Can we please get a grip, guys?
Readers are now asking themselves why I decided to write this post. Was I picking a fight with the fever swamp Birthers? No, not really. Call it a lead-in to this story which really needs to be stopped now. There has been a rumor running around the country since the election, and while it does focus on the president, it involves a book. Yesterday The Examiner posted a story from Anne Leary of Back Yard Conservative and she claims to have had a run-in with Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist, and friend to Barry:
Anne Leary of Back Yard Conservative was passing through Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport yesterday, and was surprised to come across Bill Ayers at Starbucks: “scruffy, thinning beard, dippy earring, and the wire rims, heading to order.” She struck up a conversation with him and snapped the accompanying photo. (Photo provided courtesy Anne Leary.) [Publius II -- There is an accompanying photo that serves as proof of the run-in.]
I interviewed Anne this morning about it.
Ayers was in Washington, he told her, for a conference on education.
“That's what I do, education,” he said. “You shouldn't believe everything you hear about me... You know nothing about me.”
To which she responded, “I said, I know plenty--I'm from Chicago, a conservative blogger, and I'll post this.”
I bet his heart skipped a beat on that one.
But he didn’t scowl, and didn’t run off as he has been known to do. Instead, unprompted, he blurted out: “I wrote ‘Dreams From My Father… Michelle asked me to.” Then he added “And if you can prove it we can split the royalties.”
Anne responded, “Stop pulling my leg!”
But he repeated insistently, “I wrote it, the wording was similar [to Ayers’ other writing.]”
Anne responded, “I believe you probably heavily edited it.”
Ayers stated firmly, “I wrote it.” ...
Was he, as she had asked, pulling our collective legs? Other sources report rumors that Ayers is very upset both about not getting any credit for helping Obama on ‘Dreams,’ and may also be put off by being summarily thrown under the bus along with Rev. Wright and everyone else who becomes an inconvenience to this President.
OK, here apparently is a smoking gun, right? That Bill Ayers did write one of Barry's books, right? The now he is finally fed up with being left out of the credit for writing the bloody book, right? Take it with a grain of salt, folks. Jonah Goldberg sheds a little light on this, and we tend to agree with him. I'll explain after you read what he reports:
It sounds like Ayers is jerking some chains. From National Journal (no link):
Inside WashingtonSaturday, Oct. 3, 2009
Who actually wrote Dreams From My Father?
The book cover says Barack Obama, but one corner of the right-wing blogosphere thinks Obama had a ghostwriter—and that it was Bill Ayers, onetime Weatherman, current academic, perpetual radical. National Journal caught up with Ayers at a recent book festival where he was exhorting a small crowd of listeners to remember that they are citizens, not subjects. "Open your eyes," he said. "Pay attention. Be astonished. Act, and doubt." 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." —Will Englund
For all the right-wing conspiracy nuts out there, Bill Ayers didn't write the damn book. I know, I know, "the writing is similar to how Bill Ayers writes." Yeah, yeah. Do you know how that could be? Has anyone ever asked Barry how close he was to Bill Ayers? During the campaign CNN dug up the fact that Ayers and Barry were closer than Barry admitted. Has anyone ever considered how many of Ayers' books he's read? Zombie discovered a book review -- a snippet, really -- thqat Barry did on one of Ayers' books. The book in question was "A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court" and he reviewed it back in October of 1997.
We know the "public" side of their relationship. They worked together on the Annenberg Foundation and the Woods Fund. His US Senate campaign was kicked off that Ayers's home. If Barry admired him that much, doesn't it make sense that he's read quite a bit of what Ayers wrote? It's a sensible idea.
Everyone knows how much of a fan we are of Hugh Hewitt. We own all but two of his books (his two most recent ones), and we've read them. Same goes for Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Stephen Hayes, Bill Gertz, and Richard Miniter. We've also read a good deal of the Founding Fathers. Point being is there may be some things we write that may reflect the style of writing that those authors have exhibited. That doesn't mean our blog posts or columns are ghost-written by any of those people. I am currently working on two manuscripts -- a non-fiction political book, and a spy thriller -- and neither one of them are written by any of the authors we like to read.
Furthermore, this leads to another "controversy" involving a ghost-writer. Sarah Palin's new book "Going Rogue" had a ghostwriter. Her name is Lynn Vincent, and there's a bit of controversy surrounding her and another aspect of the political fever swamp. (I won't touch on that because the fever swamp in question has been running off the rails for months now.) But for those that don't understand ghostwriters let me explain.
Ghostwriters are generally hired by the publisher to clean up or edit a potential manuscript. Other ghostwriters are more deeply involved with the author, getting an outline, going over notes, etc. For Sarah Palin she probably needed the help on the memoir. It's not like she's sitting on her laurels having tea and crumpets with the elite. She's giving speeches, taking care of her family, and working on her future.
But Barry wasn't exactly busy back in 1995 when "Dreams of my Father" was published. And everyone will agree that he's not an idiot. He does have command of the English language (he just can't think on his feet). There is a distinct possibility that Ayers might have helped him a little on the book -- advice here and there or even helping out with the narrative a little -- but I sincerely doubt that Bill Ayers wrote it. If you look at how he's admitted it in two different instances, the sarcasm about royalties sticks out like a sore thumb, and the fact that he immediately admitted to a conservative blogger also sticks out.
This is what the fever-swamp misses. They're being tweaked by the Left over their nutty ideas. It's the same way those of us on the Right tweak the Lefty nuts over the "9-11 was an inside job" meme, which is supported on the Left far more than it's supported on the Right. Those that believe all of these conspiracy theories about Barry need to take a reality check. He was born in Hawaii, and is qualified (under the Constitution) to be president. (Our personal opinion is he's too incompetent and partisan to be president, but the constitution doesn't mention either as a pre-requisite.) He did write his books, and while he may have had some help on them from Bill Ayers they weren't predominantly written by Mr. Ayers.
Memo to the fever-swamp on the Right: If you want to continue on your merry way living in Wonderland, by all means keep it up. You're becoming a punchline, and you're being marginalized by your own nutty theories. The Left is making fun of you, as is evidenced by Ayers's response to both inquiries. But, those of us that take this seriously aren't going to take anything you say with any seriousness.
It would help if the Right was unified int heir opposition to a radically-partisan president content on changing America for the worse. Unfortunately, we have those nutty uncles that keep popping their heads up to take the attention from the things that are vastly more important than who wrote a bloody book.