Perhaps Maraniss’s most striking revelation: virtually nobody who knew Obama in the first quarter of a century of his life ever thought of him as their leader in anything. When he got to Harvard Law School at age 27, he was instantly proclaimed The First Black President. But before then, those who knew him found his passivity and disengagement frustrating. …
Consider Obama’s role in the “Choom Gang” of a dozen potheads at Punahou Prep. You might think that a future Leader of the Free World would inevitably, through sheer force of charismatic personality, exert a disproportionate influence on his fellow teens in their debates over, say, which drug to take next. That’s a pretty low hurdle for leadership skills, right? However:
“There was not even a designated leader. …. The other members considered Mark Bendix the glue; he was funny, creative, and uninhibited with a penchant for Marvel Comics. … Without exerting himself in overt ways, Barry Obama held as much respect as anyone within the group.”
Got that? The future Nobel Peace Prize laureate was among the most respected dudes in the Bong Brothers. Granted, Barry was not the glue in the Choom Gang like Mark Bendix was. But he was right up there with any of the non-Bendixian Maui Wowie tokers.
By this point, you may be wondering: “Who was Mark Bendix? And what does this Bendix fellow’s penchant for Marvel Comics have to do with anything?”