Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie begins her New York Times review of “A Promised Land” with this sentence, “Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come.”
This was, I am sure, music to Obama’s ears. As one commenter on the Washington Post review deadpanned, “Obama may have been the first president, who became president, so he would have material for a memoir.”
Throughout his life, Obama has openly aspired to be a writer. He has crafted his persona as much around that identity as he has that of a politician, even of a president.
Indeed, it was the literary world’s enthusiasm for what the Times’ Jennifer Szalai’s called “Obama’s extraordinary first book” – “Dreams from My Father” – that fueled his political rise.
In reading “A Promised Land” – I am taking one here for the team, guys – I was shocked to see him respond as he did to Donald Trump’s 2011 challenge to his literary reputation.
The major media, fearing Trump was right, ignored Trump’s comments. Obama’s pride will not let him, but, as the Proverbs remind us, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
In Trump’s search for “fresh material,” writes Obama in his memoir, “He told Laura Ingraham he was certain that Bill Ayers, my Chicago neighbor and former radical activist, was the true author of ‘Dreams from My Father,’ since the book was too good to have been written by someone of my intellectual caliber.” Trump made the same claim on the Sean Hannity show.
“I heard he had terrible marks, and he ends up in Harvard,” said Trump in his artless style. “He wrote a book that was better than Ernest Hemingway, but the second book was written by an average person.”
“You suspect Bill Ayers?” said Hannity.
“I said, Bill Ayers wrote the book,” Trump replied. He had previously made the claim in a public forum as well as on the Ingraham show.
The mainstream media refused to take the bait. Obama, to my surprise, did. He shouldn’t have. He has left himself vulnerable on two counts: his writing ability and his relationship with Bill Ayers.
In this column, I will deal with Obama’s relationship with Ayers. To learn more about Ayers’ involvement in “Dreams,” please read my new book “Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency.”
Obama mentions Ayers just twice in the new book: the instance explained above and an earlier throwaway reference in which his “friendship with my neighbor Bill Ayers” is listed in a litany of dubious charges thrust at him by the likes of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh during the 2008 campaign.
Despite his deep dive into that campaign, Obama fails to mention one of its more contentious moments, namely when he was asked during a primary debate with Hillary in April 2008 about his relationship with the former terrorist.
“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,” snapped Obama.
In reality, Ayers’s involvement with Obama went much deeper. In his exhaustive 2017 biography of Obama’s early years, “Rising Star,” Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian David Garrow exposes Obama’s deception for the world to see.
According to Garrow, in March 1995, Ayers used his influence to get Obama appointed as chair of the well-funded Chicago Annenberg Challenge. In the fall of 1995, Bill and terrorist bride Bernardine Dohrn hosted a fundraiser for Obama’s state Senate campaign at their home.
“After that gathering, ” writes Garrow, “Barack and Michelle began to see a great deal more of not only Bill and Bernardine but also their three closest friends, Rashid and Mona Khalidi and Carole Travis.” Rashid Khalidi was a long-time shill for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Garrow adds, “By the spring of 1996 Barack and Michelle were a regular presence at the two couples’ ‘very informal’ dinners. ‘I would invite them often,’ Mona recounted. ‘We used to do a lot of dinners together,’ and “they came to our house often.'”
Not until Obama’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate intensified in 2004 did “Barack and Michelle’s attendance at the almost nightly dinners at the Khalidis’ or Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn’s home” begin to fall off.
As Garrow proves beyond doubt, Obama lied throughout the 2008 campaign about his relationship with Ayers and Dohrn.
Ayers was much more than a “guy who lives in my neighborhood.” He was an intimate friend. That revelation alone would have been enough to crash his chances in the primary.
As to Trump’s accusation that Ayers was the true author of “Dreams from My Father,” Obama biographer David Remnick observed in 2010, “This was a charge that if ever proved true, or believed to be true among enough voters, could have been the end of the candidacy.”
More new stuff on that next week.
To learn more please see Cashill.com or read “Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency.”
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