Another Conspiracy Theory Debunked

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Will

Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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  1. Avatar Northeast Elizabeth says:

    The Lawyers, Guns and Money post doesn’t “debunk” anything. It only addresses whether the similarities between Ayers’ writing and Obama’s are sufficient to conclusively prove a common authorship. While the author opines that they may not, he certainly doesn’t point out any differences in style that would exclude Ayers as the author.

    More notably, the post disingenuously ignores the allegation in Christopher Andersen’s new book that Obama gave Ayers audio tapes, a trunkload of notes and a partial manuscript. And nobody disputes that Obama’s only prior works were a poem about apes and figs and a single unsigned law review note and that Simon & Schuster canceled Obama’s contract after he couldn’t finish the book despite a retreat to Bali.

    JFK won a Pulitzer for a book ghostwritten by Ted Sorenson. When that allegation was raised by Drew Pearson in an interview with Mike Wallace, CBS was forced to issue an apology. The same smug dismissals of the allegations as “fringe” were issued but we all know the truth now.

    Given the undisputed circumstances surrounding the creation of “Dreams,” the extraordinary claim would be that Obama wrote it alone. The burden is upon him to dispute what the record so clearly shows.Report

    • Avatar Will says:

      Ah, yes – two “anonymous sources within Hyde Park” and some textual similarities that could link my senior freakin’ thesis to Ayers’ memoirs – clearly, the burden is now on Obama to prove that his memoir wasn’t ghost-written.

      By this logic, I could assert that Obama is secretly from Mars, cite an “anonymous source” or two, and then demand the president “prove” he’s not an alien.Report

      • Avatar Northeast Elizabeth says:

        Andersen has been a contributing editor at Time Magazine for 40 years, and you can bet the lawyers vetted the anonymous source to preclude any chance of legal action. I know you much prefer anonymous sources when they’re talking about Sarah Palin, but what’s good for the goose . . . . Gotta ask, though, you believe that the delivery of a trunkload of notes, tape and the manuscript is just a complete fabrication?

        During the campaign, Obama spokesmen Bill Burton and Robert Gibbs categorically denied that Obama wrote a blurb for one of Ayers’ books. And Obama kept saying he was just “a guy from the neighborhood even though they shared office space on the same floor of the same building for three years. Isn’t it interesting how those fringe claims are debunked by the photographic and documentary evidence in the links?

        And how about Obama’s complete lack of prior authorship, and the S&S cancellation of his contract, little details you don’t bother to dignify?

        Sorry, Andersen isn’t the one with the credibility problem here.Report

        • Avatar Will says:

          No, I happen to think conspiracy theories about anyone are stupid, including the moronic Trig Palin craze.

          Andersen, moreover, is a celebrity journalist, not some hard-scrabble investigative reporter. The fact that Obama knew Ayers or blurbed his book proves absolutely nothing about the authorship of his autobiography.Report

          • Avatar Northeast Elizabeth says:

            The documented lies from the Obama camp regarding his relationship with Ayers certainly establish a conspiracy of sorts, which, together with Obama’s documented lack of authorship and cancellation of the book contact, suggest that the conspiracy might extend to the authorship question. Time will tell.

            Back to my point about “debunking.” One could certainly compare similar passages from works by Sorenson and JFK, and conclude that they didn’t prove Sorenson wrote “Profiles in Courage.” But simply dismissing similarities — as opposed to highlighting dissimilarities — isn’t debunking.Report

            • Avatar MikeF says:

              The burden of proof is on the people who claim that the book was secretly ghostwritten by Ayers. Dismissing similarities that aren’t very unique or compelling is certainly a reasonable approach to take with the people who are bringing nothing but non-unique and non-compelling similarities to the table. I’ll start paying attention to the authorship “debate” when someone does a rigorous statistical analysis of the text, with an openly discussed, appropriate methodology, that shows widespread similarities in style that are unlikely to be attributable to chance. Or when someone can produce reliable, on-the-record sources. Until then, it’s “Whitey Tape” redux.Report

  2. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    This authorship question is not a conspiracy theory: A conspiracy theory

    refers to any theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful Machiavellian conspirators, such as a “secret team” or “shadow government”, rather than broad social forces and large structures of human collectivities.Wikipedia

    In this case, we’re only speculating on the authorship of a book. There is no appeal to secret plots to explain some historical event. It’s just a controversial claim made by a journalist. This can be evaluated on its merits without discrediting it and its authors as “conspiracy theorists” as if they were just some nutjobs, like the 9/11 truthers or Nazi anti Semites.

    Northeast Elizabeth certainly has the goods and the logic on her side. The following went unanswered:

    Obama gave Ayers audio tapes, a trunkload of notes and a partial manuscript. And nobody disputes that Obama’s only prior works were a poem about apes and figs and a single unsigned law review note and that Simon & Schuster canceled Obama’s contract after he couldn’t finish the book despite a retreat to Bali.

    Also not getting a proper response is this:

    The documented lies from the Obama camp regarding his relationship with Ayers certainly establish a conspiracy of sorts, which, together with Obama’s documented lack of authorship and cancellation of the book contact, suggest that the conspiracy might extend to the authorship question. Time will tell.

    To me it looks as if Will wants to hold himself above any so-called conspiracy theory, as if they were all bunkum. But the problem with conspiracy theories is that conspiracies do exist, as in the Ayers/Obama case that Northeast Elizabeth cites. If we were refer to the Watergate conspiracy, we would not be touting any so-called conspiracy theory but a real conspiracy.

    I really don’t care who wrote Obama’s books. If it was Ayers and Obama got the credit and the money, then good for both of them. I don’t see anything illegal here or even really unethical, if both of them agree to the deal. True, they’re fooling the public but that’s what politicians do, after all. So what?

    The real problem here is not an obscure authorship question but people’s idolization of Obama. This cannot withstand the idea that the book that inspired millions was ghost written. If this is Will’s problem, then he needs to grow up. If he did that he wouldn’t did himself into holes like the one Northeast Elizabeth go him into.Report

  3. Avatar Travis says:

    The racist undertones of this narrative are plain as day.

    “Obama’s a black person. Black people are stupid. Ergo, Obama’s too stupid to have written a book.”Report

  4. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Has His Magnificence published a ‘paper,’ and if so where may I go to see it? I’m not being snarky here, I’d just like to dispel the rumor that The Enlightened One isn’t as smart as ‘some’ on the Left say he is.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Does anyone know if Obama is a Mason?Report

    • Avatar Will says:

      Well, Jaybird, a friend of a friend has several anonymous sources within the local Masonic lodge who reliably inform me that Obama is, in fact, a third-level initiate.Report

      • Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

        Well, Jaybird, a friend of a friend has several anonymous sources within the local Masonic lodge who reliably inform me that Obama is, in fact, a third-level initiate.

        Har-de-har-har-har-har!

        I guess that one really put ’em in their place! Nothing like a good dose of real college humor!Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

        Will, it’s a simple question, do you know where I can read a ‘paper’ BO wrote? I’d like to read it and no snarkdom intended!Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Bob my friend, my pretty trout (admire the authentic Newfoundlandisms), for you I shall invest a few minutes.

          A cursory google search yielded this op ed authored by Obama.
          http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/opinion/16obama.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

          Also this looks like a page with some links to some other speeches and items he’s written.
          http://labs.daylife.com/journalist/barack_obama

          Never let it be said I never did anything for you.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            My googling has told me that Obama is a 32nd Degree Prince Hall Freemason.

            If you really want to get into some conspiracy stuff worth breathing together over, it’s *THERE*.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Eh? Jay are you hitting on me?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I am actually happily monogamous and was making a reference to the whole Latin roots of the word “conspire”.

                But now I’m pleasantly flustered and will probably enjoy my day a little bit more than I would have otherwise.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            But can you prove he wrote them? Remember Obama ate lunch in the same deli as William Ayers just an hour after Ayers ate his borscht. And Obama even has commie Dijon mustard on his burger. No unless you can conclusive prove he wrote them, then clearly it remains an open question about whether he killed vince foster.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Wait, what? I was just trying to give Bob some Obama written articles.

              Greginak are you hitting on me too? I didn’t even put on any cologne this morning. Plus how could a left winger like you be allured by the same thing that draws out a libertarian gym rat like Jay? I’m confused!Report

          • Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

            North, I can’t tell you how kind I think you were in making this effort. However, with the grateful and warm gooey feeling melting away, what I was looking for was a legal, or philosophical, or research ‘paper.’ Something with footnotes e.g. a little serious writing! In the links you were kind enough to provide I did find one site that said they can’t find any research, legal, or ‘serious’ writing that he’s done that’s been published…..though they’re probably a bunch of spear-chucking radical rightists!
            Seriously dude, thanks but it’s becoming more and more obvious that BO is something of an intellectual dud…you fellows on the left got some major ass-covering to do!
            Again, thanks, and Jaybird…straighten up!Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              It don’t get much straighter than monogamous, Bob.

              That said, just because you are on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t look at the cakes in the bakery window!Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Hey Bob don’t look at me to do Obama defending. I was Clinton all the way until she lost.

              That said, even if the man hasn’t written any serious heavy duty papers I’m not particularily concerned about his reputation. I’m confidant that he’s smarter than Bill was (though I don’t know if he has Slick Willy’s cunning) and God knows that he has W beat and I’ll through in Bush Senior too. Regan was before my time so I can’t compare but he undoubtably has Carter whipped so that’s what, 30-40 years of Presidency that he’s on par with or exceeds? I think we’ll do fine.

              And Jay, I’m freshly married myself and also monogamous. But I did enjoy crossfire and the Capital gang so we both seem to share a fundness for nuts.Report

  6. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Oh, wait!!!!
    Jaybird, North, and Greginak….the three…..?
    You guys should be on teevee, with Oprah singing, “Barack Hussein Obama…hmm, hmmm, hmmmm!Report

  7. Avatar alainL says:

    Nobody said being a blogger was easy. Or, as Emily Lietla said “Never mind”. Bill Ayers now admits he wrote “Dreams of My Father”. http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/dennis-byrne-barbershop/2009/10/bill-ayers-claims-he-wrote-obamas-dreams-from-my-father.html#Report