The Real Obama Revealed By Biographer

[The Zender Agenda from Cleveland Heights, OH, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

In one of the most astonishing political interviews given in a long time, David Garrow, a longtime civil rights historian who authored a biography on Obama in 2017 titled Rising Star, gave some never-before-seen information about the 43rd president that has left people speechless.

Tablet Magazine’s David Samuels published a lengthy interview with Garrow under a question-and-answer format that revealed secrets the media has hidden about Obama for nearly a decade, including his refusal to condemn antisemitism causing a breakup with his girlfriend and his sexual fantasies about men he described in letters.

The Federal explains, “According to Samuels, the argument in question involving Obama and his longtime Chicago girlfriend, Sheila Miyoshi Jager, was allegedly sparked after the couple visited “an exhibit at Chicago’s Spertus Institute about the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann,” a Nazi who played a major role in perpetuating the Holocaust. It was during this time, according to Samuels, that Chicago politics was engulfed in controversy after Steve Cokely, a black mayoral aide, “accused Jewish doctors in Chicago of infecting Black babies with AIDS as part of a genocidal plot against African Americans.”

The incident occurred while Cokely was speaking at a lecture series organized by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

“In Jager’s recollection, what set off the quarrel that precipitated the end of the couple’s relationship was Obama’s stubborn refusal, after seeing the exhibit, and in the swirl of this Cokely affair, to condemn Black racism,” Samuels wrote. “While acknowledging that Obama’s embrace of a Black identity had created some degree of distance between the couple, she insisted that what upset her that day was Obama’s inability to condemn Cokely’s comments.”

“It was not Obama’s Blackness that bothered her, but that he would not condemn antisemitism,” Samuels added.

In his 2007 memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama painted the couple’s argument in a different light. According to Samuels, Obama’s version of events insists “he was the particularist, embracing a personal meaning for the Black experience that Jager,” the “white-identified liberal” universalist, “refused to grant.” The argument is said to have preceded the couple’s split. It’s worth mentioning that Obama had reportedly proposed to Jager at least twice before they separated.”   

Obama’s refusal to attack antisemitism is not particularly surprising when one thinks about it, after all, he did attend Jeremiah Wright’s church for years and, like the current leader of the House Democrats, his picture showing chummy Obama with Louis Farrakhan was suppressed by the press. 

In 2009, after Obama won the White House, Wright gave an interview with the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., in which he said, “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me. … I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office.”  

Another bombshell dropped by Garrow in the interview was that Obama admitted to his girlfriend about “homosexuality.” 

The former president expressed his fantasies in a letter to a girlfriend at the time, Garrow told Tablet magazine in the interview. That letter has been redacted and is currently in the possession of Emory University, according to Garrow, writes The Daily Caller.

The ex-girlfriend provided a copy of the letter, but had redacted one paragraph, Garrow told Tablet, who said she revealed the paragraph was about “homosexuality.”

“Sometime, right about when Rising Star came out, Alex indirectly sold the original, sold those letters, and they ended up at Emory,” Garrow told Tablet while discussing his 2017 biography of Obama, “Rising Star,” which touched on Obama reportedly dreaming about homosexuality. “So Emory put out a press release saying, ‘We’ve gotten these rare letters by Barack Obama.’ And no mention of this paragraph that was too sensitive. None of the papers mentioned it. Emory didn’t mention it.”

“So I emailed Harvey [Klehr], said, ‘Go to the Emory archives.’ He’s spent his whole life at Emory, but they won’t let him take pictures,” Garrow said later in the interview. “So Harvey has to sit there with a pencil and copy out the graph where Barack writes to Alex about how he repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men.”

When Rising Star about Obama came out in 2017, Politico wrote, “Garrow’s research alone makes his book essential for anyone who wants to understand our recently departed president. Early headlines pounced on his discovery of, and interviews with, a previously unknown Obama girlfriend: Sheila Miyoshi Jager. Now a professor at Oberlin College, Jager was a graduate student in anthropology (just like Obama’s mother) when she lived with Obama in his community organizing days. He proposed marriage to her and even continued to see her a bit after he began dating Michelle.

But the revelations about Jager are just the most sensational of innumerable new and often fascinating details Garrow reveals. He interviewed more than a thousand of Obama’s friends and colleagues, and Obama himself for eight hours, and unearthed documents from every stage of the president’s life: his undergraduate poetry and his law school exams, an unpublished policy manuscript he co-wrote, his evaluations as a professor at the University of Chicago, his annual tax payments to the IRS, an opposition-research dossier from his 2004 U.S. Senate primary campaign, letters he wrote to his most serious girlfriends and even the diaries they kept of their years with him, including frank (though not lurid) accounts of sex. What’s more, Garrow’s meticulous reconstructions of Obama’s formative years in Chicago organizing and of his political education as a state senator are unparalleled. It’s a stunning and indispensable work of history.

So why isn’t the book on everyone’s nightstand? No doubt some readers have been deterred by its formidable length; at 1,460 pages, 1,078 of them narrative text, it’s not so much a doorstop as a nightstand itself. But some would-be readers have mentioned to me a prominent pre-publication dismissal by the dean of book reviewers, the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani, who trashed Rising Star (in her lead paragraph no less), as “a dreary slog of a read … bloated, tedious and—given its highly intemperate epilogue—ill-considered.” Four days later, a caustic viral tweet by the Washington Post’s David Maraniss (a Pulitzer-winner in his own right whose admirable—though briefer—Barack Obama: The Story Garrow’s volume effectively supersedes), probably scared off more readers: “Will say this once only. David Garrow, author of new Obama bio, was vile, undercutting, ignoble competitor unlike any I’ve encountered.” Maraniss, whom I know a bit, is a decent and generous man; he doesn’t lash out lightly.”

In short, Obama’s allies were not a fan. His interview with Tablet is a food indication as to why. 

The interview is long, but well worth the time it takes to read. It can be found here. 

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