February 1, 2010
Published with permission
Until last week, I had avoided the swamplands of Barack Obama’s origins, a place from which reputations rarely return.
What prompted my interest was a reader inquiry into a poem by then 19-year old Obama called “Pop,” a cynical bit of work almost assuredly written about his maternal grandfather Stanley Dunham, “Gramps.”
In researching the meaning of the poem-Obama’s oeuvre being my own personal swamp–I came to a conclusion I had not anticipated, namely that there is a full year missing from Obama’s biography, his first year.
According to the standard Obama biography, Barack Obama was born to the 18 year-old Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. on August 4, 1961.
The accepted story line is that the brilliant, charismatic Barack Sr. had swept the quiet Ann off her feet, impregnated her, married her, and left reluctantly for Harvard after a year of nurturing the baby Obama in Hawaii.
As I discovered, some of this story is fully false, and all of it is suspect. The false part involves the year after Obama’s birth 1961-1962.
As Jerome Corsi first revealed in these pages, “Stanley Ann Dunham” enrolled for classes at the University of Washington at Seattle on August 19, 1961, fifteen days after Obama’s presumed birth.
As is clearly documented, Ann attended class at the university through the spring semester with baby Obama in tow for at least some large part of this adventure.
The apolitical Washington state historical blog, HistoryLink, confirms Ann’s arrival in August 1961, identifies her Capitol Hill apartment in Seattle, names the courses she took, and documents an extended stay by Ann and little Obama into the summer of 1962.
WND readers may already know much of this information, but somehow it escaped the four book-length biographies I consulted (including one by the New York Times), the several long-form magazine and newspaper bios I researched, the official campaign biography, and Obama himself in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father.
Not one of these accounts places Ann and/or Obama anywhere other than Hawaii during Obama’s first year.
This eye-popping oversight raises a fundamental question: why are we to trust the narrative that the mainstream collective has spun about the year leading up to Obama’s birth?
In researching that critical year, one quickly sees that much of this narrative depends on two less than reliable sources: Obama himself and a chatty Hawaii Democratic congressman, Neil Abercrombie, who knew Barack Sr. back in the day at the University of Hawaii.
“[Barack Sr.] was an intellectual in every sense of the word,” Abercrombie gushed to the Washington Post in 2007. “He was the sun, and the other planets revolved around him.” Sound like a pattern developing here?
A member of the House’s progressive caucus, Abercrombie has been talking excitedly about the relationship for years, playing John the Baptist to Obama’s Jesus.
“Little Barry, that’s what we called him,” Abercrombie told the Chicago Tribune, while “recalling his days with Obama Sr. and his future wife, Ann Dunham, at the University of Hawaii.”
If Obama were born on August 4, 1961, however, there could not have been many such days. Ann was in Seattle two weeks later. As soon as she returned in late summer 1962, Barack Sr. left for Harvard for good.
Citing Abercrombie as source, a 2007 Hawaii TV news report claimed that Ann “became estranged from her husband, Barack Obama Sr., after his departure for Harvard.”
I don’t know about Hawaii, but in Missouri if you flee your husband with baby in tow two weeks after his birth that qualifies as “estrangement.”
According to divorce papers filed in 1964, Barack Sr. and Ann married in Maui on February 2, 1961. But one has to wonder whether it was a marriage in anything but name.
Obama himself writes in Dreams, “In fact, how and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a bill of particulars that I’ve never quite had the courage to explore.”
No one attended the wedding, not Abercrombie, not Ann’s parents. In fact, no one in Barack Sr.’s clique seemed to know there was a relationship, let alone a wedding.
Neil’s brother, Hal, never saw Ann and Barack Sr. together. Another clique member, Pake Zane, who had distinct memories of Barack Sr., could not recall Ann at all.
When Neil Abercrombie and Zane visited their friend in Nairobi in 1968, Barack Sr. shocked them by not inquiring at all about his wife and six year-old child.
What is undeniable, however, is that Barack Sr. lent young Barry a name, an exotic identity, and a romantic story line. Obama’s mother and grandparents sustained this narrative throughout Obama’s childhood.
In Dreams, “Gramps” can only sing the praises of the young African despite the fact that he knocked up his daughter and then abandoned her. Until made permanently “not available” by the Obama campaign, “Toot,” Madelyn Dunham, confirmed the story but without enthusiasm.
“Madelyn did appear to told back some in our interview,” wrote early Obama biographer David Mendell of a 2004 meeting with Obama’s then 81-year old grandmother.
The simplest explanation, of course, is that the caddish, self-absorbed Barack Sr. did indeed romance the rebellious Ann Dunham, impregnate her, marry her, and eventually forget her.
The hasty departure of Ann two weeks after the birth raises real questions about this narrative, but then again so does the poem, “Pop,” Obama’s best piece of work presuming he actually wrote it.
In the poem, Obama seems to be confronting Gramps with the realization that he is actually his father. Obama calls the poem “Pop” after all, not “Gramps.”
“Under my seat, I pull out the Mirror I’ve been saving,” writes Obama. Yes, the two look alike, they smell alike, they have the same ears, and Pop even has “the same amber stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine” (I’ll leave the last one alone).
Obama is right. They do look alike. Obama does not, however, look like Barack Sr. and, Abercrombie concedes, the grown-up Obama does not sound at all like him either.
As Obama admits in Dreams, Gramps hangs out in otherwise all-black bars and pals around with his communist soul mate and sex merchant, Frank Marshall Davis.
Did a black woman — perhaps a friend of Davis’s — give birth to a child of Dunham’s? Might that explain what Obama describes as “the complicated, unspoken transaction between the two men?” Or, another possibility, was Davis the father of Ann’s baby, as he too matches the description of “Pop” in all salient details?
Either explanation might account for Ann’s apparently subsidized departure for Seattle with a child allegedly less than two weeks old. Did Barack Sr. play a useful role in this charade in return for an American wife and baby and all the potential benefits that entailed? Might this all make Obama squirrelly about releasing any birth records?
Do not wait for the mainstream media to answer these questions. They still have not thought to ask where Obama spent the first year of his life.