Thingish Things

Our Mysterious President

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 29•12

Whenever a candidate I am working with gets skewered by the press, I take comfort in the altruistic notion that the Fifth Estate is an essential ingredient to a fully baked democracy. Candidates need to be vetted, I tell myself while shouting into a pillow; it protects us from fraud and tyranny. At the end of the day, I wholeheartedly believe that, however much it hurts at times.

Yet 19 weeks before a presidential re-election Day, the vetting of our sitting president remains incomplete. No Commander in Chief in my lifetime has had a biography as fuzzy as President Obama’s, but it looks as though much — not all — of the mainstream media is going to give him a pass again this election cycle.  But I’m not sure it’s their fault.

The latest inconsistency in Mr. Obama’s family narrative is that his paternal grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was imprisoned and tortured by the British for helping a Kenyan insurgent group known as the Mau Mau rebels. President Obama famously wrote of his tortured progenitor in the best-selling book, “Dreams of My Father,” but he appears to have invented the captured-and-tortured-by-the-British part out of whole cloth.

This follows revelations about a “composite” girlfriend who shared profound moments in Mr. Obama’s life that no one else remembers and about fights Mr. Obama had with his mother’s health insurance company for denial of coverage while she was tragically dying of cancer.  The fights, revealed by the President during his push for health insurance reform, were later refuted, to its credit, by The New York Times. It seems the proffered denial of coverage never occurred.  

Then there is the whole birther nonsense. Few reasonable people believe that President Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii, but the root cause of the birther movement may well have stemmed from Mr. Obama’s own life-story exaggerations. Many now believe that the President himself perpetuated the notion that he was African-born in order to enhance his own mystique. His official literary bio, which he presumably read, listed Kenya as his place of birth for more than 10 years. 

None of these things define whether or not the President can be a good or poor leader, but they do demand rigorous investigation. Americans should want to know who their Commander in Chief is. But in Mr. Obama’s case they seem not to want to. It is a curious phenomenon. Enough articles have been written by respected journalists — several books actually — to warrant wide public uproar for answers, but it has not occurred.

Is it because the President is African-American and we are afraid of appearing intolerant? Is it because we don’t want to concede that we were all had by his tales? Or do we still want to believe them — that someone with Mr. Obama’s stated background can be elected president here?  

Mr. Obama is not the first president to want to omit parts of his biography. Ronald Reagan preferred not to harp on his first marriage; George W. Bush tap danced around his drinking history. Nor is Mr. Obama the first President to fudge facts. Bill Clinton, “the man from Hope” (Arkansas), was actually raised in the next town over.  But in golf and presidential history, that’s called a gimme.

But Mr. Obama’s life story inconsistencies are not gimmes. They are five irons away from the truth. How very peculiar that we haven’t demanded real answers from him.

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  1. Tim Pletkovich says:

    Bill, as our mass media coverage continues to proliferate, the dissemination of falacious stories from far-left-of-center “newspeople” continues to burgeon. Far-left candidates seem to get quite a “handicap”….to use your golf analogy. Centrist and right-of-center candidates have to play without the aid of a few free strokes! Is this trend irreversible?

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