DAVID MARANISS BEGINS HIS MULTI-PART SERIES ON
Posted by PrestoPundit on 08/22/2008
BARACK OBAMA. Let’s do a little Obama versus Maraniss:
OBAMA: In Obama’s memoir, his
high school associates come as in ethnic boxes as either “white”,
“black”, “Japanese”, “Asian” or “Hawaiian”. Obama doesn’t mention that a
large number of his high school peers were of mixed races — like
himself — as were most of his “black” friends.
Obama describes a world dominated by rich whites and prejudiced Japanese who are often
uncomfortable with or bigoted towards blacks, a situation which fills Obama and his friends with deep anger and angst.
MARANISS: he grew up as a multiracial kid, a “hapa,” “half-and-half” in the local
lexicon, in one of the most multiracial places in the world, with no
majority group ..
The group he ran with was white, black, brown and not identified with
any of the traditional social sets at the school: the rich girls from
the Outrigger Canoe Club, the football players, the math guys, the
drama crew, the volleyball guys. Among Obama’s friends, “there were
some basketball players in there, but it was kind of eclectic,”
recalled Mike Ramos, also a hapa, his mother Anglo and his father
Peterson, Smith and Obama would meet on the steps outside Cooke Hall
for what, with tongue in cheek, they called the Ethnic Corner. Obama
and Smith were biracial, one black and white, the other black and
Indian. Both of Peterson’s parents were black, but he felt uneasy
because he was an academically inclined young man whom people thought
“Barry had no personal reference for his blackness. All three of us
were dealing with it in different ways,” Peterson recalled. “How do we
explore these things? That is one thing we talked about. We talked
about time. We talked about our classes. We talked about girls. We
talked specifically about whether girls would date us because we were
black. We talked about social issues. . . . But our little chats were
not agonizing. They were just sort of fun ..
OBAMA: Obama always portrays his mother as a woman who went through her adolescence and came of age in the heartland of Kansas. Seattle, Berkeley, Mercer Island are never mentioned.
MARANISS: Who was Obama’s mother? The shorthand [i.e. Obama] version of the story has a woman from Kansas marrying a
man from Kenya, but while Stanley Ann Dunham was born in Wichita in the
fall of 1942, it is a stretch to call her a Jayhawk. After leaving
Kansas when she was a youngster [i.e. a kindergartener], she and her parents lived in Berkeley,
Calif., for two years, Ponca City, Okla., for two years, and Wichita
Falls, Tex., for three years before they ventured to the Seattle area [when Stanley Ann was just entering her teens].
OBAMA: Obama portrays his mother as a student constantly teased by her peers about her name Stanley, e.g. “Stanley Steamer”, “Stan the Man”, etc.
MARANISS: “Only once or twice was she teased. She had a sharp tongue, a deep wit, and she could kill. We all called her Stanley,” [says a Mercer Island pal].
OBAMA: Obama says nothing about his mother’s high school education.
MARANISS: Their curiosity was encouraged by the teachers at Mercer Island High,
especially Jim Wichterman and Val Foubert, who taught advanced
humanities courses open to the top 25 students. The assigned reading
included not only Plato and Aristotle, Kierkegaard and Sartre, but also
late-1950s critiques of societal conventions, such as “The Organization
Man” by William H. Whyte, “The Lonely Crowd” by David Riesman and “The
Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, as well as the political theories
of Hegel and Mill and Marx. “The Communist Manifesto” was also on the
reading list ..
OBAMA: Obama describes his mother as an atheist and “position paper liberal.”
MARANNIS: “Stanley was decidedly liberal. She challenged the existence of God and championed Adlai Stevenson.”
OBAMA: Obama repeatedly describes his himself as the son of a goat herder. As a small child Barack Obama, Sr. may have herded some goats but for several years as a young man Obama, Sr. was an office clerk in the capital city of Nairobi, a fact Obama mentions in his memoir, but never talks about in his grand public orations. It’s all goats in the speeches.
MARANISS: Obama told the journalist, Shurei Hirozawa, that he grew up on the
shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya .. He said he had worked as an office clerk in Nairobi for
several years to save money for college and settled on the University
of Hawaii ..
OBAMA: Obama tells us that he derived his ideals and ambitions from his father, but he never tells us what those ideals and ambitions are, he merely gives us hints by saying such things at that he became a left wing agitator in Chicago in order to prove something to his father.
MARANISS: [Obama, Sr.] said he would study business administration and wanted to return to
Kenya to help with its transition from tribal customs to a modern
OBAMA: Obama calls himself “Buh-rock” Obama.
MARANISS: [Obama, Sr.’s Hawaiian friends] all pronounce the first name of their Kenyan friend “Bear-ick” — with
the accent on the first syllable. That is how he referred to himself,
they said. In Hawaii at least, they never heard him call himself
“Buh-rock,” with the accent on the second syllable ..
Late in the summer of 1960, at the start of his second year and the
beginning of her first, Obama and Stanley Ann Dunham met in a beginning
Russian class. He was 25; she was not yet 18. She called him
OBAMA: Obama describes a deeply race conscious and often bigoted Hawaii in his memoir.
MARANISS: In late November, a few months into Obama’s [Sr.’s] first semester, the
Honolulu paper wrote another story about him, this time focusing on his
positive conclusions about racial attitudes on the island. “No one
seems to be conscious of color,” he said. But there were stereotypes to
shatter on both sides — his of Hawaii and Hawaii’s of Africa. “When I
first came here, I expected to find a lot of Hawaiians all dressed in
native clothing and I expected native dancing and that sort of thing,
but I was surprised to find such a mixture of races,” he acknowledged.
MARANISS: During his time in Hawaii, the elder Obama seemed adept at walling off
various aspects of his life. He eventually told Ann about a former
marriage in Kenya but said he was divorced, which she would discover
years later was a lie ..
When Mendell pressed [Obama’s grandmother Madelyn Dunham] about Obama, she said she did not trust the
stories the Kenyan told. Prodding further, the interviewer noted that
Obama had “a great deal of charm” and that his father had been a
medicine man. “She raised her eyebrows and nodded to herself,” Mendell
wrote of Madelyn. ” ‘He was . . .’ she said with a long pause,
‘strange.’ She lingered on the a to emphasize ‘straaaaaange.’
OBAMA: Obama describes his parents wedding as an event shrouded in mystery.
MARANISS: On Feb. 2, 1961, against Madelyn’s hopes, and against the desires of
Obama’s father back in Kenya, Ann and Obama hopped a plane to Maui and
got married. No guests, not even family members, were there. Barack
Hussein Obama Jr. was born six months later in Honolulu.OBAMA: According to Obama, his father abandoned his wife and child for Harvard, never to be seen again.
Obama: As Obama tells it, his father abandoned his wife and child for Harvard, leaving the two behind in Hawaii.
MARANISS: Susan Botkin, Maxine Box and John W. Hunt all remember Ann [Obama] showing
up in Seattle late that summer [the summer Obama Sr. left for Harvard] with little Barry, as her son was
“She was on her way from her mother’s house to Boston to be with her
husband,” Botkin recalled. “[She said] he had transferred to grad
school and she was going to join him. And I was intrigued with who she
was and what she was doing . . I
remember that afternoon, sitting in my mother’s living room, drinking
iced tea and eating sugar cookies. She had her baby and was talking
about her husband, and what life held in store for her. She seemed so
confident and self-assured and relaxed. She was leaving the next day to
fly on to Boston.”
But as Botkin and others later remembered it, something happened in Cambridge, and Stanley Ann returned to Seattle.
OBAMA: Obama portrays his buddy “Ray” as a deeply angry black teenager, discriminated against by bigotted non-black teens at Obama’s high school.
MARANISS: Keith and Tony Peterson were rummaging through the discount bin at a
bookstore in Boulder, Colo., one afternoon and came across a copy of
“Dreams From My Father” .. “We’ve got to buy this,” Keith said to his brother. “Look who wrote
it.” Barry Obama. Their friend from Punahou School ..
They wondered why Obama focused so much on a friend he called Ray, who
in fact was Keith Kukagawa. Kukagawa was black and Japanese, and the
Petersons did not even think of him as black. Yet in the book, Obama
used him as the voice of black anger and angst, the provocateur of hip,
vulgar, get-real dialogues.