The ‘Bill Ayers Wrote Obama’s Memoir’ Train Rolls On

Created: September 30, 2009 09:23 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

I’ve written in the past about conservative author Jack Cashill’s quest to prove that Bill Ayers wrote President Obama’s “Dreams From My Father.” Cashill’s still beating the drum.

The Washington Independent’s David Weigel, for instance, is among those who dismiss [Christopher] Andersen’s claim because he credits me as a source… Had he read Andersen’s book, which he does not appear to have, Weigel would have seen that Andersen’s retelling of the story was based not on what I had written but on what Andersen had been told by someone who was on the scene.

Confession: I have read only the Ayers bits of Andersen’s book, and you can find some excerpts of them after the jump. Andersen is a quick turnaround author who makes mistakes, such as referring to Ayers’ wife as “Bernadette Dohrn” — her name is Bernardine. And I’ll reiterate what I last wrote — the evidence Andersen gets from an anonymous source does not back up what Cashill has been saying.

In an interview with Cashill, Andersen claims to have “two sources” for his “Ayers as Obama guru” theory. In the book, he only cites “another Hyde Park neighbor [of Ayers and Obama]” and… Jack Cashill. The neighbor tells Andersen that Obama gave Ayers (in Andersen’s words) “oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a trunkload of notes,” and says (in the neighbor’s words) that Ayers and Obama were “friends” who “worked on various projects together.”

Cashill puts together the “Ayers as guru” theory for Andersen.

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And from there:

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That, if true, is interesting and reveals that Obama misrepresented his friendship with Ayers last year. But Cashill’s argument has not been the “informal editing service” argument. It’s been that Ayers wrote “the better part” of “Dreams From My Father,” something not even Andersen suggests. In one of his columns on the subject, Cashill even argues that Ayers either ghost-wrote the epilogue of “The Audacity of Hope,” or helped Obama get into Harvard, or both. First, here’s how Cashill proves the “ghosting.”

Obama talks about our “collective dreams.” Ayers uses the word “collective” the way others use “and” and “the.” The Weather Underground was organized into “collectives.” He refers to “collective well-being,” “collective gloom,” “collective goodwill” and a dozen other Marxist-spawned “collective” sentiments.  Speaking of Marx, Obama uses the concept of “process” in a consciously dialectic sense as does Ayers.

Convincing! And here’s how Cashill sets up the “maybe Ayers got Obama into Harvard” story, focusing on a conversation between Obama and “an older man who had been active in the civil rights efforts in Chicago in the sixties.”

“Both law and politics required compromise,” the man tells him, adding that he himself had thought about going into politics but was unwilling to compromise.  Historically, the real life Ayers has sounded much like Obama’s academic sage. In “Fugitive Days,” for instance, he tells us that he and his comrades were eager to “combat the culture of compromise.”

I mean, have you heard any other academics or politicians talk about “compromise”? I sure haven’t.

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