GREATEST HITS, 8: Who is Barack Obama? ‘He’s not normal’ and his public persona is fiction, says biographer

CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: Top stories of 2023, December 25, 2023
Thank you for your support for WorldTribune, Window on the Real World. Have a great 2024! — The Editors

by WorldTribune Staff, August 8, 2023

In a recent Telegram post, Trump White House staffer Garrett Ziegler noted that Barack Hussein Obama “entered the American presidency with virtual zero true digging into his background.”

Biographer David Garrow, author of “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama”, is no conservative. A longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Garrow shed light on a figure whose public persona, he said is largely fiction.

For one thing, Garrow told Tablet magazine, Obama is “not normal.”

Biographer David Garrow: ‘I’ve sometimes said to people that I think Barack is actually just as insecure as Trump.’

He is too “lazy” to serve on the Supreme Court if so called, he said adding that the former president’s first memoir was a fabrication.

And Obama also “clearly has his oar” in the Biden White House, he said, a major story that has been studiously ignored by the nation’s establishment media.

Garrow asked Tablet’s David Samuels: “Doesn’t that strike you as odd? I mean, I have heard from more than one source that there are regular meetings at Obama’s house in Kalorama involving top figures in the current White House, with Secret Service and cars outside. I don’t write about it because it’s not my lane. There are over a thousand reporters in Washington, and yet there are zero stakeouts of Obama’s mansion, if only to tell us who is coming and going.”

Ziegler noted: “Whereas with @MarcoPolo501c3, every single pimp, dealer, and hooker that interacted with a member of the current American first family was contacted and questioned. Obama has had perhaps the easiest personal life of any American president. It’s not just that he’s lazy as hell. It’s that he’s glided through everything. Even his paternal line has had basically a breeze through existence. Not one ancestor of his was ever in chattel slavery. Not one.”

Garrow told Tablet: “I’ve sometimes said to people that I think Barack is actually just as insecure as Trump, but in ways that are not readily perceived by the vast majority of people. I think that’s probably my most basic takeaway.”

Garrow said of Obama: “He’s not normal — as in not a normal politician or a normal human being.” He offered an anecdote that claimed Obama’s lawyer, his go-between while he was writing his book, once advised him not to ask the ex-president about his father — a black Kenyan who met Obama’s white mother at the University of Hawaii.

Referenced in the title of Obama’s 2004 memoir “Dreams From My Father”, his late father played a major part in Obama’s embrace of “Black racial consciousness,” which Garrow in the Tablet interview called a work of fiction.

“It does go back to ‘Dreams’ being a work of fiction, that the absence of an actual personal story makes him need to compose one,” said Garrow, who has also penned books about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.

Garrow went on to cite sparse mentions in “Dreams From My Father” of Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Obama’s live-in girlfriend in the 1980s who he proposed to — twice — before he met Michelle.

In the book, Obama, describing his journey from being an insecure young man of mixed-race to a proud black man, claimed his embracing of “black racial consciousness” clashed with his girlfriend. She, on the other hand, said their relationship ended when “he would not condemn antisemitism.”

Obama and Jager met at the University of Chicago, where she was studying in the mid ’80’s. Obama, at that point in his mid 20s and a graduate of Harvard law, was a community organizer.

The couple dated for a couple of years and met each other’s families before splitting up.

Jager was almost entirely omitted from Obama’s own biography, and combined with his other white exes into one character.

In the Wednesday interview with Tablet, Garrow touted this, while going on to claim that Obama’s first named girlfriend in his book, described as a “beautiful blond” at his alma mater Occidental College, sent him letters she shared with Obama with lines “about homosexuality” stricken out.

“Whose version of the story is correct? Who knows,” Garrow said of Obama’s and Jager’s differing accounts of their live-in relationship. “The bridge between the two accounts is Obama’s emerging attachment to blackness, which required him to fall in love with and marry a black woman.”

Garrow continued: “In Obama’s account, his attachment to blackness is truthful and noble. In Jager’s account, his claims are instrumental and selfish; he grants particularism to the experience and suffering of his own tribe while denying it to others.”

Garrow then pivoted to the letters he compiled from Alex McNear, a young woman who Obama wrote was the focus of crushes for many students at Los Angeles’ Occidental.

“With Alex, I think she wanted to have her role known. So when Alex showed me the letters from Barack, she redacted one paragraph in one of them and just said, ‘It’s about homosexuality.’ ”

He added that a man named Harvey Klehr, a tenured professor of politics and history at Emory University, was tasked with going through the letters, and redacted sensitive lines that laid bare the eventual presidents questioning sexuality at his behest.

“He’s spent his whole life at Emory, but they won’t let him take pictures,” Garrow recalled of the alleged arrangement. “So Harvey has to sit there with a pencil and copy out the graph where Barack writes to Alex about how he repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men.”

Garrow went on to reiterate his belief that “Dreams From My Father” is no more than a work of fiction: ‘He wants people to believe his story. For me to conclude that Dreams from My Father was historical fiction — oh God, did that infuriate him,” Garrow recalled, revealing he spoke with Obama for eight hours in three off-the-record sessions while he was still president.

“He doesn’t want the writerliness challenged,” Garrow said, adding: “It’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The book [‘Dreams’] is so fictionalized.”