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Ghostwriters in the sky

Author Obama

Author Obama

During the last election, rumors flew about saying that former radical and education activist Bill Ayers wrote all or part of Barack Obama’s book Dreams from My Father. This rumor morphed into a small cottage industry of analysis trying to prove Ayer’s involvement in the book including a series of articles by WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill.

These allegations have been repeated in a number of right wing web sites such as The American Thinker and The Free Republic. Now WorldNetDaily has a new article, Author confirms Bill Ayers helped Obama write ‘Dreams’.

Of course, the “author” WND talks about is not the author of Obama’s book, but that of a new book, Barack and Michelle: An American Marriage by Christopher Andersen. Andersen should know because he had access to unnamed sources close to Obama. I should say that Cashill claims Andersen supports his view (in fact I have no confirmation of this).

The scenario alleged is in the typical nobama style. If alleges a fact (Obama was facing a deadline) that no one can easily verify but might accept because it it plausibled, it alleges another fact (Ayers lived nearby) that is non-trivial to verify and then it offers another allegation (the neighbors knew…) that no one can easily verify, but might accept because it is plausible and asserted.  It is a good example of substitution of speculation for evidence made in the form of an argument. But this claim has no more substance to it than the travel ban to Pakistan argument, the born in Kenya argument and the Indonesian adoption argument: none.

So did Bill Ayers write Dreams from My Father?   There is nothing in the WND article that would lead a rationally thinking person to jump to any conclusion.

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34 Responses to Ghostwriters in the sky

  1. avatar
    Sally Hill September 25, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    I sure hope Obama appreciates your undying support of him. Who cares who wrote his book? We all know he is a very charismatic orator WITH a teleprompter. We all know he can’t talk his way out of paper bag WITHOUT a teleprompter. So what? Who cares?

    When there is SOOOOO much more we don’t know about this man – as Barack put it: “This is not the biggest issue facing the country. It’s not something I’m paying a lot of attention to.”

    Now, I do pay quite a bit of attention to the First Family and use them as a teaching moment for my children. For example, when Michelle appears at a somber tribute to our soldiers wearing a very bright orange print dress and walking with a very masculine gate, I point out her bad choices and explain to my grand-daughters that she is an example of what NOT to do….wear something more appropriate (not black necessarily, but not a bright print – it’s disrespectful) and to walk gracefully with a feminine gate. Nothing works as well as a visual example!

    I could go on and on about the teaching moments (since there are MANY) – but I bet you get the picture. I truely feel for those precious little girls – I think dad has soaked up all the ego in that family, leaving the rest of them with zilch.

  2. avatar
    Lupin September 25, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Do you have a link showing the dress/event in question?

  3. avatar
    Mary Brown September 25, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    Sandy, my teaching moments to my grandchildren have been to point out the dignity of this couple despite name calling and rumors and innuendo. I never hear either of them speak with disrespect or with venom about their critics. Oh, Sandy, I am a military wife-my husband is retired, we have two sons who have served, and a wonderful newphew who will soon be returning to Iraq. I am not at all concerned about a dress because I know respect is a heart attitude. I want you to know our family history. Your disrespect for the Presidency, illustrated by your comments about inane things, is evident to me. I never voted for President Bush but if anyone dared make inane comments about him I answered as I am answering you. It is a heart thing, Sandy. Our values about respect for each person and this office are only our values when we practice them with people we don’t like or for an office when we do not support its holder. You madam, need to look to your heart because your criticisms are inane and meaningless. How many people did I know when my husband was in Thailand and Viet Nam who wore flag lapel pins so bravely but went to draft boards to be sure their boys did not go. So, when you make comments about dresses you remind me of that kind of judgement. It is not worthy of anyone. Oh, to finish, like many on this site I do not support all of Mr. Obama’s policies. Just wanted you to know that.

  4. avatar
    Mary Brown September 25, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    What does Mr. Andersen say. Is he quoted and do they have a pesonal interview with him.

  5. avatar
    richCares September 25, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    I had a neighbor who sounded much like Sally Hill, she also taught her children like Sally does. The 2 Children moved out as soon as they could, the Mother hasn’t seen her children in 5 years, they live in same town. Her grandson was 2 years old before she knew he existed. Good luck Sally, looks like you will joining, teaching hate doesn’t always work.

  6. avatar
    Bob September 25, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    We all know he can’t talk his way out of paper bag WITHOUT a teleprompter.

    Because Obama had a teleprompter at all those debates during both the primary and general elections, right? And at the town hall meeting where he wrote an “excuse note” (a souvenir) for a girl while answering her dad’s question about health care? (And shall we discuss George “food on our children” Bush?)

    Now, I do pay quite a bit of attention to the First Family and use them as a teaching moment for my children. For example, when Michelle appears at a somber tribute to our soldiers wearing a very bright orange print dress and walking with a very masculine gate

    Here’s a teaching moment: It is spelled G – A – I – T.

  7. avatar
    Lupin September 25, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    Sally: I’m not an avid “People” follower, but I would rally like to see a picture of the event/dress in question.

    The reason I ask is that I have seen a lot of photos of Michelle Obama, recently during the 9/11 ceremonies, and I’ve never seen her wear something inappropriate.

  8. avatar
    misha September 25, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    “a very masculine gate”

    Another semi-literate birther. Hey Sally, it’s “gait.”

    Thanks for letting us all see that. Typical.

  9. avatar
    misha September 25, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    “And shall we discuss George “food on our children” Bush?”

    Don’t forget “Is our children learning?”

  10. avatar
    Per Son September 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    You cannot win with some people. Looks like if Michelle Obama dressed “appropriately,” that would not be good enough since she was walking and posture problems now!

  11. avatar
    SFJeff September 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Wow Sally you never cease to amaze me. You seize on any negative you perceive and focus on it, to the exclusion of anything positive.

    The teaching moment you chose is about Michelle’s dress and gait? I have a 10 year old daughter. We talk about how Michelle is an accomplished professional. We talk about how the Obama’s make their daughters make their own beds. And they didn’t get a dog until they moved into the White House(I tell my daughter she doesn’t get one until we move to the White House too). We don’t spend time talking about how Michelle is a wonderfully stylish dresser, even though I think she is- because I don’t think its relevant.

  12. avatar
    misha September 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Did Glenn Beck rape and murder a girl in 1990? I’m not saying he did it, but he never issued a denial. In 1990, there is a strong possibility that he was in an alcohol and heroin haze, so who knows what he was doing.

    He never released his criminal record abstract. I have one from the DMV which states “subject has clear record to date.” Why won’t Beck do the same?

    Was his car parked in the vicinity? There are so many unanswered questions.

    SHOW US YOUR PAPERS BECK!!

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 25, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    Andersen is not interviewed, but they have a few very short quotations from his book such as this one:

    “Thanks to help from the veteran writer
    Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Books.”

    and

    “In the end, Ayers’s contribution to Barack’s ‘Dreams from My Father’ would be significant – so much so that the book’s language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers’s own writing.”

    Notice the word “would” in both quotations. From the brief information provided, it looks like Andersen is laying out a speculative scenario, rather than solid evidence.

    Indeed Cashill says in the WND story: the author “lays out the scenario just as I envisioned it.”

  14. avatar
    SFJeff September 25, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Sally did raise one relevant point: “Who cares who wrote his book?”

    I think this is worth discussing. Who does care about who wrote his book? And even more importantl why? Because whether Obama wrote the book or not isn’t really relevant in any meaningful way.

    The only reason I can think of to make the claim is to attempt to smear the President by association with Ayers. So you are right Sally, no one should care- but someone with an agenda obviously is taking the time to spread unsubstantiated rumors with the intent of harming the Presidents reputation.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Sally Hill: Who cares who wrote his book?

    Actually, I don’t particularly care who wrote his book either, but WorldNetDaily has had 12 articles on it, and I’ve had emails about it, and this is Obama Conspiracy Theories.

    But I must say that who wrote the book is a hell of a lot more relevant that whether Michelle Obama wiggles her hips enough to suit you. Good grief!

    I think you may have written the stupidest comment ever to appear on this blog, and that is saying a lot.

  16. avatar
    misha September 25, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Glenn Beck: Obama is “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people”

    Yeah, like his mother.

  17. avatar
    nbc September 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    So did Bill Ayers write Dreams from My Father? There is nothing in the WND article that would lead a rationally thinking person to jump to any conclusion.

    That’s the general problem with WND articles: they spin, they incite, they speculate but in the end, they lack in foundation in evidence and fact.

  18. avatar
    nbc September 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Seems Sally has dropped her veil…

  19. avatar
    kimba September 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Sally has revealed the intent behind the WND article trying to suggest Obama didn’t write Dreams. It is just another attempt to detract from his accomplishments and abilities. Don’t forget, Palin is writing her Memoir and has a ghostwriter supplied by the publisher, NewsCorp. They want to try and drag Obama down to Palin’s level. Sally says Obama can’t talk without a teleprompter. We all know this is untrue. But Palin gave a prepared speech in Hong Kong the other day, and then as usual, when answering questions afterward, was unable to string together two coherent sentences. WND, NewsCorp, Bill Kristol – it’s all about positioning their gal Palin to run for President in 2012 and they are opening the salvo by starting their campaign to try to blur the huge difference in intellectual horsepower between Palin and Obama. I bet Sally Hill is a regular at C4P.

  20. avatar
    kimba September 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    That’s how young white southern children learn to hate black people, Sally, is through the “teachable moments” of their white, racist grandparents. Good for you for carrying on a long tradition of stupid white trash southern racism. Teaching your children to disrespect the President and the First Lady. You should be proud Sally, really really proud.

    I move that in the future we thumbs-down Sally into invisibility without responding to her filth.

  21. avatar
    misha September 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    Bill Kristol would be a toll collector if it wasn’t for his father. There’s nothing wrong with being a toll collector; I just wouldn’t have one setting domestic and foreign policy.

    I hope the Rethugs run Huck and Cantor in ’12.

  22. avatar
    kimba September 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Lupin, she’s lying. I have looked through the official white house photos and there is nothing like that.

    Although here’s one for Misha of the President with his real father.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/3860765046/in/set-72157622065916229/
    And here’s the only one I can find of Michelle in anything close to an orange dress. The woman is stunning. Her expression at him is funny.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/3859980333/in/set-72157622065916229/
    And here’s what Michelle was doing on 9/11- painting in a Habitat house.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/3909773671/

    Go Cheney yourself Sally Hill.

  23. avatar
    Whatever4 September 25, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Here is the dress in question. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/17/michelle-obama-gets-leid_n_290562.html , images 5-7. It’s a bit bright and bare for a solemn ceremony, but I don’t see that it requires smelling salts and a fainting counch.

  24. avatar
    Jody September 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    And you’ll notice that the mother of the soldier being honored is wearing bright red.

  25. avatar
    kimba September 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    “Bright and bare”?

    Maybe as opposed to Laura Bush’s drab button up suits under which she would have benefited greatly by wearing the proper support undergarments. ( meooow, yes, proper support undergarments and you fellows all know what I’m talkin about especially after my prior rant about proper bra sizing) First Ladies should have the free reign to dress to their personal style. ( and to have whatever gait they like, even if it’s swinging from the garden gate) Michelle is our youngest first lady in a generation, let’s let our hair down a little. (but support the rest)

  26. avatar
    richCares September 25, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    remeber the expert they hired to prove this, he said no way jose!

  27. avatar
    Lupin September 26, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    Sally:

    So basically except for that one photo on HuffPo which was totally appropriate and not at all disrespectful, your statement regarding Michelle’s alleged disrespect proved totally false.

    Why on Earth do you people expect the rest of us to take you seriously when you constantly lie through your teeth?

  28. avatar
    kimba September 26, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Ok, here is probably the best comment I have ever read summarizing birtherdom. From comments on a gawker.com ( shutup) post about Gary Kreep’s new birther “info-mercial”

    “Why are they so reflexively bassackwards? Instead of organizing for 2012, they reach into the past to find a conspiracy to explain why they lost”

    Sums it all up nicely for me.

  29. avatar
    Mary Brown September 26, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    It is really about extreme dislike. It goes on in society all the time and on both sides of the political spectrum. Dislike a person or an office holder and then find anything you can hang on a perfectly fine concept like appropriate behavior in a situation. It can be a walk, a dress or whatever. I remember when President Bush pronounced words incorrectly some people made jokes about his intelligence. As a teacher I thought it probably a problem with translating thought into expressive language. That is not funny nor does it speak to intelligence. The problem now is that this whole business with Obama has degenerated further into hatred of the kind that is visceral and scary. We all need to clean up our act in regard to political discourse. We have tools. Why didn’t the House use its power to impeach if they knew that President Bush had abused his powers and allowed torture? No dumb jokes, but action based on facts.

  30. avatar
    aarrgghh September 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    mary said:

    i remember when president bush pronounced words incorrectly some people made jokes about his intelligence. as a teacher i thought it probably a problem with translating thought into expressive language. that is not funny nor does it speak to intelligence.

    i’m reminded of groucho marx in “duck soup”:

    gentlemen, chicolini here may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. he really is an idiot.

  31. avatar
    misha September 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Groucho Marx: those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.

  32. avatar
    Mary Brown September 26, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    No he was no idiot and is no idiot. Just a spoiled very rich child whose parents sent Princeton on a C- average. He was and is very used to having everyone fix everything for him. He knows where he is in the scheme of things and knows he can just be Bush. My point is that you missed that and thought jokes about him were meaningful. Where was the courage to call him to account while he was President?

  33. avatar
    Mary Brown September 26, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Because this is their country, not ours. We are not part of this country.

  34. avatar
    aarrgghh September 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    mary said:

    no he was no idiot and is no idiot. just a spoiled very rich child whose parents sent princeton on a c- average. he was and is very used to having everyone fix everything for him.

    there are, of course, much worse things to be than an idiot.

    the rumsfeld portrayed by [bob] woodward is bullying and petty. bush himself doesn’t come off much better. the president is folksy and jocular, but incurious to the point of cluelessness. his war cabinet is deeply dysfunctional. condoleezza rice is almost a pathetic figure, whining to the president that she can’t get rumsfeld to return her calls.

    … the administration was not just unlucky. it was almost willfully blind to the risks entailed in invading and occupying a large, traumatized and deeply riven arab country.

    as i’ve said before, being willfully dumb, and loudly and proudly so, counts as being dumber than dumb. especially given all the advantages bush was given from birth. the smartest move of his entire life was in choosing his parents.

    we all got to see, and painfully, the folly of putting “incurious george” in office. with no real interest in learning how the world outside his ranch actually works, his administration was a catastrophe waiting to happen. he might as well have been a clinically-diagnosed cretin for all the difference it made to the rest of the world.

    mary asked:

    where was the courage to call him to account while he was president?

    i’m not sure at whom you are pointing your finger here. unless you are referring to the bush dead-enders (and of course the members of his own administration), there were plenty of folks across the political spectrum, liberal, independent and conservative, calling him to account, and loudly, for all his misdeeds, during both his terms.