The ‘Ayers Wrote Obama’s Book’ Theorist Gets a Sympathizer

By
Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 10:09 am

For more than a year, conservative journalist Jack Cashill has argued that a textual analysis of “Dreams From My Father” reveals that it was ghostwritten for Barack Obama by former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Because Cashill’s analyses depended on comparisons of similar cliches and reading grade levels, they never got far out of WorldNetDaily. But Cashill is back, arguing that anecdotes in a new book by quick-turnaround author Christopher Andersen prove the Ayers-as-Obama-mastermind case.

The punchline? Andersen, who has written dozens of tabloid-style books, cites someone else for the Ayers research. He cites Jack Cashill.

According to Cashill, Andersen’s contribution to the Ayers storyline is the recollection of “a Hyde Park neighbor” who claims that Obama, struggling with the book, gave “oral histories, along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes” to Ayers and asked for advice. Any author or anyone who knows an author is probably chuckling at this point — passing unfinished portions to colleagues with some time and experience is pretty standard.

If you take Andersen on his word, it’s true that this anecdote portrays Ayers and Obama as closer friends than they let on during the campaign. But it’s a big leap from there to Cashill’s characterization of “the Obama-as-Milli Vanilli story.” Indeed, Andersen doesn’t even report that story out. He writes that “Ayers’ 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 writing.” For that analysis he cites Cashill, whose previous analyses of “Dreams” been along these lines:

[W]hen the young Obama pontificates about “angry young men in Soweto or Detroit or the Mekong Delta,” one hears the voice of someone much edgier and more aware than Obama. This reference reflects Ayers’ worldview of America as a “marauding monster,” one that terrorizes its own citizens of color just as it does those in the Third World.

Ayers does not define himself as being part of this monster but rather sees himself and his colleagues as saboteurs “behind enemy lines.”

Curiously, Obama used the exact same phrase – “behind enemy lines” – to describe his own status while working in corporate America.

I think it’s telling that when asked to expand on this in an interview with Sean Hannity, Andersen moved on. The most potentially explosive section of his book and he doesn’t want to talk about it? Would he do that if his research consisted of more than citing the obsessive Cashill?

I’ve read both “Dreams From My Father” and Ayers’s memoir “Fugitive Days,” which was published six years after “Dreams.” Ayers’s book is worse. He uses a William Faulkner trope and eschews quotation marks; Obama liberally reconstructs conversations with friends, even creating some composite characters to speak with. And Ayers’s book is stuffed with howlers like “The Fourth of July bombs were all good bombs, except sometimes” and “I felt now at the epicenter of a resistance so wide and so deep that it would quickly disrupt the cotton wool of consciousness afflicting the country.” The irony of the Ayers conspiracy is that Obama is a better writer than Ayers, whose pretentiousness oozes off the pages.

Cashill’s column on the whole mess basically argues that the Ayers theory should wreck Obama’s credibility, because “the left has been at pains to depict Republicans – George Bush and Sarah Palin most recently – as dunces because they were unable to write their own books.” Of course, Obama wrote a second book, “The Audacity of Hope,” 10 years after “Dreams,” and so far no literary analysts have tried to prove it was ghosted by Jeremiah Wright. So it’s really not clear to me what this conspiracy theory is supposed to prove. Might Ayers have programmed Obama by making suggestive references to the Mekong Delta in the den of a Hyde Park mansion 14 years ago? I’ll quote David Freddoso, the author of the bestselling “The Case Against Barack Obama,” whom I asked about this theory.

Cashill’s stuff on this was a lot of crap, all conjecture and no concrete evidence.

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Comments

18 Comments

Debra White
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but Barack Obama and Bill Ayres first meet when Alice Palmer brought him to a political tea meet'n'greet in Fall 1995, right? But “Dreams from My Father” was first published in Summer 1995, right?

Also, isn't well established that Barack Obama and his wife were on vacation in Bali when he wrote his first memoir?


littybell
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

“All conjecture and no concrete evidence.” currently the foundation of the Rebublican opposition and party. As one who supports a strong American two party system, has any of the intelectual republicans with an actual argument rooted in conservation fundamentals thought about forming another party with other like minded souls? Just asking.


drgregorygaramoni
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

This is a victory of truth over BS!

Harry G. Frankfurt, a Princeton Professor of philosophy, wrote as essay “On BS” (spelled out) that was published as a little 4″ x 6″ 90 page book in 2005.

This is a must read for anyone who follows Washington politics, in general, and Obama, in particular. (And a must read before for anyone buying a used car!)

“Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority to meet its demands. The BSer ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, BS is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”

“The essence of BS is not that it is false but that it is phony.”

Frankfurt argues that BSers misrepresent themselves to their audience by conveying a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They deceptively change the rules of communication so that claims about truth and falsity of what they say are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that excessive indulgence in BS can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying doesn't.

Since new rules in the House of Representatives prohibit the 'L” word (liar), Representative Wilson and others should call out Obama on his deceptions by saying this:

Mr. President, don’t BS me.

Dr. Gregory Garamoni
Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine
http://www.doctorsonstrike.com


Sane America
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

If in fact you are a doctor (highly doubtful), for the sake of your patients, PLEASE seek psychiatric help while you are on strike. Thank you.


Republican Party (STB Whigs)
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

Debra, Debra, Debra, we are appalled that you've decided to use “facts” and “logic” to rebut our argument on this issue. Have you no shame?


mantis
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

He's not an MD, so don't worry too much.


Brute Force Algorithm
Pingback posted September 24, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

[...] of medal for the amount of time he’s spent looking at the braindead rantings of the WND crew, has a few issues with this new conspiracy theory coming from the Obama-is-a-Kenyan headquarters: I think it’s telling that when asked to expand on [...]


hrtshpdbox
Comment posted September 25, 2009 @ 10:51 am

“Any author or anyone who knows an author is probably chuckling at this point — passing unfinished portions to colleagues with some time and experience is pretty standard.”

Yes, and it's also very standard when the colleague that you're passing along the notes and tapes of a proposed book to is “just some guy from the neighborhood”, as Obama has described Ayers. Chuckle chuckle.


brendanm
Comment posted September 26, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

Everyone knows that Bill Ayers ghostwrote “On Bullshit,” so I'm sure the book would support President Obama's honesty.


brendanm
Comment posted September 26, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

And he's “on strike,” which is good news for everyone.

Dr. Gregory Garamoni = John Galt


The Two Malcontents » Literary Lion Obama Will Roar No More
Pingback posted September 28, 2009 @ 6:27 am

[...] trivialize my contribution, Weigel cites one point of comparison between Obama and Ayers — their mutual use of the phrase "behind [...]


Name Glomeruli
Comment posted September 28, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

Type your comment here.The common Obamaphile answers to this are “it is ridiculous,only a nut could believe this, it is crap, etc,” None of them want to address the very real odd issues in relation to the story of “Dreams…”For instance,Obama took a 75 grand advance and spent it all without producing ANYTHING for months-he admitted that he even went to Indonesia to get over “Writers Block”.How could he then produce a manuscript shortly after meeting Ayers so rapidly?How can you explain the mention of Frantz Falon in both books-an obscure figure at best.However,the most curious fact is this-both Obama and Ayers spell Falon's name exactly the same,BUT IT IS SPELLED WRONG! How did that get past the editor,if there was one?What if Cashill is right?


cVn
Comment posted September 28, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

“Cotton wool” is an old British term for just cotton, but was pioneered by Virginia Woolf as a way to describe the veil of consciousness that hid harsh realities behind mundane bits of daily life. I'd say that phrase at least illustrates that Ayers is steeped in literary history, and I'd say making fun of it is probably misguided.


MDC
Comment posted September 29, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

“How could he then produce a manuscript shortly after meeting Ayers so rapidly?” If Ayers wrote it for him, how could Ayers have produced it so rapidly?


Literary Lion Obama Will Roar No More – Another Idea
Pingback posted September 29, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

[...] trivialize my contribution, Weigel cites one point of comparison between Obama and Ayers — their mutual use of the phrase [...]


Hot Air » Blog Archive » Bill Ayers to righty blogger: Of course I wrote “Dreams from My Father”
Pingback posted October 6, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

[...] more amusing? The fact that he’d tease a conservative by baiting her about the right’s Cashill/Andersen-fueled authorship suspicions, or the fact that the Examiner seems to think he was making an earnest, [...]


You Don’t Need A Weatherman To Write Your Memoirs… « Around The Sphere
Pingback posted October 7, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

[...] What’s more amusing? The fact that he’d tease a conservative by baiting her about the right’s Cashill/Andersen-fueled authorship suspicions, or the fact that the Examiner seems to think he was making an earnest, [...]


Cotton tapestries
Comment posted August 9, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

your answer answered my question after i finished reading this article.


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