In all the talk about David Maraniss’ new book, “Barack Obama: The Story,” the chattering classes seem to have overlooked the most significant of Maraniss’ revelations, namely that the story on which Obama based his 2008 candidacy is “received myth, not the truth.”
“My parents shared not only an improbable love,” said Obama famously in his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote, “they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation.” This concept of multicultural romance shaped his persona and his campaigns.
At the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver, Obama leaped into the story in the very first sentence. “Four years ago,” he began, “I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.”
As Maraniss concedes, these two young people shared very close to nothing. “In the college life of Barack Obama in 1961 and 1962,” writes Maraniss, “as recounted by his friends and acquaintances in Honolulu, there was no Ann; there was no baby.”
Although Maraniss talked to many of Obama Sr.’s friends, none of the credible ones ever so much as saw him with Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham.
One Obama friend, a Cambodian named Kiri Tith, knew the senior Obama “very well.” He had also met Ann through a different channel. “But he had no idea,” writes Maraniss, “that Ann knew Obama, let alone got hapai (pregnant) by him, married him, and had a son with him.”
Only Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie claims to have seen the pair together during the presumed courtship stage, but he is not close to credible.
“Maybe I’m the only one in the country,” Abercrombie told the Los Angeles Times in December 2010, “that could look you right in the eye right now and tell you, ‘I was here when that baby was born.’” This was pure lie, no other word for it.
A few days later, Abercrombie clarified to Mark Niesse of the Associated Press that he didn’t exactly see Obama’s parents with their newborn son at the hospital, but that he “remembers seeing Obama as a child with his parents at social events.” Another lie.
Maraniss should have quoted Abercrombie with the stated qualifier that he has proved unreliable on all things Obama, but he did not. Abercrombie was too important. Without Abercrombie, there is no contemporary witness to any kind of relationship. Maraniss, however, knew enough not to quote Abercrombie on his claim to having seen the baby with his parents.
Despite his Herculean digging into the dung of Obama’s life, Maraniss’ shovel comes up empty on the couple’s alleged February 1961 wedding. He footnotes his comments thusly: “Marriage facts recorded in divorce records.”
There is no doubt that both Ann Dunham and Obama claimed a wedding. It suited both their purposes, Obama to extend his visa and Dunham to legitimize her baby with a black husband.
As to the divorce, Dunham at the time was desperately trying to keep her future husband, Lolo Soetoro, in the country. The INS believed her to be married to Obama. Even if she were not married, a divorce would have been useful to clear the way for a marriage to Soetoro.
Like all other biographers of either Obama or his parents, Maraniss is totally silent on Dunham’s whereabouts from the February marriage to the August birth. He adds one detail, however, that deepens the mystery.
According to the birth certificate and the newspaper announcements, the young family lived at 6085 Kalanianole Highway where Dunham’s parents lived. Obama Sr. clarified to the INS that mother and baby lived there without him.
Maraniss definitively states that “[Dunham] and Obama and the infant never lived [at 6085 Kalanianole].” There was no room. The senior Dunhams shared the house with the Pratt family. The Pratt daughter “has no memory of the Dunhams’ daughter bringing an infant home.”
And yes, finally, an Obama biographer admits what the blogosphere has known for the last four years: “Within a month of the day Barry came home from the hospital, he and his mother were long gone from Honolulu, back on the mainland. …”
“This period, Washington State revisited,” Maraniss writes, “is missing from the memoir the son would write decades later.” In fact, as recently as Father’s Day 2012, Obama was claiming that his father left home when he was 2.
What Maraniss does not say is that he missed the Seattle hegira story himself in the 10,000-word Washington Post article he wrote on the eve of the 2008 election.
He was hardly unique. No one in the mainstream media wanted to blow the whistle on the fraudulent family fable that got Obama elected president.
The New Yorker’s David Remnick chose to overlook it in his 2010 Obama bio. The New York Times’ Janny Scott overlooked it in her 2011 bio of Obama’s mother. The Boston Globe’s Sally Jacobs overlooked it in her 2011 bio of Obama’s father, and the Times’s Jodi Kantor overlooked it in her 2012 book on the whole extended family.
Worse, conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza chose not to report the fraud in his disingenuous best-seller, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” As D’Souza explains, Obama was “his father’s son.” Dunham served largely as the vehicle through which the absent Obama exercised his will on the young Obama, she being “Obama Sr.’s first convert” to anti-colonialism.
D’Souza should have known this was nonsense. Conservative writer Michael Patrick Leahy had broken the Seattle story as early as 2008 in his book, “What Does Barack Believe.” It was accepted knowledge in the conservative blogosphere by 2009.
What Maraniss has laid bare, perhaps without meaning to, is a journalistic scandal of historic proportions in which, alas, he himself has played a part.