The New York Times profile of Obama’s mom: 6 takeaways

What other president has gone through such scrutiny?  What other president has had his family raked through the coals, demonized, villified and slandered, like President Barack Obama’s family, especially his mom?

For example: They claim she was raped.  They claim she was in Kenya when Obama was born.  They claimed that Frank Marshall Davis or Malcom X was Obama’s true father.  Many on the right also called her a commie.

The following takeaway from the New York Times profile of Stanley Dunham Sotero is quite benign in comparison to the short list of attacks listed above

All I can say is that President Barack Obama is a very strong man to have to listen to or read the trash written about him and his family.  When his presidency is finaly over in 2016, I can’t wait for the book about his campaigns and his White House Years.

The Week

1. Obama wanted to be prime minister… of Indonesia
Dunham believed her son was “unusually gifted,” and would boast about his abilities to friends, says Scott. She would even tell friends and acquaintances that little Barry, not even 10 years old, could someday be president of the United States. The boy himself had similarly lofty aspirations, but when asked by his stepfather what he wanted to be when he grew up, Barry said, “Oh, prime minister.” Apparently, “at that point in his childhood, Obama assumed his stay in Indonesia was permanent and envisioned his future there,” says Dan Amira at New York. But that anecdote is sure to “bring a wry smile to the faces of ‘birthers,'” says David Gardner in the Daily Mail.

2. Obama shrugged off racism
Barry was subjected to teasing about his skin color, from both adults and children. One day, as he ran ahead of his mother and a group of friends, Indonesian kids began to throw rocks and shout racial epithets at him, Scott says. But Barry “seemed unfazed,” and his mother did not react. When a friend offered to step in, Dunham declined. “No, he’s O.K.,” she said. “He’s used to it.”

3. The president may have been spanked as a child
Dunham spoke about disciplining young Barry, “including spanking him for things where he richly deserved a spanking,” according to a colleague quoted by Scott. A man who says he worked as a houseboy for Dunham and her husband in the 1970s also says that if Obama did not finish his homework, his mother “would call him into his room and would spank him with his father’s military belt.” Obama denies that such spankings took place.

4. Dunham had a real independent streak
Dunham “had strong opinions — and rarely softened them to please others.” When her husband took a job that required “socializing with oil-company executives and their wives,” Dunham balked at country-clubbing — and told friends that the middle-aged Americans she was supposed to be chummy with droned on about silly things. Her husband, she complained to a friend, “was becoming more American all the time.” At the same time, her husband’s success meant that Dunham had a staff of domestic servants that freed her from housework and allowed her to pursue her own interests.

5. Her marriage may have had an episode of violence
In one instance, when Dunham returned home late from work, her husband, Lolo Soetoro, got upset, according to a servant, and an argument ensued. Afterward, the servant recalls that Dunham “appeared in the house with a towel pressed to her face and blood running from her nose.” But no one else “suggested there was ever violence between Ann and Lolo, a man many people described as patient and sweet-tempered.”

6. Obama remembers her as strong… but disorganized
The president offered Scott some “surprisingly candid reflections on his mother’s parenting flaws,” says Kevin Spak at Newser. Dunham “was a very strong person in her own way,” the president says. But “she was not a well-organized person. And that disorganization, you know, spilled over. Had it not been for my grandparents, I think, providing some sort of safety net financially, being able to take me and my sister on … I think my mother would have had to make some different decisions.”