It seems to be without precedent for a sitting President. And we ain’t talkin’ about The Tonight Show. We’re talkin’ about this.
Mr. Obama approved the $500,000 advance on Jan. 15. The advance is against royalties under a deal with Crown Publishing, a division of Random House. The project calls for an abridged version of his book “Dreams From My Father” for middle-school-aged children, according to the disclosure.
However, it’s hardly without precedent if something like this (from Jack Cashill) is true.
The thesis is simple enough: Bill Ayers served as Barack Obama’s muse in the creation of Obama’s 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. Ayers breathed creative life into this ungifted amateur, who had written nothing of note before, and nothing since, and reconceived him as a literary prodigy.
“I was astonished by his ability to write, to think, to reflect, to learn and turn a good phrase,” said Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison of the Dreams’ author. “I was very impressed. This was not a normal political biography.” Agreed, it was not normal at all.
For simplicity’s sake, I refer to the author of Dreams as “Obama.” He provided the basic narrative and surely had the final say. Not content to merely edit, however, the highly skilled Ayers appears to have woven the rough strands of Obama’s life with tales from Homer’s Odyssey and to have spun a work of literature in the process.
Lots of politicians, of course, have gotten help with their books. However, usually they admit it somehow, maybe even on the front cover. True, John Kennedy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage, a book he didn’t write. Nobody’s ever come completely clean on that one, though the truth is generally known.
But Kennedy never made the kind of money talked about here. $8,605,429?!! Most of it derived from a book –one that Cashill calls perhaps the most consequential memoir of our time— that may have been written with a bunch of uncredited help?
And which is now going to be peddled to middle-schoolers?
Either Cashill is dead wrong.
Or he’s even half-right. And Obama has a lot of gall.
Or some very big stones.