On Dec. 12, 2007, after attending a fundraiser where Barack Obama spoke, I wrote in Crosscut:
I support Barack because he:
has an undergraduate degree from Columbia.
has a graduate degree from Harvard.
is left handed.
Had he been born in Orange, N.J., as was I, he would exhibit the four marks of a great person.
Left-handers make better presidents than righties. Consider the past 40 years:Left-handed Right-handed Gerald Ford Dick Nixon Ronald Reagan Jimmy Carter George H.W. Bush George W. Bush Bill Clinton
Also, presidents who have attended both Columbia and Harvard are far superior to others:Attended Columbia and Harvard Attended neither Theodore Roosevelt Millard Fillmore Franklin Delano Roosevelt Franklin Pierce Chester Arthur William Henry Harrison James Garfield
Being left-handed and educated at Columbia and Harvard gave Obama an advantage, but he still had to overcome the huge handicap of not being born in Orange, N.J.
Birth in Orange, N.J., "the birthplace of presidents," is highly correlated with presidential greatness, as shown below:Â ÂBorn in Orange, N.J. Born Elsewhere George Washington Herbert Hoover Thomas Jefferson Andrew Johnson Abraham Lincoln James Buchanan Dwight Eisenhower Warren Harding John Kennedy George W. Bush
Was America, in 2008, ready to accept a non-Orange candidate, or wouldÂ Orangism rear its ugly head? (In fact, Obama is half Orange, since his mother was born in Orange, N.J. However, American voters perceive the half-Orange as Non-Orange.)
Obama defused the issue by facing it head-on. In a brilliant speech, he stated:
It is true that I wasn't born in Orange, N.J., "the birthplace of presidents." I am not ashamed of this. I am not afraid of Orangists. In my administration, no one will face discrimination because of their birthplace. We can end Orangism and Birthplaceism in America. Yes we can.
Obama amazed the pundits by carrying West Orange, N.J., East Orange, N.J., South Orange, N.J., and almost winning Orange, N.J., proper.
Obama also ran strongly in traditional Orangist strongholds, carrying the New Jersey towns of Piscataway, Hackensack, Parsippany, Mahwah, Secaucus, Weehawken, Metuchen, Matawan, and Ho-Ho-Kus.
To his credit, John McCain did not introduce Orangism into the campaign, perhaps because he, also, was not born in Orange, N.J.