Ed Driscoll

'Barack Obama: A Composite Kenyan'

Well, so much for Obama’s former agent falling on her sword: “A ‘Fact Checking Error’? Dystel & Goderich Ask Writers to Submit Their Own Bios.” Which has always been the case with every magazine article I’ve written — it’s the author’s job.

At Red State, Erick Erickson writes that the legacy media have yet again been caught flat-footed on the Obama literary bio story that Breitbart.com (with a powerful assist from Matt Drudge) broke yesterday. Naturally, in response, Erickson writes, the MSM is “claiming the story is no big deal, irrelevant, or that somehow the Breitbart Crew is in the wrong and peddling Birtherism.” And we’ve all heard this story before, as yet another beloved far left figure is caught cooking the books:

They are not peddling Birtherism. The Breitbart Crew are kind of like illegal immigrants — doing reporting Columbia journalism grads won’t do. And doing it quite well. In 2008, the New York Times ran a big story on John McCain having an affair with a lobbyist. It got picked up all over the place. Reporters were on the trail. There was no *there* there.

It took most of the month of August in 2004 for the media to pay attention to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — men who served with John Kerry and had real problems with both his conduct in Vietnam and his conduct after he left Vietnam. The media did not want to cover the story. For a while, it was just Fox News. The clear demonstration of bias finally forced the New York Times and the big three nightly newscasts to play catch up as dismissively as possible.

This story has been out there since Barack Obama ran for the United States Senate. Even now the media is dismissing it as frivolous. If it turned out Mitt Romney had not actually been a missionary in France, it would be headline news.

Barack Obama embellishing his biography to make himself look unique? Hardly worthy of press attention. In fact, nothing Barack Obama has done suggesting serious character flaws — and that’s what this is about — is ever worth the media’s collective attention. Why? Because some people think Barack Obama was born in Kenya, but much of the press corps is pretty damn sure he was born in Bethlehem.

Moe Lane, where I found Erickson’s post, files it under the “[Quote of the Day,] It Explains So Much Edition.” But at this point, does the MSM still think Obama walks on water, or as in the 2004 and 2000 elections (and when they were pedaling Dean, Edwards, Hillary, etc.), any Democrat in a storm is better in the MSM’s jaundiced eyes than the alternative? That would also explain the enormous amounts of fear the MSM, and the Obama administration (and the two are deeply intertwined of course) have been pushing since the start of the year.

Erickson goes on to speculate that perhaps Obama claiming to be a Kenyan during his salad days in academia is why today, “the campaign screams bloody murder about racists and birthers every time someone asks about Barack Obama’s college transcripts?” Which takes us to Roger L. Simon’s latest post here at PJM:

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.

Moe Lane adds:

This is just like the Elizabeth Warren affair, in two ways.  First off: the reason why Obama and Warren lied about their backgrounds is because the environment that they were in – liberal academia – wanted them to lie, and encouraged them to lie.  It made them more diverse, which made liberal institutions more diverse in hiring them, and in this particular case ‘diverse’ is semantically equivalent to ‘exotic.’  Second: if Obama or Warren had ever decided not to seek higher office – if they had decided that they were comfortable in their academic cocoon – they STILL would be claiming their faux-exotic status.

See also: Churchill, Ward.

Oh, and speaking of Elizabeth Warren, this is just pathetic if it’s true: “Did Elizabeth Warren Plagiarize Her ‘Pow Wow Chow’ Recipes?”

What also ties all of these stories together is something that I wrote about in 2004 — John Kerry assumed the MSM would bury his radical chic 1970s days; Obama assumed the MSM would bury Rev. Wright and his own radical chic years in academia, and Warren never thought anybody would check on her background. It’s infinitely easier to adjust the chocolate ration when the Ministry of Information is a closed shop (and there was much less information to go around, back when the news consisted of a half of local TV news, a half hour of national TV news, and a couple of wire services). Neither Warren nor Obama’s narratives were built to withstand serious scrutiny, which is what they’re now facing. But considering the left loved (and loves) the notion of the October Surprise to knock out their GOP opponents at the last minute, having turned von Clausewitz’s maxim on its head and transformed politics into an extension of warfare, they can’t complain much about the new media world they inadvertently helped to build.

Related: Bookworm asks, “Is Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, a 1978 case rejecting academic racial quotas, the smoking gun behind Obama’s Kenyan identity?” Read the whole thing.™