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Roger L. Simon

The Mystery of the Kenyan Birth

May 18th, 2012 - 12:00 am

Reading the extraordinary revelation about Barack Obama’s youthful literary career on Breitbart.com — that his agents published a promotional book in 1991 with a bio of Obama saying he was born in Kenya — set my old mystery writer mind ablaze.

How could that be? Why would they think such a thing?

There are only two forks in this road — either he was born in Kenya or he wasn’t.

I have never been a conspiracy theorist and will assume the latter, although I have to confess that for the first time, given this revelation, I have the tiniest soupçon of doubt.

Nevertheless, the more interesting, and actually frightening and depressing, conclusion is the former. So what if he was born in Kenya? At least we know why he lied about it. He wanted to be president.

But why did Obama’s agents think he was born in Kenya? That’s a more interesting question. (Obama, of course, is a liar either way.)

I will leave aside for the moment the question of whether he vetted the agent’s material himself. As the author of eleven published books and seven produced feature films, I have had plenty of dealings with agents and publicity people and always looked over the bios they had written about me. Every author I ever talked to about it always did too. We’re those kind of egotists. But I have no way of proving that Obama did — although I would faint if he hadn’t.

But whatever he did, the question remains. Why did they put “Born in Kenya” in his bio and leave it there until 2007? The latter part of that question can of course be ascribed to normal human sloth, but the first part — there’s the rub.

Here are the explanations I can think of:

  1. Obama told them.
  2. It was in some early draft of Obama’s abandoned book (Journeys in Black and White) he submitted to them.
  3. Obama wrote it in his book proposal to them.
  4. Obama told them in a query letter.
  5. Obama answered one of those biographical forms.
  6. … Well, I’m running out because they all amount to the same thing.

There is one other possibility. The agents simply made up the place of Obama’s birth, but I have never in all my life heard of a literary agent doing such a thing. It’s possible I suppose, but hardly likely. And why?

Anyway, per Occam’s Razor, I am going with the obvious — the agent’s source for Obama’s birthplace was… Barack Obama.

But again why? Why would he lie about where he was born?

Well, he might have wanted to glamorize his past, but if that’s so, it’s pathetic. I suspected there was a more substantive reason, one that would cause him to leave his African birth place in place in the bio. But to take the risk of being found out, it would have to be strong.

My wife Sheryl and I, like Nick and Nora Charles, discussed it over gimlets this evening. We both agreed the mystery lay somewhere in Obama’s college and university years at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard. We knew, as you do, there must be an explanation for why the court eunuchs of the mainstream media have never bothered even to investigate the scholastic career of the most powerful person in the world.

Because Obama got bad grades? Yawn — so did Bush, Kerry, Biden, Ted Kennedy, and dozens of others who later found themselves making life or death decisions over our lives.

No, it had to be something more significant, more potentially dangerous. What if, we thought, as others have suggested, the reason Obama’s school records have not surfaced is that he enrolled, at one of those institutions at least, as a foreign student — a Kenyan?

But why would he choose to do that? Well, maybe for a grant, a subvention, a scholarship that was available uniquely to students from Africa or similar locales.

Yes, I know that’s not “fair,” in the lexicon of the Lord of Fairness, to have adopted a phony identity and deprived others of an opportunity they may have more richly deserved. But it would certainly fit with Obama’s early need to be recognized as a Kenyan by his agent and, presumably, his publisher. As we all know, it’s not the crime, but the cover-up. (In this case, actually, it’s both.)

As time went on, of course, college drifted away and politics reared its head. The Kenyan identity became less necessary, even a liability, so it was dropped.

I don’t know about you — but this makes sense to me. It also fits with the tomb-like silence around his college years.

But I could be wrong. After all, I am only a mystery writer and, worse yet, a screenwriter. The professional investigative journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times will no doubt dig deep and give us the true explanation.

But if they don’t, and I know you’re skeptical, we have to keep pushing, every one of us. We must learn the truth of this. We owe it to Andrew B. — and to our country.

(Illustration based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

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