August 17, 2008

BizzyBlog Post Reprise: Over 18 Months Later, I Have Seen No Substantive Response to This

The original fact v. fiction story about Barack Obama’s father came from Sharon Churcher’s the January 27, 2007 UK Telegraph, a paper doing work US media outlets have refused to do.

The link still works. My original mid-February 2007 post relating to Churcher’s story is here.

I haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe that there is something wrong with Churcher’s story. Beyond that, Greg Ransom has found additional related info and raised additional related questions that, again, still stand.

Because of all of this, I have seen no reason to change the opinions expressed in my original post, and won’t change them until there is some kind of successful challenge to Churcher’s, and now Ransom’s, work.

So I’m reprising that 2007 post, while bolding a couple of extra items. The point made near the end about Mitt Romney remains valid, even though I have since concluded that he is Objectively Unfit to hold public office.

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I Really Wouldn’t Care About This, But for Two Things

“This” is a report by Sharon Churcher at the UK Daily Mail (HT Ace) about Barack Obama’s father. Churcher reports that:

A drunk and a bigot – what the US Presidential hopeful HASN’T said about his father…

We have discovered that his father was not just a deeply flawed individual but an abusive bigamist and an egomaniac, whose life was ruined not by racism or corruption but his own weaknesses.

And, devastatingly, the testimony has come from Mr Obama’s own relatives and family friends.

Do read the whole thing.

As the title of my post indicates, I ordinarily would not care. For example, Bill Clinton’s dad had his problems; that was, properly, largely irrelevant. His father’s name wasn’t on the ballot.

Unfortunately, there are two reasons why I won’t let go of this.

First, Barack Obama has made the life story of his father an issue, because he wrote a book that is strongly at odds with what Churcher reports:

(Mr. Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father) is a classic story of the American dream made real: an impoverished Kenyan goatherd rising to become a brilliant Harvard-educated economist.

On the way he fights racial prejudice at home and corruption at work, survives the heartbreak of a broken relationship and, despite it all, leads the fight to rid Africa of its colonial legacy.

This extraordinary story is told by US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama as he recalls the life of the man who inspired him to political success – his father.

Mr Obama’s book ….. is flying off the shelves of US book stores, exciting and astonishing readers in equal measure.

The junior senator from Illinois appears to have created a set of convenient fictions about the life of his father. Even that’s okay; we all have to make peace with the past, and thinking about our loved ones idealistically is one way of doing that. But by publishing a book that pushes those convenient fictions on the rest of us, and using that book to burnish HIS political (and now presidential) credentials, Barack Obama is asking us to demanding that we accept and buy into his alternative reality. If Churcher is correct, and there’s little reason to believe she isn’t, that’s an imposition on the American public that Obama has no right to make — and voters should seriously question the judgment of someone who would attempt to make such an imposition.

Second, for those in the “how dare you?” camp — If it’s fair game for the press to smear a presidential candidate by going after his great-grandfather (!) — someone whom the candidate has not even referred to, and would not be expected to refer to — for polygamy, how can it NOT be fair game to criticize another candidate who appears to have fudged his father’s life story beyond all recognition and incorporated it into his persona, thereby incorporating it into his campaign?

There is no reason why Mitt Romney should have to answer for his great-grandfather’s actions back in the 19th century — but he’s getting grilled by a press determined to take him out.

But Barack Obama owes voters answers as to why he chose to write what appears to be a highly fictional account of his father’s life, and to use it, at least implicitly, as part of the foundation for his political career and presidential candidacy.

As of yet no one besides Sharon Churcher has raised the issue. Will anyone else?

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6 Comments

  1. ok, how’s this. read the post. or barack’s book. and then you apologize.

    Comment by Tim Russo — August 18, 2008 @ 9:49 am

  2. #2, No Tim, the way it could conceivably work is:
    - I learn something new.
    - I note that I have learned something new.
    - I thereby implicitly or explicitly acknowledge that my statement that “I haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe that there is something wrong with Churcher’s story” is no longer true.
    - I owe an apology to no one, because I never made an untrue statement or posted anything that I knew to be untrue.

    That’s how it would work.

    At some point in the next 72 hours because of pressing business matters, I might read your post. Given your treatment of me and the lack of a substantive apology, I am under no obligation to do that.

    The need for an apology from your for unwarranted name-calling stands, regardless. You are of course still welcome to attempt to make another comment here. But as long as there’s no apology, I’m under even less obligation to post it than I am under my usual posting policy.

    10:17 Update — Tim, I see that you couldn’t restrain yourself from engaging in name-calling yet again. I therefore will not be going to BI, and the qualified invitation extended to you to comment at this post is withdrawn.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 18, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  3. Note to Tim Russo:

    Hi guy.

    Here is what I am able to post of the comments you recently wished to have posted here:

    you (should) know the Telegraph is a known Tory smeer rag through which Republicans float garbage like this.

    “Smear” is s-m-e-a-r. I can see how someone in your position might confuse its spelling with that of “beer.”

    I’m sorry the rest of your comments had to be ignored because it consisted of uncalled-for and unsupported name-calling of your humble host.

    Assuming you read the post,, you should know that my position on the above UK Telly article is that “I haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe that there is something wrong with Churcher’s story.”

    The question of the post is how accurate Churcher’s story is, not the real or imagined party favoritism of the Telly.

    I am of course capable of missing an evidence-supported refutation that may have been published somewhere of some or all of the facts in Churcher’s story. If I become aware of one, I would note that such partial or full refutation has occurred.

    But I have yet to see one. That statement remains true, making your name-calling indefensible and inexcusable. Thus, you owe me an apology. Since you’re likely out of practice, I’ll remind you that the words of such an apology would be an unconditionally delivered “I was wrong, I am sorry.”

    Given the apparent title of the post you have put up at your place responding to this post, I would ordinarily not be inclined to bother visiting to see if you actually present anything that is fact-based. But I may make an exception, put on my hazmat suit and head on over at some point. I certainly have no obligation.

    In the meantime, you are welcome to attempt a name-calling-free, profanity-free response here to the points raised in the post.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 18, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  4. Father was a Harvard-educated economist Is this part factually true?

    Comment by dscott — August 18, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  5. #4, this Politico story refers to a never-finished dissertation:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0408/9610.html

    Harvard “educated,” which usually means “graduated,” but not in this case. Shaky, but narrowly true if he indeed didn’t “graduate.” Looks like the Mail might have mildly misled readers that Dad’s resume was more impressive than they made it appear.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 18, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  6. #5, so he didn’t graduate Harvard, any representation that would mislead the reader into believing his father graduated from Harvard is a misreprentation and therefore a lie. A half truth, is not the whole truth and therefore still a lie.

    The article says he was working on a doctorial dissertation which he never finished. That means to me he achieved the Masters level and was working on a PHD. So again did he get his BS and Masters at Harvard? Anyone can take a couple of classes and claim they went to Harvard.

    Comment by dscott — August 18, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

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