Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I confess I experienced a twinge of regret at never having read Barack Obama's celebrated memoir Dreams of My Father. I thought that had I read it I would've gained valuable insights into the character of the man. Now, however, I'm glad I didn't waste the time. Thanks to the inadvertent revelations of David Maraniss in his new book on the president, we learn that much in Dreams is in fact untrue. Mr. Obama's book does tell us something about himself, I suppose, but what it tells us, apparently, is that he's either delusional or he's simply not burdened by any felt obligation to be honest.

Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg have a couple of pieces on Mr. Obama's cavalier attitude toward factual accuracy at National Review.

Here's Steyn's lede:
Courtesy of David Maraniss’s new book, we now know that yet another key prop of Barack Obama’s identity is false: His Kenyan grandfather was not brutally tortured or even non-brutally detained by his British colonial masters. The composite gram’pa joins an ever-swelling cast of characters from Barack’s “memoir” who, to put it discreetly, differ somewhat in reality from their bit parts in the grand Obama narrative. The best friend at school portrayed in Obama’s autobiography as “a symbol of young blackness” was, in fact, half Japanese, and not a close friend. The white girlfriend he took to an off-Broadway play that prompted an angry post-show exchange about race never saw the play, dated Obama in an entirely different time zone, and had no such world-historically significant conversation with him. His Indonesian step-grandfather supposedly killed by Dutch soldiers during his people’s valiant struggle against colonialism met his actual demise when he “fell off a chair at his home while trying to hang drapes.”

David Maraniss is no right-winger, and can’t understand why boorish non-literary types have seized on his book as evidence that the president of the United States is a Grade A phony.
Goldberg writes that:
Obama has been less than honest about many things. Some of his biggest distortions should be the subject of sustained soul searching on the part of the media. For instance, as New York Times reporter Janny Scott first reported over a year ago, Obama lied about his cancer-stricken mother being denied coverage for her preexisting condition. Yes, he was close to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and former terrorist Bill Ayers. Yes, he was a member of the socialist New Party (as my National Review colleague Stanley Kurtz has documented).

In the spirit of charity, some of the lies can be chalked up, at least in part, to fanciful family narratives. Obama claims his maternal grandfather fought in Patton’s army and liberated Nazi death camps. He says his paternal grandfather was tortured by the British imperialists in Kenya. He’s claimed his Indonesian step-grandfather was killed by the Dutch while fighting for independence. None of that is true.

What I find more interesting are the lies Obama tells not so much about himself, but about society. In Dreams from My Father, Obama tells readers that he struggled with racism and racial alienation all his life. He wasn’t a starter on his high-school basketball team because he played “black” while his coach coached “white.” He confabulated a black friend in high school who, like himself, was shunned for racial reasons. He wrote of a “big fight” with a white ex-girlfriend who, after seeing a racially charged play, “started talking about why black people were so angry all the time.”

As Maraniss methodically shows, these and other tales of racial woe were false. His coach didn’t start him because he wasn’t good enough to start. His friend in high school was half-Japanese, not black, and neither of them was racially ostracized. The girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, never saw the play and never said anything of the sort. And so on.
Maraniss, unintentionally to be sure, shows that Mr. Obama (or if you believe some, Bill Ayers) concocted a biographical novel rather than a memoir in Dreams, but the most telling aspects of Maraniss' revelations seem to be what he has omitted.

Jack Cashill at American Thinker explains;:
David Maraniss has no use for "birthers." In a recent interview, he dismissed their beliefs as "preposterous" and wonders why they cling to them, since "every fact and document leads in another direction."

Yet the one core belief that has united the birther community -- if there be such a thing -- is that Obama dissembled when he talked at both the 2004 and 2008 Democratic Conventions about his parents' "improbable love" and "abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation."

Birthers have known for years that there was no Obama family, that the couple never lived together, that Obama campaigned on a lie, and that the major media covered for him every step of the way. This, ironically, Maraniss confirms in Barack Obama: The Story, a book that has to be parsed as carefully as the Talmud or Finnegan's Wake to be made sense of. Despite his slam on birthers, the facts herein will come as more of a shock to the Obama faithful than to those who have questioned the official birth narrative.
There's more from all these writers at the links. Given that Mr. Obama felt it expedient to create for himself a past that was largely fictitious and then peddle it to the public as factual truth, it's difficult to place much confidence in anything he tells us today. A man who'll make up stories about himself in order to create a narrative and an image will certainly not balk at doing the same thing in order to promote his political agenda and place in history.