The news that Bill Ayers admitted authorship of Obama's 'Dreams From My Father' posted on these pages yesterday generated a lot of interest and comment. While most believe Ayers to be the author, some doubted the story that he would admit it to anyone, much less a conservative blogger. Others dismissed it as simply a tease. Salon.com ridiculed it (what do you expect), and still others thought the whole thing irrelevant either way. It has come to light that he said almost the identical thing to a National Journal reporter recently. Jonah Goldberg at National Review put up a post today in The Corner quoting the Journal's Will Englund:
Who actually wrote Dreams From My Father? ... National Journal caught up with Ayers at a recent book festival ... 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."This is pretty much identical to what he said Monday. In light of that, I am inclined to agree with the skeptics that he was just having a joke on us. Or maybe it was a little more than that. Maybe this is the beginning of another smear campaign, wherein anyone who suggests Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s book is castigated, like people who question Obama’s eligibility. “Sure, I wrote Dreams, ha, ha, ha, and Sleeping Beauty too.” It seems pretty clear that he did write most or all of the book. This is stated plainly in Christopher Andersen's biography, never mind Cashill's diligent sleuthing. And while no one, left or otherwise, would deny Ayers lies, Andersen's veracity has never been doubted before now. As to its relevance, this is a blockbuster story really, because it completely discredits Obama's carefully crafted image. From that standpoint it makes sense that Ayers would try to ridicule those of us peddling it. As Jack Cashill makes clear at American Thinker today,
First, it reveals Obama to have been a shameless liar in his disavowal of Ayers during the campaign. Second, it suggests a dangerously intimate relationship with a man whose hatred of the United States borders on the pathological. And third, it makes a total sham out of the literary world's anointment of Obama as "the best writer to occupy the White House since Lincoln," the understanding on which the Obama genius myth is based.
Remember, influential people decided to back this president based on his supposed authorship of Dreams.
In light of the National Journal post it seems clear that Ayers was playing games, and I bought into it. Oh well, there goes perfect for the day.But whatever Ayers hoped to gain, the story is not going away. Ayers has been a very influential person in Obama's life going back at least to the early 1990s, and likely the 1980s. In the 1990s, Ayers helped Obama gain access to the deep pockets of Chicago foundations, where he used them to grease the skids for his political career. He was a key player in many of the pro-Obama leftist organizations that helped Obama gain the White House. Until Ayers was summarily tossed under the bus in the campaign last year, many believed he was still a key influence, a mentor even. The story of his authorship remains relevant and provides yet more fuel for those of us who believe that President Obama gained office on false pretenses, is a danger to this country and thoroughly unfit to serve. Ayers may well be trying to marginalize those who legitimately question his role as Obama’s ghostwriter on Dreams. But he is playing with fire, considering the evidence that is at hand.
Photograph: Jeff Sciortino