An Old Claim Arises Once More: Did Barack Obama Write 'Dreams From My Father'?
Those who were skeptical of Barack Obama’s bona fides before the campaign, particularly the nature of his apparent relationship (or non-relationship, if you believe Obama) with Bill Ayers, will be stunned by Jack Cashill’s new revelation. Remember Cashill? He is a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University and a blogger at American Thinker, one of the multitudes of conservative websites.
In October 2008, 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. His claim was so reminiscent of the discussion before Bill Clinton’s first campaign about who wrote the novel Primary Colors, which bore only the name “Anonymous.” Some suspected Joe Klein, the political journalist. Klein vehmently denied the allegation. Then, he was forced to admit authorship when a literary detective compared phrases in Klein’s writings and those in the novel for New York magazine, and Klein was forced to hold a press conference admitting that he indeed was the author.
In this case, Barack Obama did not pull a Klein, especially since, as Cashill wrote, “no reviewer of note has so much as questioned Obama's role in the writing.” That left him, a rather unknown figure, isolated in trying to make the case. And as he also acknowledged, his arguments, although many found them compelling, could not be proved to everyone’s satisfaction. As he put it: “Shy of a confession by those involved, I will not be able to prove conclusively that Obama did not write this book. As shall be seen, however, there are only two real possibilities: one is that Obama experienced a near miraculous turnaround in his literary abilities; the second is that he had major editorial help, up to and including a ghostwriter.”
And so his effort became just another one of those apparent conspiracy theories so prevalent in the ranks of both the left and the right. Then at the end of June 2009, Cashill returned to his original article. This time, 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. Two contributors whom Cashill does not name, he writes, made a contribution that “should dispel the doubts of all but the willfully blind that Ayers played a substantial role, likely the primary role, in the writing of Dreams.” Again, the two contributors and Cashill played literary detective, offering more examples of strange similarities in the metaphors used in both Ayers’ Fugitive Days and in Obama’s Dreams. One of them found 759 striking similarities. Cashill found one of his contributor’s analysis to be “systematic, comprehensive, and utterly, totally, damning.” You can read his article and judge for yourself.
And now, Cashill picked up the new bestseller about Obama and his wife, Christopher Andersen’s Barack and Michelle:Portrait of an American Marriage. What he found simply threw him for a loop because, I suspect, it was the last thing Cashill expected to find. Andersen writes in his book that after Obama finally got a new contract to write a book, Michelle Obama suggested that her husband get advice “from his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers.”