Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Obama Tape Rumor and a 2006 Political Thriller

"[T]here are a lot of good reasons to vote against Barack Obama; but what people claim Michelle Obama says on a tape that no one can produce and no one has seen isn't one of them."---Jim Geraghty, National Review Online

I reported here about an apocryphal rumor that there was a tape that would embarrass Senator Obama.

Jim Geraghty of the National Review Online (6-6-08) has now written an article called "Why Does the Michelle Obama Tape Rumor Match a 2006 Novel?"

Geraghty's article chronicles the similarities of a political thriller by the novelist and investment banker Stephen Frey to Senator Obama's candidacy. The novel even has a rumor about an alleged tape.

Geraghty writes:

Sometimes, this rumor of this alleged tape of Michelle Obama denouncing “whitey” sounds like something out of a clichéd political thriller novel.

Actually, it sounds exactly like something out of a clichéd political thriller novel. Specifically, Stephen Frey’s The Power Broker, published in 2006 by Ballantine Books.

A major plot line of the novel is the presidential campaign of Democrat Jesse Wood, aiming to be the country’s first African American president — “Wood was handsome, smart, charismatic, and being mentioned increasingly often in the press as someone who could unite a twenty-first century America growing more, not less, racially and economically divided.” (p.35)

He’s a U.S. Senator from New York and former senior partner at a prestigious law firm. His backers include “some of the old Black Panthers.” He wants to make Puerto Rico a state, and a recurring figure in his campaign is a controversial minister from Philadelphia called “Jefferson Roundtree.”

And by page 130, his opponents find a videotape that could ruin his candidacy…

Geraghty concludes:

Either author Stephen Frey is clairvoyant, writing this book in 2006. Or this is one of the all time amazing coincidences. Or whoever started this rumor got the idea from a novel...

Why is a conservative blogger putting this much effort into dispelling a rumor that, on paper at least, would hurt Obama? Because those who prefer a president besides Obama should not go through the summer and fall convinced that a magic-bullet devastating tape is going to appear as an October surprise to save the day.

Also, there are a lot of good reasons to vote against Barack Obama; but what people claim Michelle Obama says on a tape that no one can produce and no one has seen isn't one of them. [Full text]

Blogger AJStrata speculates about political skullduggery here, and I chip in my two-cents worth in several comments.

UPDATE: A former CIA employee named Larry Johnson, who has promoted this tape rumor, gives the latest version of his side of the story here.

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