What drives the Obama doubters and haters?
By David Maraniss, Published: July 27
David Maraniss, an associate editor of The Post, is the author of “Barack Obama: The Story” and “ First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton.” This is part of an occasional series on the 2012 presidential candidates’ political lives.
There are Obama doubters and haters out there who claim with righteous anger that they are “vetting” the president, something they say the mainstream media never did. Some of them have said that my new biography — unwittingly, they argue, for I am too dumb to understand what my research has unearthed — proves that Barack Obama’s defining memoir is phony and that his entire life is a fraud. My intent is not to defend Obama or his book; he can take care of himself, and I have my own questions about “Dreams From My Father,” which I make clear in my book. But when comparing the liberties Obama took with composite characters and compressed chronology — which he acknowledged in the introduction to his memoir — to the stretches his most virulent detractors have taken in building their various conspiracies, I believe that they are the frauds and fabricators.
Not all of them are “birthers,” but the notion that the president was not born in the United States remains at the epicenter of the anti-Obama mythology. Here is the conspiracy that would have had to exist if Barack Hussein Obama II were not born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961:
First, the local newspapers would have had to have been in on the scheme, because they ran notices of his birth among all the other local births that week. Second, the Immigration and Naturalization Service would have had to have been covering something up, because INS officials were closely tracking Barack Obama Sr. when he was at the University of Hawaii on a student visa from Kenya. They thought that he was a bigamist — which he was, having married a woman in Kenya before coming to the States — and a womanizer, which he also was. INS documents in the weeks and months before and after the son’s birth clearly establish the father’s whereabouts and the birth of his son. Finally, the name of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, was unusual enough that doctors and nurses in Honolulu remembered it and her giving birth. One prominent doctor was asked by a young journalist if anything interesting had happened in the medical world that week, and he responded, “Well, Stanley had a baby!”
In tandem with the birther notion comes the idea that Obama is a secret Muslim. His Kenyan grandfather, Hussein Onyango, was Muslim; his Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was Muslim; as a boy he was instructed in Islam at a school in Jakarta; and many of his college friends were Muslim. None of this adds up to Obama being Muslim, except in the minds of conspiratorialists. Obama never met his Kenyan grandfather. After infancy, he spent time with his Kenyan father only once, and in any case Barack Obama Sr. was an atheist. The truth is that Muslims had nothing to do with the rise of the Obamas of Kenya and that conservative evangelical Christians were essential every step of the way.
It was proselytizing Seventh-day Adventists who first came to the Obamas’ villages out near Lake Victoria at the start of the 20th century. They taught English and Western ways to the first wave of young boys from the Luo tribe, including Hussein Onyango. His son, the president’s father, was also educated at a missionary school. Later, as a young adult, Barack Obama Sr. was mentored by a remarkable evangelical Christian, Betty Mooney, whose grandfather was one of the founders of Texas Christian University. Mooney, who went to Kenya in the late 1950s to spread the gospel and literacy, met Obama Sr. in Nairobi and hired him to translate some of her literacy books into the Luo tribal language. She encouraged and helped sponsor his coming to the United States and specifically to the University of Hawaii, where he met Stanley Ann Dunham. One can say that President Obama would not exist except for evangelical Christians.
While living in Jakarta from ages 6 through 9, young Obama temporarily took the last name of his stepfather, Soetoro, for school purposes. He was listed as a Muslim on school documents because students were listed in the religion of their fathers. Lolo was not particularly religious; Stanley Ann was spiritual but not part of any formal religion. For most of his three-plus years in Indonesia, Obama attended a Catholic grade school. When his family moved to a better neighborhood in his final year, he went to the local grade school, one of the best in the city. The central doctrine taught at S.D. Besuki was not Islam but Pancasila, or five principles, of modern Indonesia, which evoked the unity of the islands on the vast archipelago, social justice and a belief in one God. Conservative Muslims detested Pancasila (a Sanskrit word revealing Indonesia’s Hindu heritage), insisting that it was too liberal and open to too many religions and interpretations.
In both the issues of Obama’s birth and of his religion, documents and common sense lead in one direction. Obama’s doubters run the other way: His birth certificates must be fake; his espoused Christianity must be a cover. Another group of right-wing doubters hold on to the notion that Obama is a closet socialist, some sort of Manchurian candidate, an idea that his every move as a pragmatic liberal politician over the past 16 years has utterly disproved. Some others maintain that he was not smart enough to get into Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law, and too inept to write his own memoir, which one particularly obsessed conspiratorialist claims was penned by the former radical Bill Ayers. What about the well-written letters from Obama that are published in my book? Those, too, must be frauds slipped to me by the Obama administration.
In the introduction to my book, I took note of a sick political culture where “facts are so easily twisted for political purposes and where strange armies of ideological pseudo-historians roam the biographical fields in search of stray ammunition.” That sentence is now cited on right-wing Web sites as evidence that I hold them in contempt. True enough, one of the few accurate things that I’ve read from them. I do hold some of them in contempt, not because of their politics, nor because of their dislike of Obama. Political debate and disagreement are the lifeblood of American democracy. No, I hold them in contempt for the way they disregard facts and common sense and undermine the role of serious history as they concoct conspiracy theories that portray the president as dangerous, alien and less than American.
What drives them? Some of it can be attributed to the give-and-take of today’s harsh ideological divide. Some of it can be explained by the way misinformation spreads virally to millions of like-minded people, reinforcing preconceptions. And some of it, I believe, arises out of fears of demographic changes in this country, and out of racism.
10:40 AM EDT
I read the comments. The liberals of course use their complete vocabulary up in the first two words. But, still, when did Obama become Black? Al Sharpton was the one who said, “He isn’t down for the struggle”. Liberals are finding it very difficult to justify their total unquestioning faith in the most brilliant post racial blah blah blah of all time because everything he’s touched has turned to joblessness, homelessness, Food Stamps, foreclosures with no end in sight except the November election and his being escorted out of the White House, unless of course he can create enough violence (which is the Soros formula) to declare martial law. Face it, Obama is what his record was a giant, “Affirmative Action Zero”. Maraniss’s book exposed the fact that Obama isn’t Obama and still no one knows who he is, where he came from or what he really believes, except when he goes off Teleprompter and exposes his ritualistic Marxism for all the world to see! The British press has labeled Obama, “INEFFECTUAL, invisible, weakest President in US history…unable to honour pledges and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t’…” Yes, that lovable done nothing is the laziest man ever to be in the White House, and now needs Bill Clinton’s record(which was dubious at best) to run on! LOL
7:33 AM EDT
Your factual disconnect and ignorance are breath-takingly stunning. Yet you are the quintessential birther who willfully swallow the politically advantageous (and racially tinged) dog-whistle propaganda. Each and every one of your *snicker* rebuttal points….. are debunked…. and are worthless.
enjoy your bliss.
7/29/2012 11:09 PM EDT
How gullible you are! How you try to invalidate those who have triple digit IQ’s! How you endeavor to persecute those who think outside of the box!
IT IS YOU WHO HAVE THE FACTS INCORRECT:
ANYONE CAN PUBLISH A BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT IN HAWAII NO MATTER WHERE A BABY IS BORN. NO PROOF IS REQUIRED.
THE PASSPORT OFFICE HAD A BREAK-IN BEFORE THE ’08 ELECTION. OBAMA’S HISTORY DISAPPEARED THE WEEK OF HIS BIRTH.
Your reference to Jack Cashill’s disclosures speaks volumes about his keen insight into various literary styles. Obama is ignorant of the Constitution, yet he taught a class or two.
He thinks there are 57 states. There are 57 Arab states. He was a coke head as a college student and he still is. Check out his eyes. Check out his lack of coherent cognition and inarticulate lack of syntax expressive language without a teleprompter. Why is he so skinny at 51? s peeding on coke. no other answer. He is a shell of a man-child puer spendthrift who cannot save a penny for a rainy day, in a padded suit.
His birth certificate has been PROVEN TO BE MANUFACTURED FROM A FACSIMILE.
His US SELECTIVE SERVICE HAS HAS BEEN PROVEN TO BE FORGED.
Both by forensic specialists.
At best, you are not AN INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS SCRUPULOUS investigative journalist. At worst, you are a synchophant, protecting a charlatan, PURVEYOR OF THE BIGGEST CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN HISTORY!!
YOU REFER TO NO FORENSIC INVESTIGATION OF DOCUMENTS, MERELY TAKE THEM AS AUTHENTIC AND OFFICIAL..
I PERSONALLY BELIEVE HIS MOTHER WAS AN UNINHIBITED GROUPIE, HAD A QUICK AFFAIR WITH MALCOLM X, THE PRODUCT OF WHICH CREATED BARI. HE SHIPPED HER TO ANOTHER COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH. THERE ARE NO PHOTOS OF HER PREGNANCY, YET PHOTOS OF HER IN A BIKINI SHORTLY BEFORE HIS ALLEGED BIRTH, WHICH LENDS CREDENCE THAT HIS MOTHER STANLEY ANN MAY NOT EVEN BE HIS MOTHER, BUT SOMEONE ELSE. WHEN MALCOLM X CHANGED HIS VIEW OF WHITES AND DECLARED HE WANTED TO UNITE WITH ALL RACES. HE HAD MADE PEACE WITH MANKIND, HE WAS MURDERED.
Bari’s DAUGHTERS LOOK LIKE THE SHABAZZ GIRLS, AND HE, LIKE HIS BABY DADDY.
It was Calypso Louis Farrakhan who created verbal incitement that ultimately caused MALCOLM LITTLE X SHABAZZ’S murder: The Nation Of Islam was not going to have their leader making peace with the “white zionist” under any condition. The antipathy continues to this day.
Would anyone in their right mind vote for Malcolm X’s son for President?
And Farrakhan has guiltily taken him under his wing, as a son. He had his birthday at Farrakan’s house. Rahm Emmanuel is opening his arms to Farrakhan. Why? NEPOTISM plain and simple.
In your second volume, I suggest you retain a forensic investigator before you publish another “Fairy Tale”.
Even Bill Clinton agrees: He always has the BEST OPPOSITIONAL RESEARCHERS.
fyi: BILL AND HILLARY WERE THE “ORIGINAL BIRTHERS”.
I AM A PROUD ONE AS WELL. you definitely need a conversion. It will set you free from your overt angst.
Liberals are basically scumbags who think they have the right to live off of other peoples’ labor and money. Obama is a fitting representative of them, a pothead who has never had a job. I wish we could ship all the liberal scumbags to Cuba or some other socialist paradise, where they can try to live off each other.
7/29/2012 7:14 PM EDT
David Maraniss is a fine writer and diligent researcher. I’m only part way into his Obama biography and it is a readable, engaging, exemplary work of history. Critics who think he obfuscated truth or fabricated lies must lack serious arguments against him and Obama as well.
7/29/2012 6:39 PM EDT
From reading many of these comments, it’s clear that what really offends these wing nuts is that Obama is presiding while black.
7/29/2012 10:00 AM EDT
From reading many of these comments, it’s clear that the only card Obama supporters have left to play is the racist card. Old, used up, boring and, frankly, it’s beneath even you.
7/29/20 12 5:49 PM EDT
I’m sorry Sir, but your evaluation of Obama and your investigation thereof are mostly superficial. You do not appear to have dug below the surface of anything to come to the conclusion that your assessment is an honest history of Barack Obama. His background has been hidden by lies and obfuscations, many of which have been uncovered by very competent researchers. the Corzine book on his birth certificate is one example…those researchers were diagnostically exceptional, with regard to computers and their ability to change info on a page.
Next: Obama’s bio information seems to vary from day to day; it continually ads and subtracts info according to his daily needs. There is little consistency in what he says and what he actually does. Liar-in-Chief really suits his character, both today and last year. If you line up what he has said and has promised, with what he has actually delivered, you find numerous gaps and a nothingness of activity that outlives the moment…until his next time before the national MSM that is.If you actually took some time and read the opposite side of the coin on the man, you’ll find some very substantial info that you either missed or failed to deliver in your history’.
7/29/2012 5:41 PM EDT
“If you have a business, you didn’t build that”
You deserve no credit for your success.
Obama wants to spread around your wealth, but not his
Obama did say he wants to fundamentally change this country. Fundamentally we are a democratic republic and Obama wants that to change.
If Obama loses the election, here’s why
By Drew Westen, Published: July 27
With 100 days left in the presidential campaign, perhaps the two most vexing questions in American politics are: How could President Obama possibly lose? And, how could he possibly win?
Americans are scared, angry and struggling. They used to talk about job satisfaction; now they talk about just holding on to their jobs. No incumbent since FDR has ever won reelection with unemployment numbers remotely resembling today’s. What voters feel about their lives and dreams in the months leading up to an election tends to stick to the president when they enter the voting booth. And right now what’s sticking to Obama isn’t good.
But it sure helps to face a candidate as uncomfortable in his own skin, as likely to say by accident what he really means and as wrong for the times as Mitt Romney. In an era when even conservatives are populists, enraged about the favors granted the rich and well-connected, Romney is running as a CEO who thinks his taxes are too high. Voters just aren’t warming up to a guy who enjoys firing people and attempts to woo the people of Michigan by referring to his wife’s “couple of Cadillacs.” If Obama offers what well-paid elites call a “jobless recovery,” Romney offers the only thing worse: a promise to restore the policies that led to the joblessness that made a recovery necessary.
So, beyond the anemic economy, why do the latest polls show the former Massachusetts governor in a dead heat with the president? Because Obama’s administration made three crucial errors that enabled the Republican obstructionism that has tied his hands for the past two years, with GOP leaders shooting down any idea — even if it’s one of their own — that might have helped the president strengthen the economy. And those mistakes have made possible what was unimaginable in January 2009: that a private-equity baron lacking a sense of noblesse oblige, and preaching the gospel of deregulation and lower taxes for the rich, might actually win the presidency four years after those policies led to the collapse of the U.S. Economy.
Obama’s first mistake was inviting the Republicans to the table. The GOP had just decimated the economy and had been repudiated by voters to such an extent that few Americans wanted to admit that they were registered Republicans. Yet Obama, with his penchant for unilateral bipartisanship, refused to speak ill of what they had done. The American people wanted the perpetrators of the Great Recession held accountable, and they wanted the president and Congress to enact legislation to prevent Wall Street bankers from ever destroying the lives of so many again. Instead they saw renewed bonuses — and then they saw red. Republicans learned very quickly that they could attack Obama and his agenda with impunity. Only at election time, or when he’s up against the ropes, does this president ever tell a story with a villain.
The second mistake was squandering the goodwill that Americans felt toward the new president and their anxiety about an economy hemorrhaging three-quarters of a million jobs a month. That combination gave Obama, at the beginning of his term, a power to shape public policy that no one since Franklin Roosevelt had held. But instead of designing a stimulus that reflected the thinking of the country’s best economic minds, he cut their recommended numbers by a third and turned another third into inert tax cuts designed to appease Republican legislators whose primary aim was to defeat him. He stimulated the economy — but just enough to leave the results open to interpretation, rendering questionable what should have been an uncontested success.
Obama compounded the problem a year into his presidency, when corporate profits were on the rise while job creation wasn’t. The Senate was considering a jobs program much like one the House had passed. But Obama refused to throw his support behind it. To do so, he would have had to articulate a vision in which government sets the conditions for the private sector to create prosperity and jobs, and steps in when the private sector can’t — or when it works against the interests of ordinary Americans. It’s a vision in which leadership means knowing when to step up and when to step back, not simply passively riding the waves of market failures, business cycles and bubbles — the vision that unites Herbert Hoover, George W. Bush and Romney.
But Obama chose neither to offer that vision nor to take action to put Americans back to work directly, rebuilding our broken roads, our bridges, our crumbling schools. The stimulus was a good start, but its flaws were already apparent. Instead, he began using Republican language about how the government, like ordinary families, needs to tighten its belt, as if that were a solution for people whose belts couldn’t get any tighter. “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do,” he said in a weekly Web and radio address. Words like these not only undercut the vision behind the stimulus — the whole point of which was to spark a sputtering economy with deficit spending — but they came as bankers were loosening their belts, making average Americans angrier.
The third way the administration created opportunities for Republican obstructionism will someday become a business-school case study: It let a popular idea — a family doctor for every family — be recast as a losing ideological battle between intrusive government and freedom. In the 2008 election, the American people were convinced that families should never have to choose between putting food on the table and taking the kids to the doctor. They were adamant that neither they nor their aging parents should have to choose between their medicine and their mortgage.
How did the administration manage to turn one of the most popular campaign issues of 2008 into one of the major causes of Democrats’ “shellacking” at the polls two years later?
In keeping with the most baffling habit of one of our most rhetorically gifted presidents, Obama and his team just didn’t bother explaining what they were doing and why. To them, their actions were self-evident. But nothing is self-evident when your opponents are spending millions of dollars to defeat you. Instead, the White House blundered around with memorable phrases such as bending the cost curve,” which didn’t speak to the values underlying the need for health-care reform.
Republicans, in contrast, offered a coherent story: Democrats think the government knows what you need better than you do; you should be able to make your own choices, not have some bureaucrat stand between you and your doctor. The White House could have counterpunched, but instead it dropped its gloves.
1:07 AM EDT
Today I suddenly realized that the last two Democratic presidents are articulate, intelligent men who don’t make gaffes every time they open their mouths.
The last Republican president and the current Republican presidential candidate are men who simply can’t seem to speak in public without making laughable or painful mistakes.
The question I have to ask is, why can’t the Republican party come up with a candidate who is capable of speaking in public without sounding stupid or pi$$ing off half the world?
You guys used to be able to find intelligent, mature men who were able to mentally connect with others – understand what’s stupid and what’s impolitic. George Sr was such a man.
He was the last one.
The people you are attracting for your candidates are pitiful, and they represent all of you. They make it appear that the whole party is somehow flaky.
We used to be known around the world as the Ugly Americans because our rich people would go out of the country and act like idiots in public.
If Romney wins, we will be known as the Flaky Americans because our rich people go out of the country and act like idiots in public, and that will include our president.
Do you really want to be represented by idiots with big bank accounts, but no ability to conduct themselves with maturity and intelligence?
Because that’s how it’s going down.
Any intelligent person might reconsider calling yourselves Republican in public until you get past this dry spell.
7/30/2012 11:07 PM EDT
why bother to add a comment when there are already 5,000 comments? well, because that line about Obama and his “penchant for unilateral bipartisanship” was so incredibly moronic that I just had to say something.
I have news for you, young Drew Weston, whoever you are (and btw I think you have a great future on the Obama Presidential Library committee later, say after January): we’re not buying that cr*p anymore.
it’s positively Orwellian the way you libs simply ignore the meaning of words. “bipartisanship” means that the two parties are working together. it doesn’t mean a president being nice to the opposition party. but if it did, Obama still wouldn’t qualify. in fact, he’s one of the most divisive presidents we’ve ever had–probably the worst since Nixon.
but pour yourself another glass of refreshing Koolaid, young Drew! hopenchange forever!
7/30/2012 8:56 PM EDT
In reading this article is to educate myself on how the liberals and Mr. Obama’s supporters including the author actually think about PBO. Their beliefs in the President prevent them from acquiring the truth and how to get out of unemployment in order to stand on their feet. Do you want to give a fish to a man to keep him from hunger for (a day?) or teach the man how to fish so he would not be hungry crying out loud for (life?)? Liberals friends aren’t going to see the best answer like in this situation when we talk about the government handout or what PBO have done for our country.
1:10 AM EDT
What if they are too sick to “fish”? What if they are too mentally challenged to fish. or can’t afford a fishing pole? What if they live in Nevada and there are no “fish” and have no possible way of uprooting the family and moving to some unknown future? Now, we both know that these people do in fact exist (at least I hope we both know that). Still, we can argue about the numbers, and if people are abusing the system (There are no doubt some who do) but it is evident that some system must exist to service these individuals. Perhaps we should return to the days of locking them up and “beating” them until they stop being so lazy. Capitalism and self achievement are preferable to socialism in very many respects, but to be part of a civilized society we must collectively assist those who can’t for whatever reason “fish”.
7/30/2012 8:45 PM EDT
It is truly revolting to see a major newspaper article that is so prejudiced and one-sided. Why don’t you just come out and call yourself the Democratic Gazette. Your “posting” of such uninformative articles shows what this paper is all about…it used to be called propaganda during the cold war. Who actually is trying to run this country anyway?
7/30/2012 7:46 PM EDT
All paths back to prosperity involve being accused of class warfare against the worthless upatriotic rich.
7/30/2012 7:14 PM EDT
With Obama or Romney, either way the Gilded Fascist Bilderberg Elite win!
Definition of madness:
Continuing to vote out of fear for the lesser of two evil fascist political parties, while expecting different results.
A vote for a third party candidate is a vote for a third party candidate.
A vote for either a Democrat or a Republican is a vote for fascism.
7/30/2012 6:49 PM EDT
anyway you look at it… A Romney whom Obama worshipers like to make fun of, is still SOOO much better than…
Obama… the welfare President
Obama… the unemployment President
Obama … the Foreclosure President
Obama… the Illegals President
Obama… the GAY President
Obama… the social Medicine Obamacare President
Obama…the biggest tax increase ever on the middle and lower class working families President
I wonder what he will be next week?
7/30/2012 8:45 PM EDT
Give me a break. I’m no big fan of Obama, either, as I think he has basically capitulated to Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex crowd. But you write as if Congress – you know, the GOP dominated Congress – had no role in all of this. This has been the most obstructionist Congress since at least the 1940′s. And “Obama…the GAY president”? As if…..Perhaps next time you could try to make your points without tossing in a spurious, gratuitous anti-gay slur. (And by the way, you’re not even right on the history….It seems pretty clear that James Buchanan was the “first gay president,” albeit deeply in the closet as the times demanded….).
7/30/2012 10:43 PM EDT
You give us a break mhsummer….What are you simple?…2006 to 2010…house and senate controlled by the democRats…2010 to 2012…divided…house Republicans…but…the obstructionists Senators have blocked every attemps at passing any bills…NO budget..NO nothing…you must be kidding right? You can’t be that stupid…Obama is destroying everything in his path…
7/30/2012 6:04 PM EDT
Obama’s pragmatic approach really hurt him. From the get-go he should have realized one does not reason with an unreasoning opposition that is so unreasonable the bragged they were going to do him in any way possible. Their offense was totally offensive but any extension of a hand over the table was summarily rejected. Instead of extending his hand, Obama should have extended a club – right in the middle of Mr. Man-Tan and his good buddy mitch.
Now, that would have got their attention and Mr. Boo-hoo’s tears.
7/30/2012 5:31 PM EDT
Fortunately for US, there are more middle and working class people than there are SILVER SPOON fed TRUST BABIES like WEIRD/GREEDY/BULLY/TAX CHEAT Romney, who will ensure that our GREAT NATION is RESTORED to its once MIGHTY STATION by GOING FORWARD and not looking BACK to FAILED VOODOO Economics which have left our Nation in tatters.
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