Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama's Autobiography Was Fiction...He Made it Up

Can you imagine the media outcry if word got out that the Clinton's had embellished or fictionalized their autobiography?
From NoQuarterUSA.net: "People here have inquired about the accuracy of the books written by Barack Obama. Hundreds of thousands of people have read these books, and probably believe every word. However, several newspapers have verified that Obama admitted that he used composite characters in the books. Then there’s the investigative biography — over six full pages long — at the Chicago Tribune (and this link takes you to just ONE of the long articles exploring Obama’s past at the Tribune). Below, I quote from it. The quotes are long, but fascinating, particularly since the Chicago Tribune reporters wrote Obama’s history, and investigated his accounts, so thoroughly. While I’d ordinarily not quote so much from an article, it is so very long that you’ll want to go to the original article to read it in full. I am only excerpting the portions I recall from first reading it in December that relate to Obama’s false recall about his history."

First, there’s this quote from “The Delusional Style in American Punditry,” by the New Republic’s Sean Wilentz, Dec. 19, 2007 (”Forget experience: Opinion-slingers are mooning over Barack Obama’s instincts. Don’t they remember how badly that worked out last time?“):

The Boston Globe, in an ideal specimen of the delusional style, ran an editorial that endorsed Obama because he is biracial and grew up in “multi-ethnic cultures”–adequate substitutes, by the editorial’s lights, for serious background and expertise in foreign affairs. Obama, according to the Globe, has engaged in “a search for identity” and taken “a roots pilgrimage to Kenya,” all of which supposedly displays a “level of introspection, honesty, and maturity” that the newspaper longs for in a president. “Obama’s story is America’s story,” the Globe intoned–a sentence that comes as close as any distinguished newspaper ever has to perfect emptiness.

Let us hold aside that the book the Globe relied on in discovering these singular Obamaesque virtues, Dreams From My Father, contains composite characters and other fictionalized elements–not exactly a portrait of sterling honesty or authenticity. What is especially delusional is the Globe’s confidence that its own projections about Obama’s character and personality, as well as the mystical conclusions it draws from his ethnicity, are serious grounds for endorsing any candidate for any office, much less the presidency.

Now for the Tribune biography:

Here are instances of fabrication or colored memories or false memories, whatever you wish to call them from the Chicago Tribune story. For ease of reading, and brevity, I won’t indent these quotes:


At the same time, several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them. Some seem to make Obama look better in the retelling, others appear to exaggerate his outward struggles over issues of race, or simply skim over some of the most painful, private moments of his life.

The handful of black students who attended Punahou School in Hawaii, for instance, say they struggled mightily with issues of race and racism there. But absent from those discussions, they say, was another student then known as Barry Obama.

In his best-selling autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” Obama describes having heated conversations about racism with another black student, “Ray.” The real Ray, Keith Kakugawa, is half black and half Japanese. In an interview with the Tribune on Saturday, Kakugawa said he always considered himself mixed race, like so many of his friends in Hawaii, and was not an angry young black man.

He said he does recall long, soulful talks with the young Obama and that his friend confided his longing and loneliness. But those talks, Kakugawa said, were not about race. “Not even close,” he said, adding that Obama was dealing with “some inner turmoil” in those days.”But it wasn’t a race thing,” he said. “Barry’s biggest struggles then were missing his parents. His biggest struggles were his feelings of abandonment. The idea that his biggest struggle was race is [bull].”

Then there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.

Some of these discrepancies are typical of childhood memories — fuzzy in specifics, warped by age, shaped by writerly license. Others almost certainly illustrate how carefully the young man guarded the secret of his loneliness from even those who knew him best. And the accounts bear out much of Obama’s self-portrait as someone deeply affected by his father’s abandonment yet able to thrive in greatly disparate worlds.