Sunday, July 12, 2009

Who Wrote Audacity of Hope?

By Jack Cashill
American Thinker
12 July 2009

Excerpt. Highlight added:

...Dreams (From My Father)...according to esteemed British author Jonathan Raban and others, captures Obama's "authentic voice."... Raban called Obama "the best writer to occupy the White House since Lincoln."

Although Audacity (Of Hope) has received respectful reviews, it has not gotten the raves Dreams has. The New York Times describes Audacity "as much more of a political document. Portions of the volume read like outtakes from a stump speech."

Still, despite the book's "flabby platitudes," the Times assures its readers that "enough of the narrative voice in this volume is recognizably similar to the one in Dreams From My Father."

Without intending to, the Times likely captured the thinking behind the creation of Audacity.

If portions of Audacity sound like outtakes from stump speeches, it is because they are outtakes from stump speeches. This can be proved.What cannot be proved, but what seems likely, is that Obama included just "enough of the narrative voice" from Dreams to maintain continuity between the two books.

The question remains -- who provided that narrative voice?

In the criticism of my last two American Thinker articles, only the Washington Post addressed the central issue, and it did so facetiously: "The book [Dreams] is beautifully written and yet, in Cashill's opinion, Obama is - and always was - a crappy ... writer."

...The three existing samples of Obama's prose before Dreams -- the 1983 article "Breaking the War Mentality," the 1988 article "Why Organize," and his unsigned 1990 Harvard Law Review case note -- are proof enough that Barack Obama is, in fact, a crappy writer.

...Based on any of his pre-Dreams samples, Obama would not have made the first cut. I never would have hired him. No one would have. He is simply a crappy writer.

I have also taught writing at enough levels and under enough different circumstances to know that even the best teacher cannot transform a crappy writer into a great writer...

...In October 2006, Audacity debuted to kind reviews and huge sales. Despite Obama's "unforgiving Senate schedule and periodic bouts of writer's block," he had been able to write a 216-page book without any acknowledged writing help in what was likely an 18-month window. This was the same writer who blew a $125,000 advance because he was unable to produce a book during "several" much less hectic years, the same writer who between his 1995 masterpiece and Audacity had written nothing deeper than a column for a community newsletter.

...Obama's answer to Durham's question. "What inspires you", shows up word-for-word (70 words) in the promotional blurb for Audacity. The explanation was legitimate enough, however, for Time Magazine.

  • "His best writing time comes late at night when he's all alone, scribbling on yellow legal pads," wrote Jay Newton-Small two months before the November 2008 election. "This is how he wrote both of his two best selling books -- Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope -- staying up after Michelle and his two young daughters had long gone to bed, reveling in the late night quiet."

Little of this rings true. Obama's oldest daughter was born in 1998, three years after Dreams was published...

One of my more diligent correspondents, whom I call Mr. West, has been doing some intriguing analysis of Audacity...Mr. West also compared Audacity to various stump speeches made by Obama during the time Audacity was being written...

...Mr. West has since compared Dreams and Audacity...His conclusion, "Ayers was absolutely not involved in Audacity."

By 2006, Obama appears to have been reading speeches that have been lifted in full from the text of Audacity...

Of course, all that this proves is that whoever wrote Obama's speeches wrote large sections of Audacity, perhaps all of it, and this is only an issue if someone other than Obama wrote his speeches.

As we are seeing, though, falsehoods have a way of compounding themselves. When Rachel Klayman of Crown pulled Dreams from the vaults and put it back in circulation, she unknowingly set in motion a series of fabrications, beginning with the foundational myth that Obama is a literary genius. To sustain that myth, Obama's enablers have to make us believe that he also wrote Audacity by himself as well as most of his speeches, staying up unto 1 A.M. each night to do so.

The emergence of Jon Favreau, whom Time Magazine calls a "wunderkind wordsmith," complicates this scenario. After a February 2009 speech to Congress, the Washington Post ran a photo of Obama holding the speech, on the first page of which was clearly printed, "Draft 2/24/09 12pm...Favreau/Rhodes." It even included Favreau's phone number.

According to Wikipedia, "Favreau was hired as Obama's speechwriter shortly after Obama's election to the United States Senate. Obama and Favreau grew close, and Obama has referred to him as his ‘mind reader.'" Obama thought highly enough of Favreau to make him his chief speechwriter for the presidential campaign. The London Guardian reports that Favreau carries Dreams wherever he goes and can "conjure up his master's voice as if an accomplished impersonator."

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