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Obama's fictionalized family history
Posted By Jack Cashill On 09/20/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
In November 2009 President Barack Obama toured China on an official state visit. During that tour, Obama spent roughly five minutes with his half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo, and Ndesandjo’s Chinese wife.
Ndesandjo, the son of Barack Obama Sr. and his American-born wife Ruth Baker, had been living and working in China since 2002. CNN did a short piece on his meeting with the president.
What this clip reveals is Obama’s chronic failure to keep his story straight. The reason for this failure is becoming obvious: Much of Obama’s biography has been fictionalized, and much of that fiction has been written by other people.
As a result, Obama appears not to remember what has been written under his name. So far, given the media’s indifference to the truth, it has not really mattered. That may change.
In his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” Obama goes on at great length about his first meeting with Ndesandjo, who was born in 1965, four years after Obama.
In “Dreams,” Obama places this meeting in 1988 during his first trip to Africa. This timing works well in the book because it follows Obama’s introduction chez Jeremiah Wright to Christianity, or something like it, and immediately precedes his enrollment at Harvard Law.
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Like most reporters, Obama’s most influential biographer, David Remnick, accepts the 1988 date. In his 2006 visit to Kenya, however, Obama spoke to a large gathering at a Kenyan University and placed his first visit to Africa in 1987.
To complicate matters, Africa.com traces Obama’s first Kenyan visit to 1983, the summer after college graduation, “when he had come to mourn his late father.”
In that Barack Sr. died in late 1982, this makes sense. An early Obama biographer, the usually reliable David Mendell, also puts this first visit in 1983.
As Obama tells the story in “Dreams” – and nowhere else – he spent eight weeks on this first journey, an inexplicable luxury for a chronically broke young man no matter what the year.
His first stop was allegedly Europe. I say “allegedly” because most of the specifics sound like they were pulled from a Michelin Guide and the others from Bill Ayers’ memory banks.
“I hear you’re at Berkeley,” said Obama upon first meeting Ndesandjo, allegedly in Kenya on summer break that year, whenever year it was.
“Stanford,” Ndesandjo corrected. Obama adds accurately, “His voice was deep, his accent perfectly American.”
“I’m in my last year of the physics program there,” Ndesandjo told Obama. If this account is even close to correct, it would rule out the 1983 date for Obama’s first visit.
Another detail, however, argues for an earlier date. This first meeting is at Ruth’s home. Obama remembers her current husband, Ndesandjo’s stepfather, bouncing his and Ruth’s son, Joey, on his lap. Joey was born no later than 1980. Do the math.
After a lengthy meeting with Ndesandjo and his mother, Obama reportedly called his half-brother the following week, and the two had a heart-to-heart over lunch.
The details of the discussion ring true. Ndesandjo, who grew up with Obama Sr., was so appalled by his father’s behavior that he took his stepfather’s name after his parents divorced and turned his back on Kenya.
“Don’t you ever feel like you might be losing something?” asked the forever patronizing Obama, then noisily trying to reclaim his own Kenyan roots.
“Understand, I’m not ashamed of being half Kenyan,” Ndesandjo answered. “I just don’t ask myself a lot of questions about what it all means. About who I really am.”
The Ndesandjo CNN interviewed in 2009 seems consistent with the one Obama described in “Dreams.” Ndesandjo self-identified not as Kenyan, but as Jewish, his mother’s faith and ethnicity.
At the time of Obama’s visit in 2009, Ndesandjo was marketing a semi-autobiographical novel about growing up with an abusive father. In fact, he told the Washington Post that he wrote the novel in part to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Still, Ndesandjo spoke movingly of his meeting with the new president. He was clearly proud of his “big brother.”
The sentiment did not seem to be reciprocated. When interviewed by CNN about Ndesandjo, Obama answered dismissively, “Well, you know, I don’t know him well.”
Obama then added the kicker that deepens the Obama mystery, “I met him for the first time a couple of years ago.”
If Obama met Ndesandjo in Africa as claimed, that first meeting would have been more than 20 years prior. In “Dreams,” they met twice, at length both times, and in some depth.
These meetings, whenever they were, apparently had no lasting impact. “[Ndesandjo] stopped by with his wife for about five minutes during the trip,” a seemingly annoyed Obama told CNN. “I haven’t read [his] book, but it’s no secret that my father was a troubled person.”
Obama may not have read his own book, at least not recently. There should be no forgetting the two poignant, detailed visits with a new-found brother, visits that consume three pages of book space.
In sorting through this story, it is hard to know what is true. Best guess: Obama visited Ruth and pulled a few details about Ndesandjo from this visit and from his half-sister Auma’s recollection. Ayers filled in the blanks.
This kind of fictionalization would not be particularly troubling were it an anomaly. It is not. It is the norm. No one really knows where the lies begin and end.
As the media begin to turn on Obama – they are already starting – they will wonder why no one alerted them to the greatest con in American political history and look for someone to blame.
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