Deconstructing Obama: The life, loves, and letters of America's first postmodern president

Wow … that title is a mouthful … and the information contained in its 300+ pages matches the verbosity of its title!

Deconstructing implies taking apart something that has been built, not born … something that has been created that can be broken into its parts. And deconstructing is exactly what author Jack Cashill does in his non-fiction treatise, Deconstructing Obama. Cashill makes a very strong case for not only denying Obama’s authorship of both Dreams from My Father and Audacity of Hope, but also a strong case for proving that most of the “facts” we’ve heard about Mr. Obama’s past are so much smoke and mirrors, so much constructed fiction built on truth-stretching and downright lies.

And what’s particularly pleasing to me is that I’ve been just about proven right — back before the 2008 election, I read Dreams from My Father. Well to be completely truthful, I was only able to read a little more than half of it before I needed to put it down — it was becoming a near-occasion of sin for me as I was getting so riled up. Dreams reads like a stereotypical “I was born a poor kid” biography that just doesn’t ring true.

You see, Mr. Obama is about 6 weeks older than I; I too grew up in the liberal west (in San Francisco) of the 60s, 70s and early 80s; I went to college with kids who had gone to the elite prep school in Hawaii where Obama went; I was in college from 79-83 and then grad school in the late 80s. What Obama (or whoever ghost-wrote for him) relates in Dreams is just not an accurate view of the world back then. In fact, if he was truly born in Hawaii — no matter his multi-racialness — he wouldn’t have been ostracized; according to my contemporaries from Hawaii back then, the tendency was to ostracize you ONLY if you were an alien, a foreigner from the mainland.

Further, if he was so poor: how the heck was he able to afford the elite private school of Punahou? Or coming to college in California … or transferring to Columbia and later Harvard? Only once does he mention actually working during his high school or undergrad years — a half-sentence mention of a part-time job on a construction site one summer while at Columbia. Never once does he explain how he was able to bum around Europe the summer after undergrad-graduation where he was trying to “find himself” in the tourist spots of France, meets a Sengalese traveler in a road-side bar in Spain, and finally ends up in Kenya (a trip he “writes” in Dreams that occurs in ’88, but records show was actually in the summer of ’83).

The only part of Dreams that rang true was the strong sense of entitelement … that all that was given to Obama was owed by a country that didn’t always treat multi-racial people fairly. The stink of the era of affirmative action was pretty strong then … maybe that’s how it all happened.

Cashill builds a fact-based case for Obama having a ghost-writer — this wouldn’t be news (even Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage was later proved to be written by Ted Sorenson), but what got Cashill on the trail was the fact that “an aspiring state senator of modest means and minimal reputation could afford such a quality professional touch-up impressed me as an angle worth examining.” (pg 12). Reading Cashill’s analysis not only proves some of my original thoughts about the book, but also clearly calls into question the authorship of the books that Mr. Obama so brazenly described to teachers in July of 2008 as “I’ve written two books … I actually wrote them myself.”

What else is “smoke and mirrors” about this man?

An angle that is touched-on by Cashill, but not hammered enough, that upsets me so much (I was received a BA in Print Journalism back in 1983) is WHY DIDN’T THE MEDIA PURSUE ANY OF THESE DISCREPANCIES? Even the conservative media grew quiet about any of Cashill’s revelations before, during and after the election. The media, that which is supposed to be unbiased … that which is termed the Fourth Estate (the “fourth estate” is used to emphasize the independence of the Press) …that which is supposed to protect the public from the truth-stretching of politicians, to give us the facts, didn’t do squat. Anyone who tried to determine Obama’s paternity was labeled “conspiracy crazies”. Anyone who tried to get the “facts” to fit the truth were labeled “racists”. Even fellow Democrat Geraldine Ferraro told the New York Times “Anytime you say anything to anybody about the Obama campaign, it immediately becomes a racist attack.”

Where was the press … the Fourth Estate … when anyone questioned the “facts”?

I think this is the saddest part of the whole constructed-on-half-truths story of Mr. Obama — that the Fourth Estate (both the liberal and conservative media pundits) failed at their job for the American voting public. Reading Cashill’s courageously researched book helps to bring truth back to the American people. Even if Cashill’s conclusion aren’t 100 percent accurate, he raises questions that need answers. Let’s hope this time the media picks up where Cashill left off, using their substantial monetary, political and social resources, and brings out the whole truth before the next election.

As the media ombudsmen of the past would recommend, “follow the money” and see where that leads.

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