Thursday, October 9, 2008

the manchurian dalibama, part 1 - the narrative

It may be just a short time before Obama claims he was dodging bullets on a runway or his helicopter was forced down in a warzone. Perhaps his version will involve a basketball court.

I suggested last month that the MSM doesn’t investigate Obama thoroughly because he is merely a vehicle, that the agenda is much broader than him.

The suggestion is that Obama, simply stated, is not his own man; he is from central casting. He is a character. Like all good characters, he has a background (in this instance, written in real time) which includes a book, a meteoric rise in career, a big speech, and now Act [enter your number here] begins with our main character running for the most important job in the world – The President of the United States!”

Let’s look at some of the components of his background.

Obama’s authorship of his first book – Dream From My Father – is the subject of this Jack Cashill piece at American Thinker.

The opening paragraph sets the tone for Jack’s piece and, I suggest, offers a peak behind the curtain as to the depth of Character Obama’s backing: 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."

Personally, I always felt that Byrnes’ books (Speaking Frankly (1947), All in One Lifetime (1958)) about his time as Truman’s Secretary of State were good reading. By 1990, Kissinger had written two of his eventual five memoirs – The White House Years (1979) and Years of Upheaval (1982). Since Time Magazine uses the timeframe “ever,” I feel safe in going back to the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, although I admit they have more of a military focus – but he was an “American politician.”

But we don’t need to limit the book review to pre-1990. I was just being kind. Obama got his first chunk of money in 1990, but the book wasn't published until 1995. Even better, the Time quote comes from this Joe Klein piece published October 15, 2006. That allows us to consider all the rest of Kissinger’s books and Joe Klein’s sanity. Here’s the quote in context: There aren't very many people--ebony, ivory or other--who have Obama's distinctive portfolio of talents, or what he calls his "exotic" family history. His parentage was the first thing he chose to tell us about himself when he delivered his knockout keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004: his father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas. He told the story in brilliant, painful detail in his first book, Dreams from My Father, which may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.

So did Obama actually write the book?

Cashill recounts Obama’s published poetry (aspirin-chewingly bad), and an unsigned-yet-acknowledged case comment in the Harvard Law Review (written with no apparent flair).

Yet based upon this glaringly thin literary resume, Obama received a $125,000 advance to write his memoir. That’s roughly $200,000 today – handed over to a 29 year old with no literary history all because an agent (Jane Dystel) read a NYT profile on Obama as Harvard Law Review’s first black president. Let’s see what she read.

Here’s the 1990 NYT piece Dystel credits with her efforts to get a book deal. Reviewing the text with an eye for “is this kid worth a book?” here are the extracts that teach us something about Obama:

The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

Mr. Obama said he planned to spend two or three years in private law practice and then return to Chicago to re-enter community work, either in politics or in local organizing.”

Let’s hear the young man speak:

“The fact that I've been elected shows a lot of progress,” Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ‘It's encouraging.’

“But it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance,” he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.

On his goals in his new post, Mr. Obama said: ''I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I'm fairly opinionated about this. But as president of the law review, I have a limited role as only first among equals.''

The entire article is 781 words, the excerpts above 217 words – the remaining 564 words do not discuss Obama. Let’s give equal weighting in an agent’s mind to the concept and the back story. In today’s dollars, that’s $100,000 cash in hand for becoming the first black president of the HLR and $461 per word (based on 217 words devoted to Obama).

(NOTE – If you want to read more about his HLR days, here’s a 2007 NYT article. There’s a lot of fluff, some of what passes for substance in today’s MSM, and this interesting tidbit: In a rare slip, he told The Associated Press: “I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me.” Funny.)

Did she do some additional background? Sure. Must have. But to what end? Undistinguished youth, Occidental College (two years, no transcripts ever released, nothing noteworthy), Columbia University (two years, no transcripts ever released, nothing noteworthy – except that Bill Ayers was there at the same time), four years across two jobs in NYC (nothing noteworthy), Community Organizer in Harlem (one year, zero discussion of it), Community Organizer in Chicago (nothing noteworthy – his solutions to resident ills were all the same: force government to solve it for you), and then Harvard Law.

What was worth $200,000 cash in hand to someone who never wrote anything?

Perhaps the answer is not so much in Obama’s merits as it is in the developing Character Obama.

During his years organizing the streets of Chicago - the years between Columbia and Harvard, did he reunite with William Ayers? Apparently. Was it profitable? It seems about $30,000 of his $75,000 Harvard education was paid by “contributors” approached by Ayers. Hunh.

Law school? Check!
Walk-around money through book contract? Check!

But, wait! He needs to write the book! As Cahill discusses, seems the first advance didn’t bring out the best in Character Obama. So a different publisher, another $40,000, and apparently an awful lot of text written by Ayers himself result in a book. Read through all of Cahill’s article to assess whether Ayers wrote large sections of Obama’s book.

Book? Check!

Indoctrination into our mindset? Dang! Forgot that. Not complete. He did his stint with PROJECT VOTE! (aka ACORN), but we need more.

The “Politically Drunk on Power” blog writes a well-documented piece on Obama’s membership in the Socialist “New Party.” As I am writing this piece, websites that document that membership and the New Party connection to Obama are being actively scrubbed. Remarkable. Good thing the Internet Archive is alive and well. Read J. Brown’s PDoP piece and use Google (across the top – More – Blogs) to follow the story as it goes viral.

Indoctrination? Check!

[Script writer ponders the next scene, which is yet to be written: “Where’s the character sheet for this role? OK, thanks. What’s next? A political office? Damn. How are we going to pull that off? HE’S. GOT. NO. QUALIFICATIONS. THE. INCUMBENT. IS. RUNNING.” A mumbled voice from the corner of the writing room: “Kill off the other characters? I mean, not literally kill them – just make it so he is running against nobody. His grandmother or pastor votes for him, and he’s in.” Head script writer: “Might work. What’s your name?” “Voice from the corner: “Bill, sir. Bill Ayers.”]

So the script is written for the next screen, and CNN publishes its version years later: In his first race for office, seeking a state Senate seat on Chicago's gritty South Side in 1996, Obama effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition.

As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.

The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.

"That was Chicago politics," said John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist. "Knock out your opposition, challenge their petitions, destroy your enemy, right? It is how Barack Obama destroyed his enemies back in 1996 that conflicts with his message today. He may have gotten his start registering thousands of voters. But in that first race, he made sure voters had just one choice."

State level office? Check!

Now Character Obama needs to rise to federal office.

[Script writer: “He has to try on his own. Just like the book, maybe, I understand. He tries – he fails – someone else does it for him. I get it.”]

Obama ran for the federal House in 2000. He tried. He failed. Now someone else has to do it for him. But let him write his own bio, ok?

[NOTE - When you visit the sites below, just “X” out of the “Authentication Required” pop-up. I get the feeling it was the most someone could do at this time to discourage people from browsing.]

Obama’s first crack at an inclusive bio occurs on his campaign website on February 14, 2003: Senator Obama received his BA in Political Science from Columbia University. He spent five years working as a community organizer, first in Harlem, then in Chicago.

In 1988, Senator Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School. There he served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review and was a member of the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association. He graduated Magna Cum Laude.

In 1992, Senator Obama served as Illinois Executive Director of PROJECT VOTE!, an effort that added over 100,000 newly registered voters in Illinois.

[Director; “CUT!” Script writer: “What?!?” Director: “Makes no sense. He didn’t do anything as a community organizer. Give him some accomplishment.” Script writer: “I can’t just make something up!” Director: “Make him do something. Now.]

Back to the archived campaign website. April 20, 2003, archive, subpage changed March 6, 2003 (just 3 weeks after above entry): Senator Obama received his BA in Political Science from Columbia University. He spent five years working as a community organizer, first in Harlem, then in Chicago. Obama served as Illinois Executive Director of PROJECT VOTE!, which added over 100,000 newly registered voters in Illinois.

A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Obama earned the honor of being the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review and …

[Director; “CUT!” Script writer: “What?!?” Director: “Are you that stupid! PROJECT VOTE! = ACORN = Voter-registration fraud investigations and convictions both past and on-going. Cut out the reference. He do anything during that year in Harlem? If not, cut it out. Is there anything else on this guy’s resume?” Script writer: “We got an educational foundation, but it’s a little hot – the docs are being cleansed.” Director: “Let’s run with it. Anything else?" Script writer: "Board member, Woods Fund. It's on his archived state senate bio. Director: "Any issues?" Script writer: "Well, Bill Ayers is all over it - sits on the board now. Obama voted for $1MM to go to his ex-boss for some project - didn't vote "present" or simply abstain if oyu can believe that." Director: "Too many fingerprints. Leave it out."]

Obama campaign August 7, 2003 archive, subpage August 2, 2003: Obama graduated from Columbia University with a degree in political science and a specialty in international relations. He worked as a community organizer in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods, helping church groups create job-training programs, reform area schools, and improve city services.

He went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. After law school, Obama organized one of the largest voter registration drives in Chicago history to help Bill Clinton's election, and worked as a civil rights lawyer on cutting edge voting rights and employment discrimination cases in federal and

Currently a law professor specializing in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, Obama has served on the boards of some of Chicago's leading foundations and chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million philanthropic effort to reform the public schools.

[Director: “Cut. Print. We’ll finish tomorrow.”]

To be continued …

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