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Obama’s Final Straw?

January 30, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

There were many on the right who feared that Barack Obama was the ultimate “Teflon President,” that nothing he did or failed to do would diminish his popularity with a solid majority of the American people.
Those fears have been allayed. The disastrous rollout of Obamacare, with the accompanying repetition on the nightly news of the long list of lies and misrepresentations made by the president when he sold the program to the people, seems to have done what the lies over Benghazi, the IRS snooping on Tea Party activists, “Fast and Furious,” and the NSA collection of data on private citizens could not. Obama is shrinking in the polls, to a level matched by the worst years of the George W. Bush presidency.
We hear reporters and television commentators, who until now have been overtly supportive of Obama, stating flatly that he has “lost the confidence” of the American people, that the voters “no longer trust him,” and that he will “have a difficult time turning things around” during the rest of his term in office.
Few predicted that things would get this bad for the president. We have come a long way from the adoring crowds and his Nobel Peace Prize. Obama is now a running joke with the late-night comedians.
That said, there seems to be a solid 35 percent or so of Americans who remain on Obama’s side, no matter what is revealed about him. Then again, maybe not. Recent revelations made by Emmett Tyrrell in his syndicated column could prove to be the final straw. Tyrrell is reporting that William Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist, is on the verge of taking credit for being the ghost writer for Obama’s best-selling book Dreams From My Father. It seems that Ayers is promoting a new book of his own, and needs to drum up some attention to boost sales, and, writes Tyrrell, is ready to “suggest that he is the real author” of President Obama’s book.
Tyrrell goes so far as to state explicitly that Beacon Press, Ayers’ publisher, is ready to state flatly that Ayers will “confess” openly that he wrote Dreams From My Father. This is not the first time that Ayers has dropped hints about his role in writing Obama’s book. According to Tyrrell, “In March 2011, during a question and answer session at Montclair State University, he admitted authorship of the book,” after his help had been solicited by Michelle Obama. The reaction in the press at the time was that Ayers was being sarcastic. If Tyrrell is correct, we are about to find out that he was telling the truth.
My first reaction was that Ayers would never do anything like this because of his devotion to the agenda of the Obama presidency. But things have changed. Ayers has been critical of what he considers Obama’s sellout on issues such as NSA surveillance, the use of drones in the Middle East, the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and Obama’s coziness with corporate bigwigs. Beyond that, Ayers has never hesitated to place his self-interest before his dedication to left-wing causes. The man is a terrorist, to be sure, be he is also a self-promoter. He has a long record of tapping into the government grants that gravitate toward left-wing activist groups.
The only people who don’t know that the 1960s and 1970s countercultural leftist rhetoric about “love and peace and the brotherhood of man” was a smokescreen to cover a cluster of self-centered motives are those who never knew a countercultural leftist.
But is this ghost-writer stuff plausible? It is. Even people who back Obama have been struck by how Obama rarely expresses himself eloquently when speaking without the aid of a teleprompter. He stumbles, he stutters, he rarely finds an uplifting phrase. But Dreams From My Father is well-written, the work of a highly literate man with a firm grasp on the English language. That does not prove that Obama did not write his books, of course. It is not uncommon to discover that a favorite author does not fare well when speaking extemporaneously in an interview. It is not impossible that Obama is such an individual.
It could also be argued that, even if Obama had a ghost writer, he would not be the first public figure to do that. It is now conceded that someone else, someone hired by his father, wrote John F. Kennedy’s early books, Why England Slept and Portraits in Courage. Theodore Sorensen is frequently mentioned as the ghost writer. In recent years we have heard of the team of “research associates” who “collaborated” with Bill and Hillary Clinton on their memoirs.
All true. But Obama may not get the wink that these other public figures get over their literary efforts. He was sold to the American people as a great intellect, as a “constitutional scholar” with a firm grasp on American history and law and the struggles faced by Third World countries, as a transformational figure above routine political spin. If it turns out that this reputation was manufactured out of whole cloth, it may deliver a fatal blow to his credibility and public image. People do not like to feel that they were manipulated by con artists who assumed they were easy prey because of their gullibility.
A leader can recover from a mistake, from an error in judgment, from a display of human weakness. That is why Bill Clinton was able to ride out the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He did not engage in the tryst with Lewinsky for the purpose of deceiving the public. He lied after being caught behaving in a shameful manner. Apparently a majority of Americans were willing to buy the line his spin doctors contrived about how “everyone lies about sex.”
If it turns out that Obama lied over the authorship of his books, it will be a different sort of lie, one planned in advance to deceive the public about his intellectual credentials for the purpose of gaining power and wealth. Which means the public’s reaction may be more like its reaction when it was discovered that the 1980s rock group Milli Vanilli was lip-synching to songs by someone else. The members of the group were seen as frauds and became laughingstocks; their careers came to an end.
They could not be taken seriously any longer, especially by those who were the group’s biggest fans. They were the ones deceived. People do not like to be made into chumps in public, including the tub-thumpers who told us with a straight face that Obama was the smartest man, with the highest IQ, ever to become president.
It will be an interesting moment for the American left if Ayers comes clean in the way Emmett Tyrrell predicts. The left-wing media will face the decision of whether to brand Ayers, the most authentic of the old Vietniks, a man who turned to “direct action” to stop the Vietnam War, who walked the walk, the Weatherman who, in Bob Dylan’s words, knew “which way the wind blows,” a liar and a fraud — or Obama.

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