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April 5, 2011
Bachmann 'Lies' about Family History, Obama 'Invents'
The media are all over potential presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann for the "lies" she told about her family history during an Iowa stump speech.
Would that they had paid -- or will pay -- half as much attention to Dreams from My Father, the Barack Obama memoir that an untroubled David Remnick, the New Yorker editor and Obama biographer, blithely describes as a "mixture of verifiable fact, recollection, recreation, invention, and artful shaping."
"I'm actually even more than just an Iowan," Bachmann told her Hawkeye audience last week. "I'm a 7th generation Iowan. Our family goes back to the 1850s to the first pioneers that came to Iowa from Sognfjord, Norway."
According to a breathless Chris Rodda of OpEdNews, although Bachmann was born in Iowa, and although her family did come from Norway in the 1850s, her family made stops in Quebec, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas before retreating to Iowa and then only four generations ago.
"There are some cultures in which telling self-serving lies about your own ancestors would be so shameful as to be inconceivable," writes Nick Pinto in the Minneapolis CityPages presumably with a straight face. "Michele Bachmann's culture is apparently not one of these."
Those of us who have followed the Obama family saga have to marvel at the potentially terminal myopia of people like Pinto and Rodda.
Their guy built his candidacy on the shifting sands of a family lie, not from four generations back or seven, but from this one, Obama's own.
Speaking of "shameful," how about lying to the huddled masses of America's schoolchildren, shepherded together in September 2009 for their first presidential speech? "My father left my family when I was two years old," he told them, "and I was raised by a single mother."
That was not true, and Obama knew it was not true, but that was the story he told in Dreams and in his two convention speeches, and he was sticking to it, by gum.
Obama was reportedly born on August 4, 1961. As I point out in my book Deconstructing Obama, young Barry was not yet a year old at the time Obama Sr. left Hawaii for good. In fact, though, it did not much matter how old the future president was when his presumed poppa turned rolling stone because Barry was not in Hawaii to be abandoned.
Barry and his mom, the cruelly named Stanley Ann Dunham, had lammed out of Hawaii within a few weeks of his birth and were living low on the hog in Seattle, where Stanley Ann enrolled at the University of Washington.
In short, the family never lived together. There was no Obama family. The Obama camp surely knew this by the time he ran for president, but Obama kept dissembling about his origins nonetheless.
"My parents shared not only an improbable love," said Obama famously in his breakthrough 2004 Convention keynote, "they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation." Bull-beep!