September 25, 2009

Obama and Ayers and "Dreams from My Father"

Veteran celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen, who has written dozen of quick books about famous folks like Jackie O, has a new book out, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage. In it, Andersen states, in an unfortunately unsourced fashion, that unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers at least copy-edited the President's memoir Dreams from My Father. Did he also write it, as Jack Cashill has long maintained?

In either case, it supports the inference that Obama was, in his lawyerly way, being intentionally misleading when he said in a primary debate in response to a George Stephanopolous question about Ayers:

OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George.

You can search through Andersen's book on Amazon.

Andersen writes on p. 165:
What did interest Barack were Ayers's proven abilities as a writer. Unlike Barack, Ayers had written and cowritten scores of articles and treatises, as well as several nonfiction books beginning with Education: An American Problem in 1968. But it was the tone Ayers had set in his latest book -- To Teach (1993) -- that Barack hoped to emulate.

The tale of a maverick teacher who takes her students onto the streets of New York to teach them firsthand about history, culture, and survival, To Teach was written in a fluid, novelistic style. Barack asked for Ayers's input, and Ayers, who like so many in his circle was greatly impressed by the charismatic young activist, obliged.

To flesh out his family history, Barack had also taped interviews with Toot, Gramps, Ann, Maya, and his Kenyan relatives. These oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a trunkload of notes, were given to Ayers. "Everyone knew they were friends and that they worked on various projects together," another Hyde Park neighbor pointed out. "It was not secret. Why would it be? People liked them both."

In the end, Ayers's contribution to Barack's Dreams from My Father would be significant -- so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers's own writings. ...

There was a good deal of literary back-scratching going on in Hyde Park," said writer Jack Cashill ... Thanks to the help from the veteran writer Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Books. With some minor cuts and polishing, the book would be on track for publication in the early summer of 1995. In the meantime, he began showing the rough draft to a chosen few relatives.

Andersen's notes for the chapter appear on p. 309-310 but, unfortunately, they're not terribly informative as to his sources for any particular assertion. Did he do original interviews on the Ayers question? He'll need to get a lot more specific to make this stick. Obviously, there's no chance that any bigfoot Washington reporter will ever ask Obama about it.

Andersen's reference to Ayers' 1993 book To Teach is interesting because the soporific prose style of To Teach appears closer to Dreams from My Father than the livelier prose style in Ayers' own 1999 autobiography Fugitive Days, which begins with the unObama-like sentence: "Memory is a m-----------."

I certainly find it plausible that Ayers copy-edited Dreams from My Father. For example, as I pointed out in February, the Annenberg Project that Obama chaired had the same mailing address as Ayers's Small Schools Workshop, both on the third floor of a small office building: 115 S. Sangamon St., Third Floor. I've never seen anybody ask whether they were run out of the same exact office.

But, some reporter needs to get somebody from Hyde Park on record as saying that Ayers helped Obama write Dreams. Perhaps a disgruntled old radical might spill the beans. Has anybody asked, say, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. about this?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

28 comments:

headache said...

In the end, Ayers's contribution to Barack's Dreams from My Father would be significant -- so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers's own writings. ...


There's a clue Steve. Surely you can run some kind of text recognition software, which educators use to check for plagiarism, against both Dreams and Ayer's writing? I'm sure they are more sophisticated nowadays and can deal with nuances instead of just doing character matching. Isn't t99 quite knowledgable about open source text utiltiies under Linux?

Anonymous said...

So Obama's mysterious Caucasian girlfriend, whom we discussed here at iSteve 14 months ago, was in fact Ayers's old flame, Diana Oughton, who perished in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion - i.e. our "President" signed off on a fictional autobiography of himself in which his lovers are based on the twisted & perverted memories of a megalomaniacal bisexual  rapist who wants to murder 25 million Americans!!!

Hey - speaking of Bill Ayers's lovers, isn't it strange that the Nell Minow whose father, Newton, worked at Sidley-Austin with Bernardine Dohrn [Ohrnstein] & Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, and whose sister, Martha, was instrumental [along with Ayers and Khalid Al-Mansour] in getting Barack Hussein Obama Jr admitted to Harvard Law, is precisely the same Nell Minow who was trotted out by the national media to spearhead the campaign against Matt Taibbi?

Being, in turn, the very Matt Taibbi who wrote an expose of the gang of racketeers which coordinated the Obama campaign and torpedoed the McCain campaign and hoodwinked George Bush and shorted its own portfolio of Liar Loans and received tens of billions of dollars stolen from the American taxpayer and emerged from it all as the only viable financial concern on Wall Street and which is now turning those tens of billions of dollars [stolen from the American taxpayer] into record profits in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression?!?

GOD DAMN THIS 4096 CHARACTER LIMIT

Anonymous said...

GOD DAMN THIS 4096 CHARACTER LIMIT

Being furthermore the very same gang of racketeers which is now dominating a particularly odious form of chicanery known as DARK POOL TRADING along with a second gang of subprime racketeers, whose representative, Steven Koch, was bundling subprime funny-money for the Obama campaign from March of 2007 all the way through to December 26, 2008, and who sits on the Advisory Board of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Law, which just so happens to employ one Bernardine Dohrn [Ohrnstein] as an Associate Professor and which Center on Wrongful Convictions once hosted Dohrn [Ohrnstein], Ayers, and Obama on the same dais?!?

PS: How much do you want to bet that Bernardine Dohrn [Ohrnstein] rigged the townhouse explosion so as to eliminate Diana Oughton and seize little Billy for herself?

acilius said...

You've said that you are fond of the idea that Obama's parents had connections in the CIA that they used to help the young Mr O get into Columbia, travel to Pakistan, etc, and you've given circumstantial evidence suggesting that this might be true. Now you point to similar indications if a working relationship between Mr O not too long after that time and William Ayers.

That interests me, because, first, Ayers' social origins were in precisely the class from which the CIA recruited its officers in his generation. Second, the Weathermen managed to set off a good many bombs in public buildings without injuring anyone who wasn't a member of their group, which is the sign of either an incredible streak of good luck or of a sophisticated intelligence operation. Third, the Weathermen did as much as any group to give the antiwar movement a bad name. Fourth, when the leaders of the Weather Underground were captured, the FBI's investigation of them, an investigation personally overseen by Mark Felt, turned out to have been so thoroughly compromised that none of them could be prosecuted.

To me, Mr O's connection with Ayers would militate against a CIA connection. The assistance Mark Felt gave to Weather, if deliberate, would suggest that the group was a false flag for either the FBI or some Pentagon unit, but certainly not the FBI's bitter rivals in Langley. As you've indicated, CIA has been fairly undiscriminating about who it recruited in Africa and Indonesia, but US military intelligence wasn't, and the FBI couldn't be, not in Felt's day when they weren't supposed to operate outside the States without CIA coordination. If the elder Obamas had formed a connection with either the FBI or any Pentagon-based covert operation, they would have to have been in something a lot deeper than what you've suggested. Which is why I don't think they were in anything at all.

Lester Westman said...

Does Anderson just report this or does he make it an issue? He can't be unaware of the controversy over Obama's links with Ayers.

Aaron said...

I wonder sometimes if much of the obfuscation around Obama is an attempt to hide the fact that's he's just not as smart as everyone thinks he is. Not that he's stupid, but "120 IQ guy who got ahead on hard work, affirmative action, and being useful to the right people" isn't the image they presented during the campaign, that of "genius political organizer who was writing deeply thoughtful books in his 20s."

eh said...

...who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know...

Ahem, it's whom I know, Mr President (assuming this is an accurate transcript).

Anonymous said...

"I certainly find it plausible that Ayers copy-edited Dreams from My Father."

Wow...I'm letting this sentence soak into my brain for a minute.

Given what Steve has invested in interpreting "Dreams" as a primary source on Obama's psyche, this is the first indication I've seen in his blog that he is willing to entertain the possibility that Obama is a humbug.

Maybe Obama didn't get a 720 on his verbal SAT? Maybe there aren't great depths to his personality. Maybe there is no vast opus of unpublished fiction indicative of his literary brilliance? Maybe he is, after all, just an empty suit with a great voice for reading the news.

James Kabala said...

This is the first time I have seen any real evidence that Cashill's claim might be true. His "I have proved this to satisfaction of all thinking people" schtick when he clearly hasn't is ludicrous and therefore off-putting, but this is intriguing.

However, Anderson's prose style seems to be a familiar type of celebrity journalese (as exhibited by Edward Klein, for example) - dull regurgitation of all facts told to him by his interview subjects, without either a) trying to find out if they are really true or b) analyzing their significance if they true (as Mr. Westman has already noted in the latter case). Thus, I need to know his sources before I judge.

John said...

No offense, Steve, but what does it matter if Ayers copy-edited or even ghost-wrote Dreams?

Jules said...

Maybe there aren't great depths to his personality.

There's no maybe about it.

David Davenport said...

... Second, the Weathermen managed to set off a good many bombs in public buildings without injuring anyone who wasn't a member of their group, which is the sign of either an incredible streak of good luck or of a sophisticated intelligence operation.

Occam's blade sez, "Maybe just luck."

... Third, the Weathermen did as much as any group to give the antiwar movement a bad name. Fourth, when the leaders of the Weather Underground were captured, the FBI's investigation of them, an investigation personally overseen by Mark Felt, turned out to have been so thoroughly compromised that none of them could be prosecuted.

As you may or may know, FBI Acting Director Mark Felt was the Deep Throat who snitched on Pres. Nixon to Woody and Bernstein. Felt's apparent motive for betraying Nixon was that R.N. intended to make someone else FBI head. Maybe Nixon knew things ...

Anonymous said...

John said...
No offense, Steve, but what does it matter if Ayers copy-edited or even ghost-wrote Dreams?
======================

I second this--what are you hinting at, Steve??

HM?

I'm on the right but never found it scandalous that Barack knew Bill Ayers because I dont' find Bill Ayers offensive.

tommy said...

As you may or may know, FBI Acting Director Mark Felt was the Deep Throat who snitched on Pres. Nixon to Woody and Bernstein. Felt's apparent motive for betraying Nixon was that R.N. intended to make someone else FBI head. Maybe Nixon knew things ...

I recommend Curt Gentry's J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets for a detailed explanation of the Hoover-Nixon relationship. (Warning: the book is a long 800+ pages.)

It wasn't that Nixon knew any specific allegation about Hoover, but Nixon was smart enough to understand how Hoover operated: collecting dirt on everyone to ensure he couldn't be safely removed from his position as FBI director.

Anonymous said...

I've always found Cashill's ghostwriter theory silly and a transparent attempt to get more publicity for his own book. His stated assumption was that Obama had no track record for ever writing anything of quality, but somehow produced in Dreams from My Father something that all sorts of people were calling a literary masterpiece. Well, sure, that's one theory for how a hack unknown could produce a literary masterpiece. Another theory is that it isn't a literary masterpiece at all, but that all sorts of people have felt compelled to say so anyway because they drank the Obama kool-aid and because saying anything negative about a black man's "story of race and inheritance" is a big no-no. The fact is that Dreams from My Father is self-indulgent unreadable tripe like everything else that comes out of Obama, so it's no stretch at all to believe he wrote it himself.

Whiskey said...

I am good at text utilities. It would not be the same as say, the lexical analysis tool that nailed Joel Klein as author of Primary Colors, but good enough.

IIRC, someone has already done this. I think vaguely I saw it on American Thinker Blog about last August (2008).

As for the CIA Connection, I call doubtful. Because then Obama would be careful not to wage war on the CIA, given that it could embarrass him with the release of info that he WAS a CIA Agent.

Hope and Change are incompatible with C-I-A.

Truth said...

Does anyone write a book without an editor nowadays? Even an editor?

Anonymous said...

God, it's depressing to see how ill-informed the iSteveosphere is about the authorship question.

If even iSteveophiles are this clueless, then I don't know whether there's any hope that we can get this out into the mainstream.

Anonymous said...

He can't be unaware of the controversy over Obama's links with Ayers.

But that's just the thing - from what I've heard, he was completely oblivious to it - and the cat was let out of the bag because of his naivete.

Anonymous said...

Given what Steve has invested in interpreting "Dreams" as a primary source on Obama's psyche, this is the first indication I've seen in his blog that he is willing to entertain the possibility that Obama is a humbug.

No kidding - I've always felt that Steve had made an enormous emotional investment in his theory of Obama.

And it's a lot more fun to read the literary output of the IQ 125-130 William Ayers than the IQ 110-115 Barack Hussein Obama Jr.

Speaking of which - I've read the known non-Ayers works in the Obama corpus, and they are simply unintelligble.

["Audacity", by the way, is written mostly by Jon Favreau, with a few choice passages by Ayers.]

Perry said...

Jack Cashill, is that you? Don't be shy.

David said...

> Does anyone write a book without an editor nowadays? Even an editor? <

Yes.

The old-time editors are gone. Publishing outfits consist of deal-makers and salesmen. What authors get is some proofreading, and that's it.

Unless the book is simply ghosted.

> What are you hinting at, Steve? [...] I don't have a problem with Ayers. <

If Ayers is no problem, what is a problem?

Big Bill said...

I've told you before and I'll tell you again: Obama's tome reads like a book-length Harvard Law School admissions essay.

Somebody ask Andersen if he has a copy for comparison.

Truth said...

"The old-time editors are gone. Publishing outfits consist of deal-makers and salesmen. What authors get is some proofreading, and that's it."

Do you know this for a fact, or are you just pulling it from you-know-where?

Anonymous said...

Jack Cashill, is that you?

No.

headache said...

Troof sez:
Do you know this for a fact, or are you just pulling it from you-know-where?


Troof, not everybody acts like you do.

Perry II said...

Jack Cashill, is that you?

No.


Oh.

Truth said...

"Troof, not everybody acts like you do."

No they don't; and it's a cryin' shame too.