Following the lead of the New Yorker’s David Remnick and the New York Times’ Janny Scott, the Boston Globe’s Sally Jacobs chooses to duck the truth about President Obama’s origins in her new biography, “The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father.”
Like her fellow biographers, Jacobs labors to protect the foundational myth of President Obama’s political ascendancy, in Remnick’s words, “his own life as a reflection of a kind of multicultural ideal.”
As the president tells the story, he was the product of an “improbable love” between a girl from Kansas and a goatherd from Kenya who shared a “faith in the possibilities of this nation.”
Last month on the eve of Father’s Day, Obama buttressed the myth once more by claiming that Obama Sr. “left when I was 2 years old.” This implies, of course, that there was a home and family to leave.
There was not, but like Scott in her new biography of Obama’s mother, “A Singular Woman,” Jacobs helps sustain the fraud by both omission and commission.
About the courtship of Ann Dunham and Obama Sr., Jacobs rehashes old information. As she relates, Obama “said nothing of his new girlfriend to most of his friends on campus.” Jacobs attributes this to Obama Sr.’s discretion on personal matters.
Obama Sr., however, was less discreet about other women. Jacobs tells of his courtship of a blonde co-ed, whom he often took out in public, including a night of dancing at a tourist hot spot in Honolulu.
Later Jacobs relates the tale of future Obama Sr. spouse Ruth Baker. Writes Jacobs of the couple, “They went dancing at the hottest clubs around Cambridge.” No such luck for Ann Dunham. No one even knew they were an item.
As to the wedding between Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham, Jacobs says only, “The couple apparently had a quiet civil ceremony.” In “A Singular Woman,” Scott writes that the wedding took place “reportedly on the island of Maui.”
Apparently? Reportedly? The only fact that justifies a biography about Dunham or Obama Sr. is that they married and had a baby six months later.
Yet their respective biographers can tell us next nothing about their courtship or their marriage and express no skepticism about either.
Indeed, Jacobs entertains the idea that the Maui trip was “endearingly romantic” in that the couple “would have had to spend on costly airline tickets and a hotel at time when neither of them had much money.”
Like Scott, Jacobs tells the reader not one word about Dunham’s whereabouts for the next six months. The only exception is the bombshell Jacobs dropped last week. This she gleaned from an INS document dated April 12, 1961, four months before the birth:
“Subject [Obama] got his USC [United States citizen] wife ‘Hapai’ [pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away.”
As I reported on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security, which absorbed the INS in 2003, redacted the above sentence from the documents it later sent to Heather Smathers of the Arizona Independent.
DHS did not redact this newsworthy bit of information from the documents it sent to Jacobs, but that is a separate scandal.
Unlike Dunham, who dropped out of the University of Hawaii, Obama Sr. continued to attend classes during the period of Dunham’s pregnancy.
Reports Jacobs, “To the Stardust crowd, at least, he remained a single, unencumbered guy with dazzling prospects.” This does not sound like the kind of guy who would spend the little money he had on a romantic Maui getaway.
As to the Aug. 4, 1961, birth of Barack Obama II in Honolulu, Jacobs cites as her information source the “certification of live birth” released by the Obama campaign.
That’s it. At least Jacobs gets the terminology right. But like Scott again, she provides no details about the birth other than what can be found on that document. Nor does she acknowledge any controversy about it.
It is in the months that follow the birth that Jacobs, like Scott and Remnick before her, gets creative, but Jacobs has even less excuse for her mischief.
The INS documents in her possession confirm that both on April 12, 1961, and on Aug. 31, 1961, the couple was not living together. The Aug. 31 document notes that Dunham is heading for Washington state.
Still, Jacobs feels obliged to create a married life for this couple. To accomplish this, she turns to current Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, whose serial lies about his relationship to baby Obama were exposed at the beginning of 2011.
Knowing this, Jacobs would have had time to rewrite the Abercrombie section but did not. She takes him at this word that “every now and then” Obama Sr. took his wife and baby out to meet friends. This is nonsense.
In reality, the baby’s first confirmed sighting was in Seattle in late August 1961, when Obama was roughly three weeks old. The witness to this is Dunham’s childhood friend, Susan Botkin Blake.
On this point, Blake seems reliable. She has been telling this part of the story consistently for the last three years. Another friend, Maxine Box, confirmed it. Dunham showed up in Seattle with baby in tow in August 1961.
As all records indicate, Dunham and the baby stayed in Seattle for about a year with Ann enrolling at the University of Washington for the fall quarter and re-enrolling through the spring. As early as August 2009, WND was posting Dunham’s transcript.
This same information was available to all Obama biographers. Conservative activist Michael Patrick Leahy was reporting Dunham’s Seattle sojourn as early as the summer of 2008.
The mainstream media turned a blind eye. Not one of the four book-length biographies I consulted for “Deconstructing Obama” places Dunham anywhere other than Hawaii during Obama’s first two years.
The same holds true for the magazine bios I researched including a lengthy one by the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning David Maraniss.
This is not an incidental detail. The mother’s exile to Washington means no less than that the famed multicultural marriage, the rock on which Obama built his political career, was pure sand.
Remnick was the first of the orthodox scribes to break the silence with the spring 2010 publication of his Obama bio, “The Bridge.” He mentions the Washington exile casually as if to suggest that it was common knowledge.
Remnick buffers the news further by claiming that Ann took “extension courses” in the fall and implies that she did not arrive until the spring semester.
Scott too concedes Dunham did go to Seattle but, like Remnick, she plays games with the timeline. “In the spring quarter of 1962, as Obama was embarking on his final semester in Hawaii, Ann was enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle,” Scott writes.
As in Remnick’s case, this is borderline fraud. Scott conceals the larger truth that Ann had already been at the university for months.
Jacobs does much the same. “Dunham would, in fact, enroll at U-Dub [the University of Washington] the following spring,” writes Jacobs, temporarily ignoring Dunham’s attendance in the fall.
However, all four of these biographers, Maraniss included, acknowledge Dunham’s visit with Blake, a visit that causes everyone problems.
Maraniss solves his problem by pushing the Blake-Dunham encounter back to August 1962, two months after Obama Sr. had left for Harvard.
“She was on her way from her mother’s house to Boston to be with her husband,” Blake reportedly told Maraniss. “[She said] he had transferred to grad school and she was going to join him.”
To sustain the Obama family mythology, Remnick claims that in fall 1962 “Ann went with the baby to Cambridge briefly to visit her husband, but that trip was a failure and she returned to Hawaii.” He seems to be building on Maraniss’ misreporting of the Blake interview. There is no other source.
Scott also cites Blake but correctly pulls the encounter back to “late in the summer of 1961.” Scott does not tell us why Dunham happened to fly her three-week old in for a quick visit with a friend whom she would never see again.
Knowing what the INS documents revealed, Jacobs has to be the most imaginative. Citing Blake as her source, Jacobs traces the visit to August 1961 but claims that Dunham “was coming through Seattle on her way to Boston to look into job possibilities for herself.”
Why Boston? Obama Sr. “had been accepted into graduate school there and they would likely move the following year.” Jacobs reports this absurdity with a straight face.
Jacobs was just getting warmed up. Apparently after returning to Hawaii from her Boston visit, “just months” after the baby was born, Dunham moved back to Seattle with her baby.
Jacobs places this move in “the fall of 1961″ and now claims Dunham “enrolled at U-Dub.” On Page 125, Jacobs said that Dunham enrolled in the spring quarter of 1962. On Page 126, Jacobs implies it was the fall quarter of 1961. This is just half-assed reporting.
To rescue the multicultural ideal in the face of all facts to the contrary, Jacobs quotes Blake at great length about how wildly in love Dunham was with “the African.”
Although this recollection was based on a single conversation from 50 years ago with a woman Blake would never see again, Jacobs accepts it as gospel.