fraternity lessons obama missed

Ronald Reagan was in a fraternity (TKE).  Both George Bushes were in fraternities (DKE).  Even Bill Clinton was in a fraternity (APO – I bet those were wild times).  Barack Obama was not; and he missed the following life lessons because he was not in a fraternity:


If your current fraternity president blames all your fraternity’s problems on the last president, chances are he is going to get his ass kicked.  If you are the brother at the head table and something isn’t right, it becomes your problem.  You own it and fix it.  That is what leaders do.  Leaders don’t shift the blame on others to make up for their own shortcomings.


When your fraternity president thinks he knows more than the people he is serving, there will be a huge backlash against your fraternity’s leadership team.  When the president of your country pulls the same stunt (Obamacare), there will be an even bigger backlash (the 2010 mid-term elections).  Of course, what do you expect out of a guy who wrote two memoirs and accepted a Nobel Peace prize before he accomplished anything?


You cannot get away with changing your story in a fraternity house.  The brothers will sniff out a lie faster than a pledge can say the Greek alphabet.  Unfortunately, you can get away with it if you are the president of the free world.  Last time I checked Guantanamo was still open (thank God), those making less than $250,000 had their taxes raised, troops are still in Iraq well after March 2009 (thank God)  and there are still earmarks in bills that Obama has signed.  Those are just a few of many broken campaign promises from 2008.


Being in a fraternity teaches you to be loyal to your closest friends.  You pledge a lifelong commitment to each other, and that bond will not be broken.  During Obama’s election, he was quick to sell-out all the shady characters (Ayers, Wright, Rezko) who helped him get to where he is.  It is obviously easy to question his associations with those individuals.  It is equally questionable how quickly he will turn on his friends.

Paying Your Dues

In a fraternity, you don’t get elected president as a freshman.  You have to slowly work your way up the fraternity ladder by proving yourself along the way.  Doing so benefits everyone in the long run because eventually you have the experience necessary to become successful as president.  No one wins when your president is training on the job.


Presidents are constantly challenged to do the right thing when it isn’t the easiest thing to do.  If fraternity presidents try to ignore or cover up issues, the chapter gets busted and put on probation.  If the President of the United States ignores his responsibilities, Americans die.  Four Americans died in Libya because of Obama’s inaction.  At least two Americans died because of Fast and Furious.  When the president isn’t strong enough to stand up and make the tough decisions, bad things always happen.


When Obama was elected in 2008 he only won the election’s popular vote by 7% despite the incumbent party putting up a loser candidate in opposition. AND that candidate picked a running-mate who was vilified by the media, AND this was during a time of two unpopular wars, AND this was during the worst economic condition of our lifetime.   It is probably safe to conclude Obama getting elected in 2008 was a fluke.  The last time the stars aligned this perfectly for a president was when Jimmy Carter was elected.

Of course, if all this produces another leader like Ronald Reagan it might be worth it….

Ronald Reagan Fraternity

Ronald Reagan Fraternity

21 thoughts on “Fraternity Lessons Obama Missed

  1. I don’t usually try to make people feel badly. I really don’t. It’s not who I am as a person, and it’s not a value I associate with success. That said, I feel incredibly sorry for whomever read over your application and believed that you would be-even for a second- a valuable asset to any university. Honestly. 

    • Agreed, this guy is running a business, or at least a brand, of advising fraternities. Fraternities shouldn’t have anything to do with politics. And I don’t just mean “ideally” – as tax-exempt organizations, they should not be appearing to support one politician or another. But beyond that, politics isn’t good for brotherhood, or for good business. There are a lot of chapters who need advice who might lean democrat (or even aren’t political and don’t want to be) who would be turned off by “The Fraternity Advisor’s” politically charged message here, and not seek his advice because of it, hurting his business. Furthermore, he should be leading by example. He shouldn’t be allowing fraternities to think even for a second that politicizing your chapter is a good idea. Taken too far (such as showing public support as a chapter for a candidate) it could imperil a chapter’s tax-exempt status. But even if it doesn’t do that, it can still hurt a chapter to be outwardly political. Doing so can hurt rush, by alienating quality rushees who are turned off by your political views, whether it’s because they don’t agree with them, or because they think you’re being too strident. It can hurt brotherhood inside a chapter, creating strife and division where there should be unity. It can alienate sororities who don’t agree with your views, and even alienate your college administrators and professors, the guys who decide your grades, and most professors tend to lean left.
      Remember, fraternities are secret SOCIAL organizations. One of the first rules of polite social gatherings is stay away from religion and politics.

  2. I am an active 42 year Greek, 35 year Airborne Ranger, Commanded a Brigade in Combat and former Deputy Director of Operations for US AFRICOM during the period you are making your erroneous assertions. You made a lot of logic leaps being political. Please, stay in your lane to keep this very informative page accurate and enjoyable for Greeks and the interested.

  3. wow, I enjoyed the article… reinds me of what i owe fraternity… and, pardon me asking this, but isn’t this your blog…. write whatever the heck you want. for those who don’t like it…. see ya!

    • Ces – thanks mi812#g&30;I&#82a7;m honored to be in a position to give help to those children… and yes, malapit na harvest time Ces…keep on believing!Mommy Rubz – thanks thanks

  4. This post is god awful. I don’t see why you have to put your political views out there on a website like this. You should DELETE this! Terrible!

  5. Pat, is it? This is the first thing I’ve read from your blog, but apparently this isn’t your standard format? Whatever. I like it. Whether anybody disputes that President Obama is lacking the qualities above or not, it is a fact that being leadership in a Fraternity teaches you these things. I personally agree with your opinion, and it is my opinion that you shouldn’t be drawn and quartered for having one, and expressing it politely, as you have done above. It would seems, as no less than 50% of the above comments thoroughly point out, that your facts are a bit off, but I’m a big picture kinda guy and I like the one you paint (but seriously, maybe a tiny bit more research just to keep from getting flayed by your readers). I say keep on keepin on. I’ll be reading.

  6. I have to agree with most of the people here. Usually your blogs are funny and enjoyable but this just comes off as arrogant at best and ignorant at worst. Every single president makes promises before going into office and every time they end up breaking some if not all of those promises given circumstance and relationships with congress. The bottom line is the president is just a part of the executive branch, which means he executes legislation that is carried out by congress. Obama may have drafted Obama care, but congress, by majority vote put it into law by the majority and upheld by the Supreme Court. I’ll remind you that the Chief Justice in that case is conservative and still said Obama care was all right as a tax. Again if you are going to make bold statements like these, you should maybe read. A newspaper or a book sometime. Also, it’s disgusting that you said thank god we are still in Iraq when thousands of Americans have died already.

    • Jeremy, unless you’ve been to Iraq or Afghanistan, I’d recommend you restrain yourself from criticizing former military officers that have. I am quite certain you have no idea of the strategic military reasons we went to Iraq or why keeping troops there in force until we’ve withdrawn from Afghanistan is essential to guarantee the sacrifices made were not in vein. I could explain that to you in some detail if you like, but I don’t think you’d appreciate the new world view you’d be forced to accept.

      As for the political stuff, I’ll leave that to you. While I agree with Pat in his positions and support his right to use them as a thought provoking analogy, I don’t wish to engage in that debate.

      • Saying that civilians don’t have the right to criticize the decision to go to war or the way it is prosecuted is anathema to a free republic.

    • Wow Nancy, We are so excited to see your progress. We think of you every day and hope you are doing great. Andy is doing fine and glad to be home. Happy riding to you from the North Carolina moiantuns. Love, Andy and Trina

  7. Accountability- “You own it and fix it. ”
    Yes, but you also acknowledge the mistakes made on the way there so they are not repeated. Context is king.

    Humility- “When your fraternity president thinks he knows more than the people he is serving”
    Isn’t that what we want from our leaders? We WANT them to be better than us. The idea of an average Joe running this country is terrifying. Your point is how he pushes through legislation without listening to the American people. You leave out that every President does this (See: Bush, George W. and Homeland Security measures).

    Honesty: “Last time I checked Guantanamo was still open (thank God), those making less than $250,000 had their taxes raised, troops are still in Iraq well after March 2009 (thank God) ”
    Putting aside that he did what you wanted, things change. Bush, for example, ran on a promise not to nation build. You can’t just blindly believe Wednesday what you did Monday, without considering what happened Tuesday.

    Loyalty: “It is equally questionable how quickly he will turn on his friends.”
    If someone in your house does something really, unjustifiably bad, and you had previously had no reason to suspect he was that kind of person (thats why he got initiated), would you rather have the guy who blackballs him, or the guy who blindly defends your brother who did something horrible? Loyalty and friendship is a two-way street, and those guys took advantage of it.

    Paying your dues: “you don’t get elected president as a freshman”
    if this were 2008, this point wouldn’t be moot.

    Integrity: “Presidents are constantly challenged to do the right thing when it isn’t the easiest thing to do…When the president isn’t strong enough to stand up and make the tough decisions, bad things always happen.”
    Like passing Obamacare, a platform he ran on and believed in? Like virtually every other program he tried to instill? Like keeping Gitmo open, which you attacked?

    Perspective: “only won the election’s popular vote by 7% ”
    AKA the 2nd widest margin of the past 20 years.

    Look, I’m a Republican, but cherry-picking your facts does nothing to help us, and it makes you no better than Maddow and company.

    tl;dr- Someone haze the Intern

  8. I’d like to address the commenters complaining about reading his political views (which I happen to agree with). No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to read. Check out the title. If it sounds political, just stay away. Pretty simple. No need to complain.

    • It’s called feedback. He’s running a business (or at least a brand), and we’re giving feedback that politicizing that brand hurts it by potentially alienating half his target audience.

  9. I normally enjoy reading you perspective on the Greek experience. Now is not one of those times. I hope you keep your focus on Fraternity and not politics.

  10. I have very much enjoyed reading your blog. You often give great advise and sometimes you are off the mark…this is one of those times. I deeply believe in Fraternity and what it has done for me and the leaders you discuss in this post. However, I strongly disagree with you that men and women who do not have the Fraternity experience miss out on the values that you describe. In fact, I would argue that this is the greatest challenge to Fraternity membership today. Men and women are finding the values you describe in other student organizations. Let’s not make short-sighted comments to win some political points before the election. Here is a question for you…how many of the men who have been President of the United States were actually undergraduate members of their fraternity? Reagan was one. He was one of the few to go on record and credit TKE with helping him form his leadership ideals. I think you will find that the statistics that we often quote concerning fraternity membership are just pain wrong.

    • Tom – I didn’t argue that all non-Greeks miss out on these values. I argue that Obama missed out on them.

      About your other point – hard to say how much an impact fraternity had on each president. I’d be curious to know that as well…

      • Pat – well then that is a political opinion…and I would have to agree with Kelly O. I love your blog, but not to hear your political views.

    • Tom, actually most have in the fraternity era have been undergrad members of fraternities. We do skew the stats by including honorary initiates such as Eisenhower (Pres Obama incidentally was honoraried by a BGLO prior to taking office the first time around). But, most have actually been members of national or local fraternities while undergraduate students. The numbers are more accurate for congress and business, as we tend to honorary fewer of those folks.

      I would not say the search for the values of our organizations is any greater of a challenge today than it was at the time of our founding or any point since. The whole concept is those values are not easily obtainable in college and are severely lacking in the world at large. The purpose of our organizations is to engage that struggle and deliver those things at a religious/philosophical level that people won’t experience elsewhere. The practical skills of operating anything can be picked up through other endeavors or orgs, but those life skills are (while important) a tertiary bonus to our real (and varied) purposes.

      • Wow Jennie. Never heard (or re?rebemm) this story. Just knew about Taiwan, the car accident and the boyfriend. Yes, definitely at least one novel must come from you!

  11. I have enjoyed many of your posts until now. I would rather not read posts that include your politics. Although I am an Obama supporter, this would be true no matter which candidate you are vilifying.

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