Democracy Has Prevailed.

September 27, 2009

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack Kelly, in this week's column, writes about Manuel Zelaya, Honduras and the coup:
It was no coup, our Congressional Research Service said in a recent analysis. The army was acting on a warrant issued by the Supreme Court at the request of the attorney general, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of the Honduran Congress. The army immediately turned power over to a civilian selected in a constitutionally approved manner. It was Mr. Zelaya who had attempted the coup.
First off (a teensy bit of fact checking here), it was the Law Library of Congress (and not the Congressional Research Service) that did the analysis. Who says? The Wall Street Journal On-line:
A study on Honduras law and the recent removal of President Manuel Zelaya was done by the Law Library of Congress. This column attributed the study to the Congressional Research Service, based on information provided by the office of Congressman Aaron Schock (R., Ill.). A spokesman for Mr. Schock says the Congressman commissioned the study from CRS, which passed the request on to the Law Library, which also does research for Congress.
Very very very minor point, I admit. Jack gets a bigger point wrong however. The Miami Herald reports:
The military officers who rushed deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya out of the country Sunday committed a crime but will be exonerated for saving the country from mob violence, the army's top lawyer said.

In an interview with The Miami Herald and El Salvador's, army attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza acknowledged that top military brass made the call to forcibly remove Zelaya -- and they circumvented laws when they did it.

It was the first time any participant in Sunday's overthrow admitted committing an offense and the first time a Honduran authority revealed who made the decision that has been denounced worldwide.

A larger point that Jack got wrong. At the very least he should have noted that "the top legal advisor for the Honduran armed forces" (as Herald calls him) admits the military broke the law AND made the call for Zelaya's ouster.

But I don't want to talk about Honduras. I want to talk about the last few paragraphs Jack tucks into the end of his column. Here they are:
The reputation among his supporters that Barack Obama has for being a really, really smart guy is based chiefly on the first of his two autobiographies, "Dreams From My Father," published in 1995, which admirers and critics of Mr. Obama agree is beautifully written.

I received a lot of hate mail last fall when I wrote a column about Jack Cashill's suspicions that Mr. Obama received substantial help in writing the book from former Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, a neighbor in Chicago's Hyde Park.

In his new book "Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage," celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen writes that at Michelle's urging, Barack did solicit help from Mr. Ayers.

"In the end, Ayers' contributions to Barack's Dreams From My Father would be significant," Mr. Anderson said, "so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers' own writing."

This is the column Jack's referring to. Andersen's book, writes Jack, is independent corroboration for Cashill's story and thus a solid refutation to the hate mail Jack received.

Not so fast, bucco.

Let's take a look at what Andersen says about the Ayer-Obama connection. Luckily, there's an excerpt to be found at
In the end, Ayers's contribution of Barack's Dreams from My Father would be significant -- so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similiarity to Ayers's own writings. Even the caveat at the beginning of Dreams, in which Barack points out that he uses invented dialogue, embellished facts, composite characters, inaccurate chronology, and pseudonyms to create an "approximation" of reality, resembles Ayers's defense of the inaccuracies in his memoir Fugitive Days. In the foreword to his book, Ayers states that the book is merely a collection of his personal memories and "impressions."

"There was a good deal of literary back-scratching going on in Hyde Park," said writer Jack Cashill, who noted that a mutual friend of Barack and Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, thanked Ayers for helping him with his book Resurrecting Empire. Ayers, explained Cashill, "provided an informal editing service for like-minded friends in the neighborhood." [emphasis added.]

In case you missed it, Andersen cites Cashill. Something Jack didn't tell you. As David Weigel of the Washington Independent writes:
According to Cashill, Andersen’s contribution to the Ayers storyline is the recollection of “a Hyde Park neighbor” who claims that Obama, struggling with the book, gave “oral histories, along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes” to Ayers and asked for advice. Any author or anyone who knows an author is probably chuckling at this point — passing unfinished portions to colleagues with some time and experience is pretty standard.

If you take Andersen on his word, it’s true that this anecdote portrays Ayers and Obama as closer friends than they let on during the campaign. But it’s a big leap from there to Cashill’s characterization of “the Obama-as-Milli Vanilli story.” Indeed, Andersen doesn’t even report that story out. He writes that “Ayers’ contribution to Barack’s ‘Dreams From My Father’ would be significant – so much so that the book’s language, oddly specific references, literary devices and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers’s own writing.” For that analysis he cites Cashill...
Weigel also asks David Freddoso, the author of "The Case Against Barack Obama" for a quote. Here it is:
Cashill’s stuff on this was a lot of crap, all conjecture and no concrete evidence.
I know I'm just a balding blogger who makes no money blogging and not a real-life honest-to-goodness paid-with-real-money newspaper columnist, but can someone please explain to me how a book that cites the now-debunked research can be used as corroboration for that debunked research?

Sorry Jack. Not good enough. Cashill's still wrong and so are you.


Larry The Kidman said...

That such a peckerhead..

EdHeath said...

Something I was thinking of (but neglected to put on my own blog) was Mr. Kelly's statement "The reputation among his supporters that Barack Obama has for being a really, really smart guy is based chiefly on the first of his two autobiographies, "Dreams From My Father," published in 1995, which admirers and critics of Mr. Obama agree is beautifully written."

OK, I haven't read “Dreams”, but I really have to take issue with that contention that Obama's supporter's assessment of his intelligence is based "chiefly" on "Dreams From My Father", regardless of how beautifully written it is. I mean, a clear turning point in last year’s election race was when Obama was seen interacting with John McCain in the debates. McCain seemed somewhat erratic compared to a calm and unflappable Obama. I suspect that is when most of the general public formed their opinion of Barack Obama and his intelligence. Certainly some of Obama’s supporters would have formed their opinions much earlier than that, but again I would question whether even a majority of them formed that opinion based “chiefly” on the book. I mean, it is fine to examine the relationship between Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers. If Mr. Obama did deliberately down play that relationship and/or Mr. Ayers role in writing “Dreams”, then that might be something the Republicans could use in the next Presidential race (although I would think policy issues ought to be more important). But Mr. Kelly might want to be careful. I believe the general public is forming a negative opinion of the Republican party based somewhat on things outside their control, such as the “birther” movement. I mean, the Republican party base might want to hear hysterical claims about domestic terrorists and Obama lying. But the Republican party already has the loyalty of the base. It is the independents out there who need to be convinced, and since Obama has not yet brought about the apocalypse, independents may need to be talked to in a clam rational manner in order for the Republicans to appear credible on this.

Shakes The Clown said...

Not sure about that Ed.

If it was true that Bill Ayers wrote dreams that would change the equation.

We also don't have Obama's college transcripts. He was editor of the Harvard Law Review and all.

It turns out that many things in his "Dreams" book have been fabricated. Maybe that was because he didn't write it.