously launched his Shrike missiles before departing the area.

***
7.11.2008 7:33pm
CDR D (mail):
For above citation go here:

http://www.medalofhonor.com/MichaelEstocin.htm
7.11.2008 7:37pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Thanks for that interesting citation.

There are lots of heros in a war, and only some of them are fighter pilots. Estocin and McCain did heroic things, even though they were not fighter pilots.

The question isn't, was McCain a hero. He was. The question is, was McCain a fighter pilot. He wasn't. Trouble is, he seems quite content to let lots of people describe him that way (and he likes to quote them when they do so), even though the description is incorrect. That's wrong.

There's another question: does the public in general perceive fighter pilots as having more prestige than other kinds of pilots? I think the answer, probably, is yes. Is it correct for the public to do this? Who knows. But these issues are separate from the issues I described in the prior paragraph. Regardless of what you think of fighter pilots, and regardless of what the public thinks of fighter pilots, it's wrong for McCain to describe himself (by proxy) as a fighter pilot. Because that's not what he was.
7.11.2008 8:49pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>There's another question: does the public in general perceive fighter pilots as having more prestige than other kinds of pilots? I think the answer, probably, is yes.

***

Maybe you do. I don't rank them like that.



>>>Is it correct for the public to do this?<<<

No.

My gawd, what would the public think if someone let on that he was a mere helicopter pilot?

http://www.medalofhonor.com/PatrickBrady.htm
7.11.2008 9:15pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Maybe you do. I don't rank them like that.


I respect your opinion. But I think you might be misunderstanding me, and there's a question I'd like you to answer (just because I'm mildly curious).

This is where you might be misunderstanding me: I haven't said that I personally find fighter pilots more impressive than, say, bomber pilots or helicopter pilots. I expressed my belief that the public feels that way. See the difference?

Similarly, you seem to be saying that you have equal respect for lots of different kinds of pilots. Fair enough. A very respectable position to take. But here's the question I'd like you to answer: what's your assessment of how the general public views this issue? Do you think the general public views the issue the way you do?

I'm asking only because I'm sincerely interested in your opinion. I hope I made the question clear.
7.11.2008 11:09pm
CDR D (mail):
Ok. Let me first say I agree McCain should correct any misrepresentation about the tyoe of aircraft he flew. If he is unaware of such, someone should inform him and advise him to cause the correction.

I do think the "public perception" angle is overblown. I don't think most people care one way or another.

On another forum I visit, a fellow was trying to diminish McCain's service by referring to him (mistakenly) as a prima donna "fighter jock" who never sees the real horror of war, but operates in a video game environment. When I corrected him on the aircraft type, he responded by acknowledging that and saying it didn't really matter, basically the same criticism applied, and, "...it ain't like he was a ground-pounder who had to look the enemy in the face or watch his buddies die."

So people are going to find what they want to find, no matter what.

I'll repeat, though, he should correct the erroneous information.

Now, I'm willing to let this thread sink below the horizon it's headed for.
7.12.2008 10:38am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
if he is unaware of such


It's hard to find an article about him that references his war experience without using the term "fighter pilot." There are probably hundreds of such references, if not thousands. And it's been that way for years. And the phrase is all over his web site. So I think there is zero chance that he is unaware of it.

he should correct the erroneous information


Yes. But it doesn't look like he's going to. And that darn liberal media is certainly not going to call on him to do so, since they love to call him a fighter pilot!
7.12.2008 1:37pm
futureplasticsurgeon (mail):
This is all so silly. Only academia and superficial folks strung out on semantics are concerned with such minor discrepancies. What do students call lecturers or senior lecturers, for that matter? Professor! So, if his students call refer to him as Professor Obama, should he not respond or correct them by saying "It's Senior Lecturer Obama to you"? Let it go and let's worry about things that really matter.
7.16.2008 2:20am