A few weeks back, I wrote a column titled, “Who Wrote ‘Dreams From My Father’?” My research led me to the conclusion that a literary neophyte like Obama could not have written the memoir on his own. It was simply too well crafted.
I was also suspicious about his claim that publishers had sought him out, while still unknown, contract in hand. I doubted, too, that the publisher would have paid him a hefty advance.
And I refused to believe that his publisher would have invested the hefty ghostwriting fee needed to rescue the project after four years of amateurish dithering, a dithering that included an extended stay for Barack and Michelle on Bali.
“The whole story smells of purposeful intervention,” I wrote. “The whole book does. A political career holds more promise when launched with a lovely memoir under one’s belt than with an unfulfilled contract over one’s head. Much more.”
“The question remains,” I concluded, “who did the intervening and why?” I sensed and still do an affluent and unseen political godfather, someone with a grander vision than Bill Ayers or Tony Rezko.
A recent televised interview with octogenarian entrepreneur and politico Percy Sutton, on a New York City show called “Inside City Hall,” sheds light on the question of who this godfather might be.
A Manhattan borough president for 12 years and a credible candidate for mayor of New York City in 1977, Sutton spoke knowingly about the Obama candidacy. Although unspecified as to date, the interview likely took place within the last few months.
“I was introduced to [Obama] by a friend,” Sutton told the interviewer. The friend’s name was Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, and the introduction took place about 20 years ago.
Sutton described al-Mansour as “the principle adviser to one of the world’s richest men.” He also implied that al-Mansour was currently raising money for Obama.
Knowing that Sutton had friends at Harvard, al-Mansour asked Sutton to “please write a letter in support of [Obama] … a young man that has applied to Harvard.” Sutton gladly did so.
Although Sutton does not specify a date, this would likely have been in 1988 when the 27-year-old Obama was applying to Harvard Law.
Two years later, while still a law student, Obama improbably received an advance to write a memoir that would be called “Dreams From My Father” when finally published in 1995.
Not yet clear is who exactly this Khalid al-Mansour is. There are at least two candidates, one more troubling than the other. The first is a Muslim crackpot preacher who has not met the paranoid racial fantasy unworthy of his energy.
The second, more likely, is a Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour, described as “an internationally acknowledged adviser to heads of state and business leaders in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America.”
Apparently, al-Mansour serves on the Board of, among others, Saudi African Bank and was responsible for the Africa investment activities of Kingdom Holdings, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s investment company.
Two other details argue for this al-Mansour’s involvement in Obama’s academic and literary careers. He has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University and has authored 24 books.
In short, al-Mansour fits the profile of the political godfather. When I was speculating whose “purposeful intervention” had steered Obama’s career through its rough spots, I could not have imagined a more likely candidate.
Caution is warranted here. This story is still developing, not in the major media of course, but in the blogosphere, where just about all serious reporting now takes place.