POTUS 44 Turns 60

Former President Barack Obama turns 60 on Wednesday. At that milestone, Americans may be surprised to learn, we know much more about the 44th president of the United States than we did when he turned 50, 40, or even 30. 

Obama first came to national attention in Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, published in 1995. The author had no record of publication and the book was unusual in a number of ways.

Dreams from My Father has no index and, beyond the cover, no photos. In the early going, the author is known as Barry and he is the stepson of Lolo Soetoro, the Indonesian foreign student his mother Ann Dunham married in 1965. The author claims he learned that his real father was Barack H. Obama, a Kenyan foreign student at the University of Hawaii. When Obama left Hawaii to study at Harvard, the story goes, he didn’t take his family with him but “bequeathed” his name to the author. By the end of the book, the Kenyan is a nameless “old man.” 

In 2008, Obama rode the Dreams narrative into the White House. In 2012, Paul Kengor published The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, the Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College, made a strong case that “Frank,” the poet who gets 2,000 words in Dreams, is actually Frank Marshall Davis, a black Communist Party activist who spent most of his life defending all-white Soviet dictatorships. 

Also in 2012, Joel Gilbert’s documentary, “Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception” made a case that Davis was Barry’s true father. Despite the revelations and a decidedly weak performance in office, the Dreams author won a second term. By then the Kenyan Barack Obama, Sr. had been forgotten. Meanwhile, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York obtained his archives. 

As it turned out, in all his writings from 1958 to 1964, the Kenyan Barack Obama makes no mention of a white American wife or a Hawaiian-born son. Despite an open invitation from the Schomburg Center, the president never showed up to read the material. Four months after his second term ended, in May 2017, historian David Garrow came out with the massive biography, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

As Garrow contended, Dreams from My Father, though it mentioned actual people and events, was historical fiction, not an autobiography, and the author was a “composite character.” One of the actual characters was Frank Marshall Davis, whose “Communist background plus his kinky exploits [he was also a pornographer] made him politically radioactive.” 

True to form, Davis disappeared from the audio version of Dreams from My Father and did not appear in the author’s The Audacity of Hope, published in 2006. In similar style, Davis made no appearance in Michelle Obama’s Becoming and is missing from Believer, by “Obama’s Narrator” David Axelrod, and The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, by Iran deal promoter Ben Rhodes. Davis is also missing from Obama’s third autobiography, A Promised Land, which makes only a single reference to Dreams from My Father. 

The Kenyan’s former wife Kezia, married to Barack in 1956, passed away in April. Barack Sr.’s son Malik sought contributions for her funeral and the former president contributed nothing. Likewise, when Malik sought funds for an impoverished aunt, the president told Malik he was “broke.” According to Malik Obama, POTUS 44 “was the kind of person that wants people to worship him. He needs to be worshiped and I don’t do that.” 

Malik Obama also charged that Dreams from My Father was inaccurate and freighted with “embellishments.” For example, Malik’s grandfather was not detained and beaten by British troops in 1949. Evidence has now emerged that the Kenya section of Dreams from My Father was plagiarized from the 1994 African Nights by Italian author Kuki Gallmann, who lived in Kenya for more than 20 years and in 1991 published I Dreamed of Africa.

Garrow’s revelation that Dreams from My Father is essentially a novel, and the author a composite character, should have been the “bombshell” revelation of 2017, but it wasn’t. In reality, the fakery was evident from the start but nevertheless accepted as gospel. The rising star’s fans were unwilling to admit any error, the same dynamic on display with the Russia and Ukraine hoaxes. 

Julien Benda called it La Trahison des Clercs, which Roger Kimball helpfully recast in English as The Treason of the Intellectuals. Instead of deploying critical powers to investigate politicians on an equal basis, the intellectuals, including the media, become partisans of politicians they like and enemies of their critics, no matter how convincing their evidence and arguments. 

That’s why a composite character with a fictional biography can become the most powerful man in the world, serve two disastrous terms, and at age 60 continue to advance his one-party “promised land” through the addled Joe Biden and his squad of leftist handlers. With apologies to the late JeanFrançois Revel, this is how democracies perish. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images