So, was Ayers, as Scott Johnson thinks, simply “putting Leary on”? If so, he did it again, to a far more reputable mainstream source. He told the very highly regarded mainstream publication, National Journal, the same thing! Here is Will Englund’s Oct.3rd dispatch:
Who actually wrote Dreams From My Father? The book cover says Barack Obama, but one corner of the right-wing blogosphere thinks Obama had a ghostwriter—and that it was Bill Ayers, onetime Weatherman, current academic, perpetual radical. National Journal caught up with Ayers at a recent book festival where he was exhorting a small crowd of listeners to remember that they are citizens, not subjects. “Open your eyes,” he said. “Pay attention. Be astonished. Act, and doubt.” When he finished speaking, we put the authorship question right to him. For a split second, Ayers was nonplussed. Then an Abbie Hoffmanish, steal-this-book-sort-of-smile lit up his face. He gently took National Journal by the arm. “Here’s what I’m going to say. This is my quote. Be sure to write it down: ‘Yes, I wrote Dreams From My Father. I ghostwrote the whole thing. I met with the president three or four times, and then I wrote the entire book.’” He released National Journal’s arm, and beamed in Marxist triumph. “And now I would like the royalties.”
Indeed, this certainly sounds like a shtick that Ayers has decided to run with. If so, the man is both playing with fire and sounding more and more like he is rather desperate for attention, after his brief run-in with fame during the campaign has all but disappeared.
Clearly, perhaps Ayers hopes that someone like Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity will use this story as proof that Ayers wrote Obama’s memoir. Then he will hold a press conference saying how he was putting them on and they fell for it, and make them look like really stupid fools. Or, he could on the other hand really mean it—and is hoping that someone will ask him to produce his drafts and other proof of his work, and then he will again not only be in the limelight, but will help bring down a presidency in which he is disappointed that it has not been radical enough.
Who knows? Bill Ayers is, as Paul Berman said in his blog the very first day of The Daily Beast, perhaps “the stupidest man in America.” He is also one very big liar, as proved by Fugitive Days, a book filled with evasions, omissions and major distortions of the truth. As Leary put it, he is a liar. And those who trust a liar, do so at their own peril.