It's becoming increasingly clear that President
is not burdened with too heavy a commitment to honesty.
This is hardly a shock about any politician, but revelations of dishonesty hurt some more than others. Announce that
But Mr. Obama was supposed to be different. He was a "lightworker," an ocean tamer and cynicism slayer. In short, he was supposed to be too good to be true -- and it turns out he was.
That's one obvious conclusion to be drawn from the all-too-delayed vetting of the president's biography, most notably in David Maraniss' aptly titled new book,
Mr. Obama has been less than honest about many things. Some of his biggest distortions should be the subject of sustained soul searching on the part of the media. For instance, as
In the spirit of charity, some of the lies can be chalked up, at least in part, to fanciful family narratives. Mr. Obama claims his maternal grandfather fought in Patton's army and liberated Nazi death camps. He says his paternal grandfather was tortured by the British imperialists in Kenya. He's claimed his Indonesian stepgrandfather was killed by the Dutch while fighting for independence. None of that is true.
What I find more interesting are the lies Mr. Obama tells not so much about himself but about society. In "Dreams from My Father," Mr. Obama tells readers that he struggled with racism and racial alienation all his life. He wasn't a starter on his high school basketball team because he played "black" while his coach coached "white." He confabulated a black friend in high school who, like himself, was shunned for racial reasons. He wrote of a "big fight" with a white ex-girlfriend who, after seeing a racially charged play, "started talking about why black people were so angry all the time."
As Mr. Maraniss methodically shows, these and other tales of racial woe were false. His coach didn't start him because he wasn't good enough to start. His friend in high school was half-Japanese, not black, and neither of them were racially ostracized. The girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, never saw the play and never said anything of the sort. And so on.
The Barack Obama who wrote "Dreams From My Father" probably never dreamed of becoming president of the United States. That man was a product of campus culture -- at Harvard, Columbia and the
No doubt Mr. Obama experienced racial animosity in his life, but not enough to fill a memoir with true examples. No doubt life had been unfair to him, but not so unfair as to keep him from Harvard, the
The lies, the self-made myths and the whole gestalt of the Obama story as told by Mr. Obama and his fans boil down to a man who has struggled with adversity and proven himself better than the society that spawned him. In effect, we don't deserve Barack Obama. Perhaps this helps explain why
One pattern holds from beginning to end of the tale: When things go wrong for the young Barack, the truth must be bent to show that it's somebody else's fault. Young Barry Obama had the right stuff as a basketball player but was denied by the smallness of his coach's vision. Older Barack Obama, likewise, has the right stuff, but voters, or the