Evidence Mounts: Ayers Co-Wrote Obama's Dreams Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by tj, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:06 am
"Evidence continues to mount that Barack Obama had substantial help from Bill Ayers in the creation of his 1995 book, Dreams From My Father, a book that Time Magazine has called "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."
The evidence falls into five general categories, here summarized."Web Link
Obama needed all the help he could get.
Prior to 1990, he had written very close to nothing.
In 1981 Occidental College published two of Obama's poems-"Pop" and "Underground. Obama calls it some "very bad poetry," and he does not sell himself short.
Posted by It's the Economy Stupid, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:45 am
I know you're really excited about Ayers but it's the economy, stupid! The more McCain/Palin harp on a radical turned educator, the more the public knows they aren't serious about dealing with the economy. Figure it out. This isn't improving McCain's election chances.
Posted by MDV, a resident of Stanford, on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:52 am
The left has pushed the story that William Ayers, the non-repentant former domestic terrorist who is not a buddy of Barack Obama is an education reformer.
And they further try to paint this as bi-partisan reform.
A short examination of the facts makes clear that there is nothing bi-partisan about Mr. Ayers worldview.
Sol Stern has a piece at the Wall Street Journal Web Link that should give pause to anyone supporting the Democrat ticket this year who is not already a committed leftist.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
"I've studied Mr. Ayers's work for years and read most of his books.
His hatred of America is as virulent as when he planted a bomb at the Pentagon.
And this hatred informs his educational "reform" efforts.
He still hopes for a revolutionary upheaval that will finally bring down American capitalism and imperialism, but this time around Mr. Ayers sows the seeds of resistance and rebellion in America's future teachers.
The readings Mr. Ayers assigns to his university students are as intellectually diverse as a political commissar's indoctrination session in one of his favorite communist tyrannies.
The list for his urban education course includes the bible of the critical pedagogy movement, Brazilian Marxist Paolo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed"; two books by Mr. Ayers himself; and "Teaching to Transgress" by bell hooks (lower case), the radical black feminist writer.
Mr. Ayers has tried to give the civic culture ideal a coup de grace, contemptuously dismissing it as nothing more than what the critical pedagogy theorists commonly refer to as "capitalist hegemony."
In the world of the Ed schools, Mr. Ayers's movement has established a sizeable beachhead --
witness his election earlier this year as vice president for curriculum of the American Education Research Association,
the nation's largest organization of education professors and researchers."
The left understands, and has always understood, that if you train teachers with your chosen ideology, you will eventually change society.
The right has seen fit to complain about it, write about it, and discuss it, but has not made a concerted effort to infiltrate academia and education in significant numbers.
Public and higher education is hugely influential in the lives of every citizen of this country, and they in subtle and not so subtle ways are indoctrinated every day to embrace the assumptions of the left, the assumptions so assiduously pushed by Mr. Ayers and his colleagues.
No wonder trying to elect small government, traditional liberty minded individuals is so tough.
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:58 am
Wow, that's deep. I worry about the future of a country with a president who wrote a biographical book 10 years ago who might have had some editorial help from a university professor/writer who 30 years before had been a Weatherman. We'd be better off with Palin.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:19 am
This is a speculative article, although intelligently done. There is no smoking gun, but the arguments are compelling. However, if it were shown to be true, it would probably blow Obama out of the water, becasue it would prove that he is a liar, and that he hangs with unrepentant terrorists.
I think this story will need to be knocked down by Obama, definitively, at some point, even after the election.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:23 am
obama and ayers are both communists in academic drag.
To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability, that is what the Communists preached--- look where it got them.
under an obama regime ayers would become ambassador to the court of Chavez--Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías the current President of Venezuela. As the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Chávez promotes a political doctrine of democratic socialism and Latin American integration. He is also a critic of neoliberalism, globalization, and United States foreign policy. A good fit
Posted by Perspective, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:24 am
Given how Barack has not allowed the release of anything he ever wrote for college for us to have a clue as to how he REALLY writes, I guess it really wouldn't surprise me that he didn't write his books.
As for 'proving' he lies..we have plenty of proof of that, but he is made even more of teflon than clinton was.
Posted by but seriously, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:44 am
What, oh what would the right do if McCain and Palin were elected? Obama's ties or lack thereof would become completely irrelevant and the elected ones would have to actuall do some proactive leading instead of attacking. Can't spend 4 more years blaming Obama.
Well actually I suppose they could, and Palin might spend four years appointing her high school basketball captain as Secretary of State and the like, but other than that, what?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:51 am
A much more compelling question is what Obama would do, if this charge of Ayers ghosting his book is proven? I don't think he could survive it. His credibility would be completely shot, and not recoverable.
Posted by PB, a member of the Hoover School community, on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:22 am
Obama has still not closed the sale.
Every time America takes a second look at him, it has second thoughts, and backs away.
Even after the media have mocked and pilloried Palin and ceded Obama and Biden victory in all four debates, the nation, according to Gallup, is slowly moving back toward the Republican ticket.
Moreover, Obama knows Middle America harbors deep suspicions of him. Thus, he has jettisoned the rhetoric about the
"fierce urgency of now," and
"We are the people we've been waiting for,"
even as he has jettisoned position after position to make himself acceptable.
His "flip-flops" testify most convincingly to the fact that Obama knows that where he comes from is far outside the American mainstream.
For what are flip-flops other than concessions that a position is untenable and must be abandoned?
One question remains:
Will a President Obama, with his party in absolute control of both Houses, revert to the politics and policies of the left that brought him the nomination, or resist his ex-comrades' demands that he seize the hour and impose the agenda ACORN, Ayers, Jesse and Wright have long dreamed of?
Whichever way he decides, he will be at war with them, or at war with us.
Posted by but seroiusly, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:39 am
And yet you do not seem to have found the imbalance of a Republican President and house (and what has come out to be an Imperialist notion of the presidency) to be of concern? You yearn for those days to return and continue?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:07 am
I don't accept your premise. We do not have an imperialist presidency...we have a president that you hate, but that is not the same thing. At any rate, this thread is about the charge that Ayers ghosted Obama's book, "Dreams From my Father".
Perhaps the best thing for Obama to do, politically, is to just ignore the charge, until after the election. However, it will not go away on its own. It will need to be knocked down by Obama at some point. He will need to release all his writings from his college days...that is not asking too much, although it might be a tad embarassing (but so what, sophomoric writings in college are to be expected). He then needs to show some evidence that his writing abilities improved, dramatically, within a few short years. Perhaps he can demonstrate that he suddenly found his writing voice, similar to Grant after the Civil War. I find it highly unlikely, but not impossible.
Obama is well beyond the point where he can just make a confession that he did not write his own book...he has made too many statements to the contrary, and has accepted too much praise for his compelling autobiography. If Ayers was the ghost on this book, Obama will need to step aside or step down.
Rest assurred that the damage control team at Obama central is frantically devising strategies to neutralize this story. I suspect that McCain central got wind of this story a few weeks ago, and that is why they are pushing the Ayers angle. October surprise, anyone?
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:45 am
Gary I think you care about this more that most people. It is a smear more than anything else and it is working somewhat, like many smears do. I tend to agree that Obama will likely ignore, since it is impossible to prove a negative and addressing it directly just gives it credence.
If Obama wins, I expect this will fade to nothing since it really has no relevance to anything related to policy and he'll be judged on what he does or does not accomplish.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:55 am
I think your post describes the Obama camp's strategy. However, the real smear is that Obama (possibly) lied, big time, in order to get elected. This one will not fade away, IMO.
I do agree with you that Obama does not need to prove a negative, however, the problem with that approach is that a smoking gun might be around the corner on this one, and it will explode. If, for example, there is someone at the publishing house who knows the real story, and decides to spill the beans, Obama is toast.
I expect Obama central to put out a whole bunch of distracting stories...they will not address this issue directly.
Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 12:26 pm
"I think this story will need to be knocked down by Obama, definitively, at some point, even after the election. "
No, it won't. Obama should ignore the Ayers smears completely--no one is interested except the McCain/Palin syncophants like yourself.
you also state:
"A much more compelling question is what Obama would do, if this charge of Ayers ghosting his book is proven? I don't think he could survive it. His credibility would be completely shot, and not recoverable."
Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm
"If Ayers ghosted Obama's book, and it can be proven, it will be a huge story. No wet dreams necessary.""
As I said this is your wet dream--it is a non-issue--except for the McCain/Palin zealots who are clinging to the sinking ship.
"Let me pose the issue in another way: If the story were proven to be true within the next week, and the mainstram press runs with it, are you saying that it would affect the election?"
Not at all. It is a non-issue except for the McCain/Palin zealots who are clinging to the sinking ship--like you.
" This is a spear to the heart of Obama's credibility. "
Again in your wet dreams, Gary. It is a non-issue.
Obama has been too much of a gentleman and taking the high ground by not mentioning McCain's association with Cuban-American terrorists, but that can change.
and as you point out--the article is speculative (and do not forget it's source) and there is no smoking gun. Panic is setting in-republicans are reaching for straws publishing anything and everything without regard to the truth
Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm
Gary--that is fine. Believe what you want. I am not desperate--the republicans are.
Come up with the proof and then we will see what happens. My prediction this is another republican fantasy brought up to try to discredit Obama and the democrats--similar to your fantasy coffee adventures with hordes of people calling Plain names
Posted by Boole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 2:19 pm
Lads and lasses,
I have a request that should be simple and straight forward: PROVE IT.
So far all that is in this post (and so many of the other Ayers/ACORN/Obama boards) are innuendos, speculations, allegations, and smears. Let's use some cold, hard logic instead of these heated pot-shots.
I read the piece. There's absolutely nothing conclusive.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm
Yes, indeed, this charge needs to be proven.
However, the mainstream press could simply ask Obama if Ayers, or any other ghost writer, had any role in writing his "Dreams From my Father". If Obama denies any role, then the story will go away...unless there is a smoking gun out there.
Obama should have no reluctance to deny a lie.
The original story does not seem like some made up stuff, although no definitive proof is provided.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm
That was incredibly unconvincing--the one thing that's clear is none of you have ever written professionally and none of you know much about English lit.
The whole idea of the narrator as a fictional construct is widespread and well-known. It certainly didn't originate with William Ayers. It's been around for a couple of centuries.
The differences in writing style have everything to do with subject matter and purpose. A law article is not meant to evoke an emotional response and empathy--a memoir is. A writer is also far more likely to write more eloquently about something emotionally close to them.
Yeah, Obama's not much of a poet--but the fact that he even wrote poetry indicates a strong interest *in* language and metaphor.
The other giveaway is that the guy is extremely well-spoken when he's off-book--as in the debates. His use of language is well-honed and precise.
Was the book edited? Of course. Books are. Would some of his clunkier phrases have been tossed out in the editing. Of course.
And you know what? That's why publishing companies and magazines and newspapers have editors. Duh.
Like I say, this shows an ignorance about writing for publication.
Posted by so, a resident of Portola Valley, on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:08 pm
I noticed that one of the points was that Ayers let anyone who wanted to write at his kitchen table. I think that this should not be limited to Barack Obama. We need to find out who's been using Mr. Ayers's kitchen table. I think there should be an investigation of anyone who has ever written something (published or not) who has ever lived in, visited, or had a connection in Chicago.
I guarantee that we will find similar language, including words like "the" and "and"!!!!
Posted by Elvis Lives, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:38 pm
McCain avoided censure in the S&L scandal on a technicality. He wasn't a member of the Senate when he committed the acts. He was still a member of the House so the Senate ethics committee didn't have jurisdiction. Otherwise he would have been censured just like the other four.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm
"Was the book edited? Of course. Books are. Would some of his clunkier phrases have been tossed out in the editing. Of course.
And you know what? That's why publishing companies and magazines and newspapers have editors. Duh."
Should I assume that you are a published author? You seem to have strong opinions about the internal ropes of the publishing business.
The Obama camp has said, all along, that he wrote his own book, "Dreams From my Father". He seemed to be completely not up to the task in his first attempt. Are you saying that he quickly found his voice and, with a little editing help, wrote what Time Magazine calls "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."
Your argument is completely unconvincing, OP. You can do better than that.
Posted by Peter, a resident of another community, on Oct 19, 2008 at 3:01 pm
It's not unheard of for an author to revise a book many, many times before even showing it to a publisher. OhlonePar is completely correct. Investigate the condition of drafts by Hemmingway, Faulkner, etal...there was serious editing done to those fine writers to keep them true to their voices and stories. And those guys wrote in longhand or on typewriters, neither technique really conducive to easy editing. Closer to home, local author Ann Packer took 10 years before she submitted here first (and quite successful) novel to an agent. The agent and subsequently the book editor required her to rewrite it completely at least three times; during one of those drafts, she changed the focus of the book entirely.
A newspaper article may go through 15 or 20 complete revisions; a highschool essay 10; a college application essay, Zeus only knows how many.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2008 at 3:39 pm
I don't buy it. You and OP are really saying that the book is written by ghosts, without attribution The Obama campaign contends the he actually wrote it, himself. The palpable issue, for Obama, is whether Ayers was the ghost.
Obama could have rewritten as many drafts as he saw fit, prior to submitting to the publisher...as long as they were his own drafts. That does not seem to be the case, however. Obama got help, and he did not admit it.
Both you and OP are demonstrating real weakness. If you cannot write your own book(s), just admit it. It is OK to have a ghost writer, bue he/she should be identified on the front cover.
Posted by Perspective, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2008 at 4:18 pm
Yes, Gary...usually it is "So and So's story..as told to Mr. or Ms. Writer".
Is there proof of this?
But, on the other hand, it wouldn't matter to Obama supporters. They want him regardless of what we learn about him, his past, his allegiances, his perspective, his proposals...
I have decided that roughly 40% of the pop. will vote for a D, and 40% will vote for an R, regardless of what the D or R are, say, have done, do, or propose. I think that only slightly more than 10% of the population actually picks the Presidents..the slightly more than half of the remaining 20% that aren't committed to R or D.
Well, it will be interesting to see which way we go this time.
Posted by Peter, a resident of another community, on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm
No, I'm saying people rewrite books until they're satisfied or their editors are satisfied. That's normal. An "as told to" book is written by someone for someone else from the beginning, for money. That's like writing a biography without the (relative) objectivity.
Posted by Funny, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:25 pm
Which records are those Sharon? His college grades? Or are you thinking his sophomore year term papers and blue boosk are somewhere carefully preserved, waiting for linguistic analysis (I'm sure mine are, awaiting my run for president). What are you talking about?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:28 pm
"No, I'm saying people rewrite books until they're satisfied or their editors are satisfied"
As long as they rewrite their own words, no problem. However, if the editors write it for them, then it is not their book, unless attibuted to a ghost. The question, with respect to Obama, is if he really wrote his own book, or did he he have a hidden ghost? Of more importance, was Ayers the ghost? If so, Obama is toast.
The days of Kennedy, with his "Profiles in Courage", a ghosted product, unattributed, are over. We, as a people, are more sophisticated than that in the 21st century.
Obama took the praise for his book, "Dreams From my Father". Now it is time to admit the truth. Barack: Did Bill Ayers help you write your autobiography? If not, did someone else? Just tell us the simple truth, Barack.
Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:14 am
Gary does not know what he is talking about--a non-issue has been spewed by another ultra-conservative online rag and Gary is running with it and injecting his usual double speak.
This is a complete and total speculative article, with no proof offered whatsoever--however to the desperate Republicans it is like manna in the wilderness--another distraction to bash Obama with while ignoring the incompetence of McCain and Palin.
Obama will take the high road on this and ignore it completely, leaving Gary/Sharon/perspective/TJ flailing around.