Biographer: ‘Lazy’ Obama Would Be Terrible SCOTUS Choice

Biographer: ‘Lazy’ Obama Would Be Terrible SCOTUS Choice

August 4, 2023

A 16,000-plus word interview with former President Barack Obama’s award-winning biographer has raised eyebrows for reasons ranging from his allegation that Obama’s first memoir was fictionalized and the observation he’s as “insecure” as political rival Donald Trump.

Tablet’s lengthy Q&A with historian David Garrow, who wrote the 2017 biography Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, has stunned social media with its various claims about the former president.

The feature began with a tale of Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Obama’s girlfriend in the 1980s, saying their relationship ended when “he would not condemn antisemitism.” Tablet made it clear that Obama’s version of the breakup was much different in his own book, as he indicated embracing “black racial consciousness” clashed with his white girlfriend.

Samuels then dove into the Q&A with Garrow. Their conversation shocked many readers, with various allegations circulating on social media. Among them:

“He’s not normal—as in not a normal politician or a normal human being,” Garrow said after telling a story about Obama’s lawyer warning him not to ask about his father.

Garrow later referred to Obama as “a creature from another planet” when discussing his wife Michelle Obama being raised by a close, loving family.

“With Alex [McNear, Obama’s girlfriend at Occidental College], I think she wanted to have her role known. So when Alex showed me the letters from Barack, she redacted one paragraph in one of them and just said, ‘It’s about homosexuality,’” Garrow said before explaining that a man named Harvey Klehr was tasked with going through the letters, which are at Emory.

“He’s spent his whole life at Emory, but they won’t let him take pictures. 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,” Garrow said.

“He wants people to believe his story. For me to conclude that ‘Dreams from My Father’ was historical fiction—oh God, did that infuriate him,” Garrow said. “He doesn’t want the writerliness challenged. It’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The book [Dreams] is so fictionalized.”

Garrow continued: “It’s so inaccurate, whether about the dynamics among the guys in Hawaii or what’s going on in the community group on the far South Side. And it completely omits women. I’ve always thought that there’d eventually be a feminist critique of Obama because his mother and all the girlfriends—they’re not there. They don’t exist.”

Garrow revealed he spoke with Obama for eight hours in three off-the-record sessions while he was still president. He was derisive about Obama, saying the things he shared that most “energized” him were “hilariously inconsequential,” like boasting about being fluent in Indonesian in his youth.

About Obama’s insecurity, Garrow said, “He has no interest in building the Democratic Party as an institution. I think that’s obvious. And I don’t think he had any truly deep, meaningful policy commitments other than the need to feel and to be perceived as victorious, as triumphant. I’ve sometimes said to people that I think Barack is actually just as insecure as Trump, but in ways that are not readily perceived by the vast majority of people. I think that’s probably my most basic takeaway.”

“But it does go back to ‘Dreams’ being a work of fiction, that the absence of an actual personal story makes him need to compose one,” he continued. “For every time he says, ‘Oh, I spent years reading the history of the civil rights movement,’ I know he read BTC, but I don’t think he read much else. This is someone who … 98 percent of his reading has always been fiction, not history.”

As for Barack occupying a spot on the Supreme Court, “He’d be terrible because he’s too lazy. This is in the book. It goes back to him being Hawaiian. At one point, he says, ‘I’m fundamentally lazy and it’s because I’m from Hawaii.’ That’s close to the actual quote,” Garrow said.

© Copyright 2024,