May 8, 2017

"I never understood why he wrote it that way. There are whole passages from that book that are essentially copies of his letters to me."

"I always found it ironic that he was using his love letters to me to write his book and then completely omitted me from the entire account."

Said Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Obama's former girlfriend, who plays a central role in David J. Garrow's new book about Obama.

Jager seems very smart. She's a professor at Oberlin. How is it she "never understood" why Obama wrote his book that way? I simply don't believe that statement. The truth must be something closer to: It hurt me that he used material that I believed was written to me and that he used that material in a book written to the whole world and then, making it worse, he made me invisible. I went from everything to nothing, and it's not that I don't understand. I understand, and it hurts.

AND: She's still saying "love letters." But he took the love out of those letters, her letters.

79 comments:

Big Mike said...

Barack Obama never cared one bit for anyone not named Barack Obama. I've never seen such a total lack of empathy in a successful politician.

DKWalser said...

It's very simple. The ghost writer of Obama's book wanted to use his voice, so the writer cribbed from letters Obama had written.

Ann Althouse said...

Does she still have the letters? They must be worth millions. They can be compared to the text of "Dreams from My Father" for evidence that the latter text was ghostwritten.

JohnAnnArbor said...

"They can be compared to the text of "Dreams from My Father" for evidence that the latter text was ghostwritten."

She may not have thought of it that way before.

DanTheMan said...

Maybe Bill Ayers actually wrote those letters?

furious_a said...

Jager seems very smart. She's a professor at Oberlin.

I'll take your word for it.

But seriously, unless she's a Kardashian it seems like a yuge invasion of her privacy.

DanTheMan said...

I think it's very possible that she doesn't understand. How smart she is doesn't really apply to matters of the heart.

What if you had to argue that she really didn't understand, Ann? :)

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Does she still have the letters? They must be worth millions. They can be compared to the text of "Dreams from My Father" for evidence that the latter text was ghostwritten."

There is ample evidence in numerous situations that show Obama is presented by the aristocracy as something he is not. He was always a shell meant to consolidate power in the hands of the people who gave him record amounts of campaign money and support.

Hagar said...

He has copies of those letters?

Jonathan Graehl said...

she's not the first political autobio elision

and perhaps he tells the same story the same ways across dozens of seductions, private and public

unless she has the text for us to compare?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I'd like the transcript of his conversation with her father. The part where Sheila's father tells Barack that he's won't give his permission to marry his daughter because he is never going to amount to anything would be especially entertaining. But maybe that attempted humiliation is what spurred him to his later success.

Think of it, it that one Republican father had been willing to take one for the team, we might never have had an Obama Presidency.

Comanche Voter said...

Why you might say he wadded her up and threw her away like a used Kleenex when she was no longer useful. Where are the feminist howls of outrage at this senior partner in the law firm of Dickem & Dumpem?

readering said...

Changing the subject on fabrication but I love the way Trump lies about just about everything. From news report:

Throughout his career, both before and since he became president, Donald Trump has garnered a reputation for, shall we say, stretching the truth when it comes to issues both large and small. The latest of those untruths, according to Forbes, is the size of his gilded penthouse atop Trump Tower.

Trump, along with wife Melania and son Barron, lives in a Versailles-inspired 66th-floor penthouse triplex, which he’s occupied since the building opened in 1983. Per Forbes, which toured the space with Trump during the 2016 presidential race, the President claims the property is worth $200 million and spans 33,000 square feet—which would make it enormous, even by New York City standards. (To put that in perspective, the rumored $250 million condo atop 220 Central Park South—the city’s most expensive condo—reportedly spans 23,000 square feet.)

But Forbes did some digging in city records and found out that those numbers aren’t exactly true—and in fact, Trump may have exaggerated the size of his apartment by a factor of three. Per Forbes:

Records show Trump acquiring a 6,096-square-foot triplex apartment, occupying sections of floors 66 through 68, around the time Trump Tower opened in 1983. A decade later he expanded his penthouse, merging parts of two neighboring apartments into his home, according to the filings.
Ultimately, the total size of the Trump-owned portion of the 66th floor is about 10,996 square feet, per Forbes’s calculations—large, yes, but nowhere near 33,000. There’s also another resident on that floor, businessman Joel Anderson, who purchased his apartment in 1996, per city records.

Forbes also calls the value of Trump’s diamond-and-gold-encrusted apartment into question: Trump says it’s worth $200 million, and Douglas Elliman chief Howard Lorber told the Real Deal it could be worth as much as $100 million. Forbes, on the other hand, says that given the actual size of the penthouse, it would likely only be worth around $64 million.


Sebastian said...

"How is it she "never understood" why Obama wrote his book that way?" The same way we occasionally get statements like "I can't believe so-and-so said x" or "Why would the NYT write y?" To which yours truly responds that he can't believe you can't believe. Etc. Of course, sometimes "can't believe" or "never understood" are merely cliches, alternatives to saying "it's so ridiculous." But as in this case, they can also be taken at face value and therefore be legitimately unbelievable. And I agree that Jager has to know better. Her pretense is not just personally but also politically useful.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Does anyone really give a shit about this? Seriously, who cares.

Hillary/Chelsea 2020.

southcentralpa said...

In other news, James Frey continues to wonder "Why the double standard...?"

I Callahan said...

The truth must be something closer to: It hurt me that he used material that I believed was written to me and that he used that material in a book written to the whole world and then, making it worse, he made me invisible. I went from everything to nothing, and it's not that I don't understand. I understand, and it hurts.

This paragraph cries OUT for a response from rhhardin...

David said...

It is interesting that he trusted her not to reveal all of this when he was writing the book and taking off politically. Apparently he knew his girl quite well. Was he trusting in residual love and discretion, or in ideology? Would she have dared reveal some truths about Obama at this crucial time, given the political environment she lived in?

Or perhaps she just wanted to be done with the whole thing, but Garrow later changed her mind. Perhaps.

How many journalists knew of her, knew the outlines of this story? I will bet considerably more than one.

Arthur James said...

tHU====

















I was going to show yow a 21-pilots video but a I became to drunk






Thi

readering said...

I would like to know why she cooperated with Garrow. (Apparently POTUS did too since one of their last conversations was on whether she had been contacted by a biographer.)

wendybar said...

Too little, too late....It would have been nice to hear about his prior life before he sealed all of his records. I always wondered where all of the "people" he was involved with would come out of the woodwork. Ho-hum...At this point, what difference does it make?

Arthur James said...

21 pilots is a secret vice

Michael K said...

"He has copies of those letters?"

Exactly ! He kept copies ? What a creep !

readering, nice to see you gave up on trying to hijack the thread with TDS,

zipity said...


Huh. From this and other revelations, it appears Obama was/is a self-absorbed, narcissistic a-hole.

What a shock...

Gahrie said...

@readering

Yes...but is Trump paying rent while living in your head?

Earnest Prole said...

I'm with the girlfriend in finding this difficult to comprehend, and I didn't even sleep with Mr. Obama much less have a relationship with him. Who keeps copies of love letters and repurposes them into a fake history that obliterates the existence of an actual human being?

mockturtle said...

Jager seems very smart. She's a professor at Oberlin.

Wow! She must be smart!

madAsHell said...

I think it has been said here before......Obama is the first boyfriend president.

hombre said...

Blogger readering said...
"Changing the subject on fabrication but I love the way Trump lies about just about everything."

Non sequiturs, like straw men, ad hominem attacks, denial and projection are simply lefty discussion tools. No surprise here.

But since we are in the vicinity let me point out that Trump is a bullshitter. Obama is a liar. Hillary is a bullshitter AND a liar. Not that any lefty fully comprehends the differences. Nuance don'tcha know?

That's why the readering, Ingas, etc., are obsessed with this trivia and Trump voters don't care about it.

Joe said...

"How is it she "never understood" why Obama wrote his book that way?"

Because she knew him best before he "changed" into what he became. It would also suggest that what he was with her wasn't the genuine Obama either--that his persona is so malleable that it becomes inexplicable in any rational way.

buwaya said...

"He was always a shell meant to consolidate power in the hands of the people who gave him record amounts of campaign money and support. "

Indeed.

Also interesting is the entire romance/letters/cribbing business did not come out at any time between 2007-2016. Back when Obama was of extraordinary interest one would assume. When ex-girlfriends would have attracted enormous attention by a fascinated press. Or so one would think.

Perhaps there are reasons for that.

Rabel said...

Bin Laden had a copy of Jager's book "Iraqi Security Forces and Lessons from Korea" on his bookshelf in his compound in Pakistan when Obama killed him.

It's a small world.

readering said...

Gahrie. I'm a New Yorker so he's been squatting since at least 1985.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
Perhaps there are reasons for that.


The most obvious being that Jager is not a complete bitch.

Nonapod said...

This sort of thing simply reaffirms my impressions of the guy.

Pure ambition can lead people to do some amazing things, and there's arguably no higher ambition in the material world than becoming President of the United States. I'm sure if you deconstructed and analyzed the life of anybody who became POTUS, you'd undoubtedly find some pretty questionable decisions made at the expense of others. You know... the types of decisions that are typically known colloquially as "dick moves". What Obama did to this woman could certainly qualify, not illegal or even terribly immoral, just hurtful and inconsiderate.

Bay Area Guy said...

Dreams of My Father is mostly b.s. He met his father, one time, at an airport at age 10. His father had no role in his life, other than the name.

The objective of the book, however, to help propel Obama into the stratosphere of Democrat political politics was, in fact, met. Ergo, who cares about the authenticity and sincerity of a few love letters to and from an old girlfriend? She didn't matter.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Read and Enjoy said...

Smiling Obama used her without hesitation. And a man only uses people that he hates. Like Obama used, used and re-used the USA.

Will said...

Like any sociopath, Obama could easily move between identities. He had multiple faces, each tailored to extract what he wanted or needed. Whether it be lovers or mentors or donors, he could insincerely be anything required at any time to sell himself to that person and get what he needed.

Of course, this required that he seal all his records to keep the stories straight and keep contradictions from seeping out.....

Once written, twice... said...

President Obama did not use her name in his book because he has a sense of decorum and personal rectitude. I realize that for Ann--who never misses a chance to fawn over and excuse Trump's personal grossness--that is quite foreign.

Barack Obama is a self-made man who wrote his own destiny. Trump on the other hand started off on third base.

Of course it is Trump who Ann finds hard to write critically about.

What a twisted worldview you have Ann.

John Tuffnell said...

"Obama is the first boyfriend president."

Post needs an Obama as boyfriend tag.


rhhardin said...

My alma mater Oberlin keeps turning up. I forget what the other thing it was famous for was.

It was highly academic but otherwise unexceptional when I went except for admitting blacks since the 1850s, with no affirmative action either.

Sammy Finkelman said...

From Morning Jolt:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/447413/were-still-learning-about-younger-years-barack-obama

On the other hand…wait, Barack Obama nearly married a white woman, but decided against it because of how it would have impacted his political ambitions?

I didn't know about Jager, but that's what I thought anyway in 2008. That's what he did.

Sammy Finkelman said...

He would probably have married a white woman, but his wife had to be black because of politics. He needed that for his first steps.

Now maybe he could have worked it out, but he wasn't that imaginative.


MikeR said...

As Sebastian already suggested, "I don't understood why..." is standard Venusian. I think ladies use it, my wife and daughter certainly do. It means something like "You're wrong."

YoungHegelian said...

@Once,

Oh, bullshit! Rectitude, my ass!

What happened was that Obama's white girlfriend got disappeared, erased from the history like Stalin did to Trotsky.

Notice that this comes out after his campaigns? You wanna know why that is, Once? It's not because of the white racists. They wouldn't vote for him anyway. It's because the Democrats didn't want to alienate black women, who are a powerful voting bloc in the Democratic party. Black women loath successful black men who hang with white women. Loath them. That's why if Obama wanted to advance in Democratic politics he had to go black & not go back.

Renee said...

Unless you have a child together, exes are suppose to become invisible. It's the only way to move on.

Once written, twice... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Once written, twice... said...

Ann, you and your fellow racist commenters have no clue why Barack Obama did not marry this woman. Surely, only he only knows fully his reasons. But that does not keep your Althouse Hillbillie--with your baiting--from going off on racist rants.

But Donald Trump with all of his crazy divorces and marriages and extra curricular activities are not worthy of your scorn.

Arthur James said...

21 pilots is a secret vice. I trust my instincts.

walter said...

Once you attribute info to a specific person, it diminishes ability to "composite"

Shorter readering: But Trump..

Michael K said...

But that does not keep your Althouse Hillbillie--with your baiting--from going off on racist rants.

You should apply for the Hillary 2020 campaign. That sure sounds like a winning message,.

I'll bet you could be in charge of messaging.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Being a professor means someone is smart?

AllenS said...

Sheila, you were nothing more than a piece of ass. White ass, if you want, but a piece of ass nonetheless. Wow, a professor at Oberlin! Did you fuck your way into that position, also?

walter said...

Shorter Once..: But Trump..

I guess that's how it goes when your candidate is so bad that she loses the "character matters" litmus.
But just perhaps the issue with Obama's past is the pedestal he was elevated to when foisted upon the voters.

buwaya said...

"The most obvious being that Jager is not a complete bitch."

She wasn't then but she is now?
?

285exp said...

Maybe it was all standard boilerplate that he used on all of them, he didn't have to keep the copies of the ones he sent her, because he still had the template.

Once written, twice... said...


Allen S. wrote--
"Sheila, you were nothing more than a piece of ass. White ass, if you want, but a piece of ass nonetheless."

Sure, no Althouse Hillbilly racism going on here...

AllenS said...

Once..., what? Are you saying that I'm prejudiced against white women?

dreams said...

I have to admit it's a good feeling knowing I had that racist scumbag's number from the get go, whereas some of us have been proven to be suckers, liberal suckers.

Fernandinande said...

Hagar said...
He has copies of those letters?


That was my first thought.

Second thought: if he used the letters in his autohagiography, wouldn't that imply the letters were about His Wonderfulness, as opposed to her wonderfulness?

buwaya said...

"Second thought: if he used the letters in his autohagiography, wouldn't that imply the letters were about His Wonderfulness, as opposed to her wonderfulness?"

Maybe it works for him, who knows.
Its never worked for me, so I had to go with the more conventional operational methods, but other people have other abilities.

AllenS said...

You know what, Once..., me and Barry both like to fuck white women. Unlike your hero BJ Clinton, we don't fuck them with a cigar.

William said...

What did she teach at Oberlin? Was Lena Dunham her pupil? This would explain so much......She can take credit for being Obama's muse. That's so much better than being a wife. Ask Beatrice.

Lyle Smith said...

Michelle and the children are trophies?

vanderleun said...

My dear @Once.... may I suggest you go back to working your day job of teaching autofellatio to dogs? They need your expertise special. Thanking you in advance.

R.J. Chatt said...

Yeah, she's smart alright. She recognized that there would be no upside to revealing her identity when his book came out. She would have had lots of unwanted attention and Barry would have likely lost for being exposed as the phony he is. Now that he's an ex-president there's no downside and she can likely benefit in some way. Of course she has to go heavy on the hurt feelings and all because she doesn't want to appear calculating, as if she "never understood."

R.J. Chatt said...

This is for me a story of zero importance, but to be fair to Obama, perhaps he wanted to protect her from scrutiny. Nah. They weren't friends anymore and she did turn him down, so her feelings didn't matter.

Sam L. said...

Barry ISN'T the nice guy we've been told he is for all these years? Dannnnnnnnnnnnng.

Douglas said...

Woman frequently say "I don't understand XYZ" when what they really mean is "I really don't like XYZ."

Jim S. said...

Jager seems very smart. She's a professor at Oberlin.

I'm a professor, and I don't think I'm particularly smart. I'm smart in the field I'm a professor of, but it often comes at the cost of common sense. I'll prove it: I'm writing a comment on a post explaining to people that I'm not particularly smart.

Skyler said...

He probably used the same letters with all his "girlfriends," even the muslim ones and even the boy ones.

AllenS said...

I'd really like to see Barry's college records. I'll bet he's dumber than a box of rocks.

Jupiter said...

"Jager seems very smart. She's a professor at Oberlin."

Yeah. East Asian Studies.

SeanF said...

Ann Althouse: Does she still have the letters? They must be worth millions. They can be compared to the text of "Dreams from My Father" for evidence that the latter text was ghostwritten.

You're going to have to explain this to me. If the book is very similar to letters which Obama wrote, that would be evidence that Obama did not write the book?

Zach said...

“Up through 2004, this was someone who lived a very modest, middle-class paycheck-to-paycheck life, and so to see him, as president, get so infatuated with celebrities – and we’ve seen that infatuation with celebrities and all this money and private airplanes continue this spring – I’ve just really come to feel that who he is now is astonishingly different from who he was up through 2003. To me, this is a much more substantive point than who was his girlfriend in 1987.”

I've noticed this, too. It's always seemed to me to be a key to Obama's personality.

Here's a guy who has always been extremely ambitious, and up until 2004, he's just not very important. He's never had a job that he wasn't leveraging to get another job, and despite some enviable positions, he's never really carried any jobs through to completion.

Then in 2004, he's plucked from obscurity and becomes a huge celebrity! A possible president! The nominee! The honest-to-god First Black President! A genuine historical figure!

How does somebody respond to that big a change in status that fast? Especially somebody who has always thought he was much better than his circumstances? Obama seems to have responded by becoming a huge snob.

Sarah Rolph said...

"President Obama did not use her name in his book because he has a sense of decorum and personal rectitude." Putting aside the extreme irony of that statement, it sounds like this person doesn't know anything about the book. Obama didn't tell a true story and keep the names private. He used composite characters, fictionalizing his own life for effect. In that context, it's highly insulting that he would use letters from an ACTUAL girlfriend to shore up his fictionalization. Mixing truth and fiction is this way is highly unethical.

Regarding her phrasing that she doesn't understand, I think she's just be polite and professional. Of course it hurts, but why should she make herself vulnerable by saying that to the press? "I never understood why he did that" is code for "it was inappropriate."

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Leigh said...

@YoungHegelian (and others), you are exactly right. He made a calculated political decision to marry a black woman; otherwise his chances of getting the black vote would have been nil.

Back in 2007, I watched David Axelrod give an interview to someone -- a local TV station, as I recall (though it's possible I'm remembering his quotes from an article). In the interview, Axelrod plainly said when the campaign moved into North Carolina, South Carolina, and a few other southern states, they blanketed the towns with posters and push cards that had a prominent photograph of a very dark Michelle with Barack. Axelrod said it was critical that she been seen widely by the black communities, and be seen as unquestionably dark -- for precisely the reasons @YoungHegelian noted: Obama simply could not get the black vote if Michelle was seen as lighter-skinned. It would be perceived as a rejection of blacks. (This would also explain why Jager remained silent during his campaigns.)

Axelrod's unabashed black/white strategy struck me as an astounding thing to openly and publicly admit, but I've googled and searched for it on YouTube several times over the years and can never find anything. It's been scrubbed apparently.

And why, as others have pointed out, did the media do absolutely ZERO research on this man who came out of nowhere? His contrived personas go to the heart of his authenticity and his values.

As the author of Obama's new biography remarked: “I find this really quite astonishing and humorous that given all of the inaccurate speculation about Barack’s life over the years, it dawned on no journalist that there’d be student directories from the 80s that you could go look at. It seemed like an obvious thing to do but nobody had done it. Imagine that.