There has been speculation about this which I’ve ignored, no doubt because there are enough policy reasons to oppose Barack Obama and I don’t want to feed into what sounds, at first blush, like Vince Fosteresque paranoia.
But I’ve finally read Jack Cashill’s lengthy analysis in The American Thinker. It is thorough, thoughtful, and alarming â€” particularly his deconstruction of the text in Obama’s memoir and comparison to the themes, sophistication and signature phraseology of Bill Ayers’ memoir.
There is nothing in Obama’s scant paper trail prior to 1995 that would suggest something as stylish and penetrating as, at times, Dreams from My Father is. And when Obama speaks extemporaneously, one doesn’t hear the same voice one encounters in the book.
Now maybe Obama has a backlog of writing fom Columbia or Harvard that signal great literary promise, but he not only hasn’t shared it, he’s assiduously hidden traces of it. And, to be sure, writing is different from speaking â€” in fairness, some of Obama’s off-the-cuff bumbling when he speaks is certainly due to the rigors of the campaign which would cause even the most gifted communicator to faulter from time to time. But it’s not unreasonable to expect more similarity between Obama the writer and Obama the orator.
Two immediate, glaring problems with McCarthy’s logic here.
First, extemporaneous speaking is live and off the cuff. Writing (well, at least good writing) is overly considered and slavishly revised. Why he doesn’t appreciate the obvious distinction is beyond me. But maybe he just writes everything once and never looks back. I guess that would explain his post.
Second, there is this other form of speaking that politicians do all the time. And it’s quite a bit like writing. It’s called “the political speech” and the good ones are, you guessed it, overly considered and slavishly revised. Again, why McCarthy chooses to highlight extemporaneous speaking and ignores the flowery prose that speechifying brings with it is not only odd, it also smacks of intellectual dishonesty. I mean, McCarthy’s no dummy and he hasn’t been living in a cave for the past 4 years. He knows what one of Obama’s key strengths is. And it appears as if he’s purposefully ignoring it.
So then, what about that analysis from Jack Cashill moved McCarthy so much that he simply had to write a post about it?
Here’s how The American Thinker article starts out:
Prior to 1990, when Barack Obama contracted to write Dreams From My Father, he had written very close to nothing. Then, five years later, this untested 33 year-old produced what Time Magazine has called — with a straight face — “the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.”
The public is asked to believe Obama wrote Dreams From My Father on his own, almost as though he were some sort of literary idiot savant. I do not buy this canard for a minute, not at all. Writing is as much a craft as, say, golf. To put this in perspective, imagine if a friend played a few rounds in the high 90s and then a few years later, without further practice, made the PGA Tour. It doesn’t happen.
Gee, how can you argue with a hypothesis as iron clad as that? “The American Thinker” indeed.
Again, this all sounds like a big fit of jealousy (masked as a conspiracy theory) that tries once again. to tie Obama to the notion of terrorism in the form of Bill Ayers.