In October 2008, Jack Cashill penned a much discussed blog, in which he suggested the possibility that Bill Ayers actually was the ghost writer for Barack Obama’s powerful memoir, Dreams From My Father. Later, he wrote yet another blog, reporting about many who sent him more material that they thought would corroborate his original suspicions about authorship of Obama’s first memoir.
Responding to Cashill’s work, I wrote my own blog about whether or not Bill Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father. I ended with some skeptical questions that must be addressed, particularly surrounding the assertion by author Christopher Andersen in his new book, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of a Marriage. Andersen gives no sources in his book for his assertions. Hence one cannot verify whom he spoke with, and whether or not the stories he tells about Ayers writing the book are true. Indeed, when queried a bit later by Howard Kurtz, Andersen backtracked and denied that in his book, he had said that Ayers wrote it. I reread the passages in the book, and contrary to what he said to Kurtz, that is indeed precisely what he wrote. His denial to Kurtz, however, certainly makes it appear that Andersen is a bit worried that he has been caught in somewhat of a lie.
Nevertheless, I thought that Jack Cashill’s case had to be considered. Others think Cashill’s arguments are rather weak. At Powerlineblog.com today, Scott Johnson calls Cashill’s arguments “speculative,” and his textual evidence rather “thin.” He notes, for example, that based on the kind of metaphoric threads he uses, both he and John Hinderaker could also qualify as Obama’s secret ghostwriters, if not for the fact that they did not live in Obama’s neighborhood when he was working on the book.
But now comes the article appearing yesterday from Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative. Bumping into him at Reagan National Airport, Ayers told her: “I wrote Dreams From My Father.” He then added that “Michelle told me to.” Leaving the site where they spoke, he said: “If you can prove it, we can split the royalties.” When Leary told him “Stop pulling my leg,” he responded: “I really wrote it. The wording was similar.” Leary persisted that perhaps he only edited it heavily, and again Ayers said he wrote it. She ended by asking Ayers why should she believe him, since he is a liar. He had no answer to that. Almost immediately, the Independent D.C. Examiner picked up the story, and James Simpson complained that Ayers admitted his authorship, yet “one of the biggest political stories of the year is being completely overlooked by the Obama-struck mass media.” After reading Leary’s blog, he wrote that her report is possibly “direct confirmation…from Ayers himself.”
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.