No documents in Obama Library?
© Jack Cashill
The Fox News headline sums up the issue at hand: “No Obama documents in Obama library? Historians puzzled by Chicago center plans.”
The article continues, “The Obama Foundation is taking an unconventional approach to the presidential center and library being planned in Chicago. It's opting to host a digital archive of President Barack Obama's records, but not keep his hard-copy manuscripts and letters and other documents onsite.”
The Chicago Tribune broke the story that, to this point, has attracted no major media attention. Its headline raises much the same question Fox News did, “Without archives on site, how will Obama Center benefit area students, scholars?”
The Tribune tries to answer that question but succeeds only in pacifying Obama fanboys. There is no good answer, but there is an answer, and it is this: Obama is not a literary genius. In fact, Obama is not a particularly good writer. His reputation would wither if researchers were allowed access to original documents.
To this day, Obama supporters in the media refuse to accept what is obvious to anyone who has looked carefully at his literary track record (Sorry, but I have vowed never to use the word “oeuvre” except as a punchline).
Earlier in 2017, when the question of Obama’s gazillion dollar presidential memoirs first surfaced, the publishing community showed just how much its studied ignorance affected its judgment.
“Mr. Obama’s writing ability could make his memoir not only profitable in its first years but perhaps for decades to come,” Gardiner Harris observed matter-of-factly in a September 2016 piece in the New York Times. Harris speculated, in fact, that Obama’s newest effort would be a book for the ages, not unlike the memoir of Ulysses S. Grant, which continues to sell.
The most vulnerable documents in the Obama treasure chest are the early drafts of his 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father, a book that Joe Klein, then with Time, deemed “the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.”
On the strength of Dreams, British author Jonathan Raban designated Obama “the best writer to occupy the White House since Lincoln.”
This is all nonsense. As I first documented at length in the American Thinker, Obama had massive help with Dreams, a book that he publicly claimed to have written by his lonesome. The evidence overwhelmingly points to Bill Ayers as the neighborhood muse.
I could write a book about this. Come to think of it, I have. It’s called Deconstructing Obama, published by Simon & Schuster, the company that terminated Obama’s first contract on the book that would become Dreams.
In his massive recent biography about Obama’s pre-presidential years, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Pulitzer Prize-winner David Garrow chose to cut this literary baby in half.
Yes, Obama had help with his 1995 masterpiece, Dreams from My Father, a lot of help, but it did not come from Ayers. The help, Garrow argues unconvincingly, came from a law school buddy and economist named Rob Fisher.
Oddly, although denying Ayers’s involvement in the book, Garrow reveals just how strong was the relationship between Ayers and Obama and how deep was the lie that protected it.
Dreams, of course, is just one reason the original documents cannot be shared. Obama did not write his book, “Audacity of Hope,” in any meaningful sense of the word either. Ayers, in fact, dismissed Audacity as a ”political hack book,” and he was right. The book seems to have been written by committee.
Then there are the speeches. Raban was admittedly “disconcerted” to learn that Obama worked with twenty-something speechwriter Jon Favreau on his 2009 inaugural address. The Obama of Raban’s imagination did not need speechwriters, but, in fact, Obama had been relying on Favreau since the convention of 2004.
Obama has been relying on others all of his life. To protect the lie that has sustained his literary reputations, he is willing to subvert the very function of a presidential library.
Indeed, the gleaming white Obama Presidential Center promises to be a $500 million shrine to the ethereal emptiness of the Obama experience. It is a fitting tribute.