A popular theme of Barack Obama's campaign, going back to the opening of his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address, is the love of his parents. Here's the beginning of that famous speech, following a few introductory formalities:
Tonight is a particular honor for me because - let's face it - my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.
While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor my grandfather signed up for duty; joined Patton's army, marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through FHA, and later moved west all the way to Hawaii in search of opportunity.
And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter. A common dream, born of two continents.
My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential.
They are both passed away now. And yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with great pride.
I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.
With that, he tapped into a load of powerful sentimental fantasies rampant in America today, many of them contradictory. For example, Harold Meyerson claims today in the Washington Post:
"Now, I mean to take nothing away from McCain's Americanness by noting that it's Obama's story that represents a triumph of specifically American identity over racial and religious identity. It was the lure of America, the shining city on a hill, that brought his black Kenyan father here, where he met Obama's white Kansan mother. It is because America is uniquely the land of immigrants..."
Where to begin? First, Barack Obama Sr. was not an immigrant and didn't conceive of himself as one— he was a foreign student, who acquired a bachelor's and master's degree in the U.S. in order to quickly return to Kenya and grab for the brass ring of political power.
There was nothing special about America offering scholarships to Kenyans. Barack Obama Jr.'s kinsman and sometimes political ally, Luo warlord and Kenya's new Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, got his degree in East Germany at about the same time.
And for the love of God, Obama wrote a 442 page book about his pursuit of a racial identity, not of a "specifically American identity."
But, let's leave aside Meyerson's obsession with promoting immigration and examine the warm romantic glow that surrounds so many accounts of Obama's parents. When examined carefully, their relationship turns out to be a sordid one, with disastrous long-term consequences. That's hardly uncommon, but what is uncommon is positioning your parents' squalid, catastrophic relationship as a major reason for electing you President!
Let's ask a question that I haven't seen before:
How old was Ann Dunham when Barack Obama Sr., an already married 24-year-old, impregnated her?
Barack Obama Jr. tells us that he weighed eight pounds, two ounces when he was born on August 4, 1961 (p. 22 of Dreams from My Father), so we can assume he went close to full term, or nine months.
His parents' bigamous marriage took place six months before on 2/2/1961, when she'd be about starting to show.
Nine months before Obama's birth would be early November 1960, about three to four weeks before Ann Dunham's 18th birthday on November 29, 1960.
So, Barack Sr., a married man of about 24, almost certainly impregnated a 17-year-old girl.
Recall how the big scandal discovered in the raid on the Fundamentalist Mormon town in Texas were all the girls ages 13-17 who were pregnant by polygamous older men? So, the much admired All-American love of Obama's parents turns out to be basically the same ...
Barack Sr. then bigamously married Ann, then soon abandoned her and her son because the scholarship offer from the New School of Social Research that would have paid for the whole family to move to New York City wasn't as prestigious as the scholarship offer to Harvard that paid just his own living expenses.
The candidate's father then married another American woman bigamously, took her back to Kenya, but carried on polygamously with his original Kenyan wife, until wife #3 divorced him. There was another kid by a fourth woman. Somewhere along the line he killed a man in a drunk driving incident, then got himself killed in another.
Meanwhile, the candidate's mother married an Indonesian guy who tried to bring home the bacon for her and another man's kid, but she got tired of him, had a baby with him anyway, then abandoned him, but then lived most of the rest of her life in Indonesia, anyway.
It's the American Dream!
|Ann Dunham Dates
|Barack Sr. Age
|Conceived Barack Jr. (approx)
|Barack Jr.'s birthweight