Obama biographer David Maraniss wrote an 1139-word article, “The Audacity of Doubt,” for The Washington Post last Sunday that purported to be a refutation of what some critics have been saying about the President. Maraniss focuses mostly on questions about Obama’s religion and place of birth and pretends to have the answers.
However, Maraniss ignored the fact that the critics were right four years ago when they identified communist Frank Marshall Davis as Obama’s mentor in Hawaii and the mysterious “Frank” from Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father.
Maraniss had written a 10,000-word piece for the Post in 2008, when the information could have made a difference in the campaign, ignoring this critical fact. He told me in an email that he had ignored Davis because he had somehow concluded that Davis didn’t have much of an impact on Obama.
The Maraniss piece, “Though Obama Had to Leave to Find Himself, It Is Hawaii That Made His Rise Possible,” ran in the August 22, 2008 edition of the Post.
Not content to slink away with egg on his face for ignoring the story of the century, Maraniss spent years working on a book about Obama, thinking the public would regard it as definitive. He is suffering under a delusion.
Since Maraniss wants us to believe he dwells on “facts,” here are some inconvenient facts about Davis before we get into the tawdry and highly personal side of the Obama-Davis relationship:
- Davis was the subject of a 600-page FBI file.
- Davis was under FBI surveillance for 19 years for his Communist Party activities.
- Davis was on the FBI’s security index, meaning he could be arrested in the event of a national emergency.
- Davis wrote a pornographic novel, Sex , that was autobiographical and disclosed that he had sex with children.
- Davis was a heavy drinker and marijuana user.
It’s true that communism is not perceived as being as much of a threat as it used to be, but can you imagine what the reaction might be among the American people, even now, if they were told by the major papers and network news programs that a top Communist Party operative molded their President’s views on economic, foreign policy and cultural issues? This is the story that has to be suppressed at any cost, four years later during a critical election year.
Having ignored the story of the decisive influence that Davis exercised over Obama in his growing up years, Maraniss now goes after other writers who have been investigating Obama in order to clear up some of the lingering mysteries about him. It is apparent that Maraniss is afraid of being proven wrong again. He wants people to think his 641 page book is the ultimate truth.
Maraniss says in his Post article on Sunday that he holds many Obama critics “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.” But not once in this follow-up article four years later did Maraniss mention the name of Obama’s communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, or how he, Maraniss, had ignored Davis in that 10,000-word 2008 Post article.
This omission may be his strange way of conceding, without saying so, that the “critics” had gotten that part of the story right. After all, “Frank” was Davis, and Maraniss knows it.
Maraniss doesn’t name the Obama critics. But one of them is Jack Cashill, an “obsessed conspiratorialist,” in the words of Maraniss, for theorizing that Obama’s book Dreams from My Father was ghost written by Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Maraniss calls Ayers “the former radical.”
My position all along has been that, whether Ayers wrote it or not, Obama’s name is on it, and he has to take responsibility for what is in it. That includes the cover-up regarding “Frank.” It is not unprecedented for politicians to have ghost writers, but since their names are on the book, the politicians have to take the credit or blame for what was said—or not said. Of course, if Ayers did write the book, it makes their relationship much closer than we were led to believe.
The Dreams book covers up Obama’s extensive use of illegal drugs, and here is where Maraniss truly does his homework and performs a public service. He says, in passages that are perhaps too brutally honest for pro-Obama liberals to take, that Obama was a major dope smoker, not the occasional user we were led to believe. Maraniss says Obama was a member of the “Choom Gang,” a group of heavy users of the drug.
This is important for many reasons, including that the effects of the drug are reflected in various personality disorders, and so the public is left wondering what the illegal substances may have done to Obama’s way of thinking. Obama has promoted the notion, in an interview with Rolling Stone, the rock-and-roll magazine, that marijuana has “medical benefits,” while acknowledging that federal law prohibits its use and cultivation. He has let Attorney General Eric Holder handle this one.
Cashill says that Maraniss comes across as “testy” in his new Post column because his book about Obama has not done well, and that his massive advance “will never be recouped by the publisher.” This may be the case. But he may also be testy because he realizes he missed the importance of the Frank Marshall Davis story, and that the Obama critics were right all along.
Paul Kengor points out that writers and historians always focus on the mentor, in order to explain the background, history and future policies of a major political figure like a presidential candidate—except when it came to Obama. Why?
Although Maraniss should be commended for exposing Obama as a major drug abuser, something Obama concealed from voters in 2008, the superficial treatment of Frank Marshall Davis is a major blot on Maraniss’s record. He will never be able to recover from it.
My stories about Davis have become a broken record, but it is necessary to play this record again and again because “journalists” such as Maraniss persist in their dishonest campaign to ignore his influence on the current occupant of the Oval Office. His Post article is only the latest example of his deceptive writing on this matter.
Why does he do it?
The short answer is that he thinks he can get away with it. He thinks his writing, based on the reputation of someone who writes long books about important people, can drown out all of the others who seek the truth and raise inconvenient and uncomfortable questions.
But why ignore such a critical and central fact about Obama? The answer in this case has to be that the truth is so powerful and so damaging to Obama that it has to be ignored. The lid has to be kept on this story, to the best of the ability of Maraniss and his ilk to do so. That is why the cover-up continues.
Admitting Obama was a doper is one thing; writing about his Communist mentor is something far more serious that opens a Pandora’s box.