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Conservative Writer Pushes Conspiracy Theory That Weatherman Wrote Obama Memoir

Conservative author Jack Cashill has been diligently working to find connections between the collected works of former Weatherman Bill Ayers and President Obama’s first memoir, “Dreams From My Father” — a strange accusation that gathered some steam in the final fevered weeks of the 2008 election, and one that has been dismissed since then. But Cashill is out with a “breakthrough” paper on the theory, aided by a mysterious “Mr. West” who prefers to remain behind the curtain. “The media punishment,” explains Cashill, “that Joe the Plumber received has much to do with this nearly universal reticence.”

In any case, the latest evidence:

  • Both men misquote Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago” and refer to the city as “Hog butcher to the world” instead of “for” the world. Google turns up 60,000 other examples of this slight misquote.
  • Six characters in “Dreams” share names with people in Ayers’ books, including “Freddy,” “Tim,” and “the old man.” (Two of the books Cashill cites were published after “Dreams.”)
  • Both men talk about “knowledge” and “power.”

And so on. Cashill makes two admission/observations that are key to his analysis and probably deserve quoting. First:

For the record, “baleful” means “threatening harm.” I had to look it up.

And:

Not familiar with the term “bill of particulars?” Uncertain myself, I looked that one up too. It means a list of written statements made by a party to a court proceeding. Ayers and Obama each refer knowingly to a “bill of particulars.” Doesn’t everyone?

Actually, lots of writers use those terms: I quickly counted five journalists who referred to a “bill of particulars” in writing about Obama. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about Cashill’s quixotic adventure, which I’m sure will persist until January 2013 or 2017 at least.

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