by Jack Cashill
September 28, 2009
The major media will not likely tackle the emerging evidence of
Obama's stunning literary fraud, but the days of Obama's boasting
about his writing skills are just as likely over.
The immediate cause of concern at the White House is Christopher
Andersen's largely benign new book, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of
an American Marriage.
Andersen contends that the ambitious Obama, unaware of JFK's own
literary fraud, hoped to launch his own political career with a book
as did John Kennedy with the discreetly ghost-written Profiles In Courage.
Despite a large advance, Obama found himself "hopelessly
blocked." After four futile years of trying to finish, Obama "sought
advice from his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers." This he
did "at Michelle's urging," she being the more pragmatic half of the couple.
What attracted the Obamas were "Ayers's proven abilities as a
writer." Barack particularly liked the fluid novelistic style of To
Teach, a 1993 book by Ayers. This he hoped to emulate for his own
family history. In fact, he had already taped interviews with many
of his relatives, both African and American. The key sentence in
Andersen's account is the one that follows:
"These oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a
trunkload of notes were given to Ayers." Adds Andersen, "Thanks to
help from veteran writer Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a
manuscript to his editors at Times Book." The manuscript in question
would become Obama's 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father, what Joe
Klein of Time Magazine called "the best-written memoir ever produced
by an American politician."
From textual sleuthing, I had come to a comparable conclusion more
than a year ago, namely that Obama had "turned the framework of his
life over to terrorist emeritus Bill Ayers who roughed it in with his
own darker sentiments and experiences." Embedded here is a visual
summary of this research, produced by Chris Kusnell. (Part I) (Part II)
As one example of Ayers' involvement, I had argued that Dreams' tale
of Obama's year-long relationship with a rich, green-eyed lovely
seemed to have mined the details of Ayers' own relationship to the
late Weatherwoman Diana Oughton. From a close reading, I doubted
there was such a girl in Obama's life. So does Andersen. "No one,"
he writes, "including his roommate and closest friend at the time,
Siddiqi, knew of this mysterious lover's existence."
It did not matter, however, how accurate was my analysis. From the
perspective of Obama's literary defenders, I was a barbarian who
could effectively be kept in check outside the gates.
Andersen writes from within the gates. He has no agenda. His book
is dispassionate, softly liberal and largely sympathetic to the
Obamas, particularly to Michelle and her family. A popular celebrity
journalist, he interviewed some 200 people for the book, many of them
close to the Obama family. The Obamas had likely given at least their
tacit blessing to the project. Given that the natural audience for
his book skews female and left, Andersen had no reason to invent
facts that would alienate his base. He has no track record of doing the same.
Although Andersen cites me on textual comparisons, I was clearly not
the source for the personal details of Obama's life. His retelling
of the story was based on what he had been told by someone very close
to the action. He had access to people who would never have talked to
me, quite possibly Michelle herself or even Bill Ayers.
Clearly shaken, the Obama-centric media find themselves in a fix not
unlike that of medieval astronomers upon discovery of a new
planet. Every time this happened, these geocentrists had to figure
out a convoluted new loop to describe the planet's rotation around
the earth. So it is with challenges to the Obama myth, even
unwitting ones like Andersen's. Obama's acolytes must find some
convoluted new explanation to account for each unexpected deviance
from the mythic overview.
Defenses mustered in the last few days include a lack of attribution
by Andersen, his ignorance of an imagined "computerized analysis" by
an Oxford professor, the citation of me as source and/or a reliance
upon me as source. Each of these explanations implies that Andersen
is a fraud and a liar and that he contrived the story he told.
Andersen's highly successful career as a celebrity journalist argues
strongly against such an interpretation.
What impresses the reader about these defenses is how easily their
architects satisfy themselves and presumably the Obama faithful with
their soundness. The Washington Independent's David Weigel, for
instance, is among those who dismiss Andersen's claim because he
credits me as a source.
To trivialize my contribution, Weigel cites one point of comparison
between Obama and Ayers -- their mutual use of the phrase "behind
enemy lines" to establish their place in capitalist America -- as
though I had not also listed hundreds of other such comparisons, many
much more compelling.
Had he read Andersen's book, which he does not appear to have, Weigel
would have seen that Andersen's retelling of the story was based not
on what I had written but on what Andersen had been told by someone
who was on the scene. A close reading of the book, however, might
have shaken Weigel's faith in his Milli Vanilli of messiahs.
"I've written two books," Obama told a crowd of students and teachers
in Virginia last year. "I actually wrote them myself."
The media should be able to protect his reputation among the
willfully blind but don't expect to hear Obama make comparable boasts
in the near future.