David Garrow, Pulitzer-prize winning author of a book on Martin Luther King Jr., has written a book about Barack Obama–Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama–to be released May 9, 2017. Garrow began writing his book in 2008, working on it over the past 9 years. The book, 1460+ pages long, covers Obama’s history from the point where his father allegedly came to the U.S. in the late 1950s through 2016 (but with scant coverage after 2007). Garrow spoke recently on Jamie Weinstein’s radio show:
I think that people irrespective of their political views or partisan identification will be astonished—I cannot say that too strongly—will be profoundly astonished by how much important substance of Barack Obama’s life has not previously been known. … [emphasis added to quotes]
What most disappointed me back in the context of 2008 was how little interest U.S. journalists of all stripes took in the eight years that Barack spent in Springfield, Illinois, in the state legislature. There is not even, as we sit here today, a good magazine article out there about Barack’s time in the Illinois state legislature. …
Barack and his closest friend in the early 1990s, when they were in law school, wrote several hundred pages of a proposed book manuscript that was never published. Particularly the 140 pages or so of that manuscript that are about race give significant insight into Barack’s thinking, you know, when he was leaving law school, about to enter into public life in Illinois. …
Had some Republican opposition researcher come up with the book manuscript he wrote in law school, there are multiple things that could have been used to Guinier him. …
I think even back in 2008, 2009, from the very get-go, I was surprised at people’s willingness to assume that Barack’s memoir, Dreams From My Father, was without question historically reliable. I thought from the beginning that that was probably too charitable a presumption. …
What I would fairly say, and we see this again very much in the present day, is that when one becomes president of the United States, it’s not uncommon for that person to think that their memory, their version of events, inescapably trumps all other people’s versions.
In the fuller version of the interview, at this link, Garrow gives clues about his own political views:
Garrow is skeptical of U.S. intelligence agencies and the way that the anti-Trump “dossier” was published; he gives it little credence. Garrow mentions the “incompetence” that he perceives in those agencies and notes that much of their work “is contracted out to for-profit contractors,” making results suspect.
Garrow states that the recent Wikileaks release about CIA software is “vastly more important” than investigating potential connections between former Trump advisors and Russia.
However, Garrow also believes that there’s “zero chance” that Barack Obama would have targeted President Donald J. Trump for surveillance, although he believes that it’s entirely possible that Obama’s minions (my word, not his) may have deliberately unmasked and spread intelligence gathered incidentally for political reasons.
Garrow is a Bernie Sanders supporter, in his own words a “leftist progressive Democrat,” so don’t expect many juicy new revelations in his book. Throughout the Weinstein interview, Garrow refers to Obama by his first name, which makes one wonder how objectively he looks at his subject.
At least half of the interview concerned matters other than the upcoming Obama book. Garrow held quite a few personal interviews with Obama but all were off the record, so he’s not allowed to quote Obama, and he says that Obama disagrees with Garrow’s take on some topics.
Weinstein asked Garrow about specific allegations that have been made about Obama over the years, notably and curiously side-stepping the question about where Obama was born. Following are paraphrases of a few questions that were asked, followed by Garrow’s answers:”
Is Obama a closet Muslim? No, according to Garrow.
Is Obama a Marxist? No.
Did Obama write Dreams from my Father”? Yes, he wrote it but “Rob”, his best friend at Harvard, edited it (not Bill Ayers).
Is Obama gay or was he at any time in his life? No.
Did Obama ever experiment with the gay lifestyle? Garrow believes that Obama deserves a “certain basic degree of privacy” so he won’t “speculate” about that, but he states that prior to Michelle Robinson, Obama had “three major” relationships. Garrow names Alex and Genevieve, both white women with names already known to the media; but it’s unclear from the interview with whom Obama’s third relationship was–Garrow didn’t say (or I missed it) but Garrow did state that Rob was as “intellectually important” to Obama as were the three pre-Michelle girlfriends.
Who’s Rob? Apparently, Rob Fischer:
Obama never wrote a bylined piece as editor of the law review, perhaps because his interests extended beyond. “I don’t think Barack sees this as a steppingstone to the academic aspects of the law,” Rob Fischer, a close friend of Obama back at Harvard, told the Record at the time.
“But whatever he does, he is extraordinarily committed to making a contribution to the resolution of social problems in this country.”
The identification is confirmed by a UK news article about Garrow’s book:
The historian [Garrow] said Obama and his friend Robert Fischer wrote hundreds of pages for a proposed book in the early 1990s when they were still in law school. The manuscript was never published.
Following is a quote from the Obama/Fischer manuscript:
Racism against African-Americans continues to exist throughout American society, an admittedly racist culture. Precisely because America is a racist society, we cannot realistically expect white America to make special concessions toward blacks over the long haul. The greatest testimony to the force of racist ideology in American culture is that it infects not only the mind of whites, but the minds of blacks as well.
Obama’s views may have (were they more widely known at the time) been used by Obama’s opponents in the presidential elections, according to Garrow.
At Harvard, Obama’s best friends were Cassandra Butts, Ken Mack, and Robert Fisher, according to Mack. Fisher and Obama were particular proteges of Laurence H. Tribe, who taught at there at the time. Obama and Fischer (alternately spelled Fisher) held that interpreting the Constitution is a “conversation,” as cited by Laurence H. Tribe and Michael C. Dorf in their book On Reading the Constitution.
About Rob Fisher, as of 2009:
Dr. Robert M. Fisher is an Assistant Director in the Office of International Affairs at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Dr. Fisher is both an attorney and an economist; his education includes a Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University (1982) and a J.D. from Harvard Law School (1991, magna cum laude). He is responsible for SEC technical assistance, including sharing best regulatory practices, assistance on draft regulations and statutes, answering inquiries from foreign regulators on SEC practice and the provision of training to foreign regulators. In the past three years, he has provided in-country consultations, given technical presentations, participated as a speaker or conducted training programs in the following countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine and the United States. Prior to his present position, Dr. Fisher served as a financial economist in the SEC’s Office of Economic Analysis, where he worked on policy-related issues and in support of enforcement. Before joining the SEC, Dr. Fisher’s legal career included stints (as a lawyer) at the law firms of Fried Frank, Sidley & Austin and Skadden Arps. At Fried Frank -and just prior to joining the SEC- he was Special Counsel and focused on securities regulatory and enforcement matters. While his primary area of practice has been securities regulation, he has also worked on telecommunications, anti-trust, railway, international trade and banking matters. He clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams at the US Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit. Dr. Fisher also has experience as a consultant, working as a “practice manager” at a for-profit corporate think-tank known as the Corporate Executive Board, where he oversaw various teams of consultants providing best practice studies (largely to Fortune 500 companies.) His academic experience includes teaching economics as an Associate Professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as stints (as an economist) at Cambridge University as a Visiting Fellow, at the Australian National University as a Research Fellow and at the University of Adelaide (South Australia) as a Tutor. He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, where he co-taught a course on Global Securities Markets. Dr. Fisher has published one book, entitled The Logic of Economic Discovery. It is an exploration of economic methodology. Dr. Fisher was a recipient of the US SEC Chairman’s Award for Excellence in 2008.
As of March 8, 2016:
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert M. Fisher has been named Managing Executive of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). In this role, Dr. Fisher will oversee OCIE’s business operations, technology services, examiner training, and Tips, Complaints and Referrals programs. He succeeds Peter B. Driscoll who has been named Chief Risk and Strategy Officer of OCIE’s new Office of Risk and Strategy. …
Dr. Fisher came to the SEC in 2002 as an Economic Fellow in the Office of Economic Analysis, now the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis. He was named an Assistant Director in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) in 2005, with responsibility for the SEC’s technical assistance program for emerging markets. He became OIA’s Deputy Director in 2012 and later served as the office’s Acting Director. In 2014, Dr. Fisher joined OCIE as an Associate Director within its Office of the Director.
Before coming to the SEC, Dr. Fisher was a Washington, D.C.-based attorney in private practice and clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. His academic experience includes serving as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, Associate Professor at the College of the Holy Cross, Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, and Research Fellow at the Australian National University.
Dr. Fisher holds a Ph.D. and bachelor’s degree in Economics from Duke University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude).
More at this link.
For the past 9 years, we’ve been studying fake news about Obama–9 years before “fake news” became a catchphrase. How likely is it that a self-described leftist/progressive Democrat is going to reveal any true truths about Obama in this new book? How interesting, though, that even a leftist/progressive historian immediately doubted the facts presented in Obama’s allegedly self-written history.
Do we feel like revisiting this topic? Will we still be amused when comparing previous “true facts” written about Obama by the obsequious media (see our O Timeline) or are we burned out on the subject of Obama’s many surrealistic and fantastic biographies?
For a recent example, this story states that Obama was 3 when his parents divorced; he was 2, if we believe alternate “facts“. It also says his mother’s name was Ann. Others have reported differently.