Bill Ayers Book Comment Sets Blogs Abuzz

(Three Rivers Press)
Conservative author Jack Cashill has long argued that former Weatherman Bill Ayers wrote President Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father." Today, he got what many sympathetic parties took as proof: An admission from Ayers himself to a conservative blogger that he was behind the book.

A blogger named "BackyardConservative" said she was sitting in Reagan National Monday when she spotted Ayers and struck up a conversation. Here's how she recounts part of it:

Then, unprompted he said--I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said--Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say--and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again--I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said--I wrote it.
The blog post immediately bounced around the conservative blogosphere, generating links and discussion that propelled it to the top of blog buzz site memeorandum.

It appears, however, that Ayers, aware of the claims, was simply joking around. As Jonah Goldberg noted, National Journal spoke to Ayers about the issue in a piece that ran Saturday, and he said much the same thing – though his tone implies he was less than serious.

"When he finished speaking, we put the authorship question right to him," Will Englund wrote. "For a split second, Ayers was nonplussed. Then an Abbie Hoffmanish, steal-this-book-sort-of-smile lit up his face. He gently took National Journal by the arm. 'Here's what I'm going to say. This is my quote. Be sure to write it down: "Yes, I wrote Dreams From My Father. I ghostwrote the whole thing. I met with the president three or four times, and then I wrote the entire book."' He released National Journal's arm, and beamed in Marxist triumph. 'And now I would like the royalties.'"

That certainly makes Ayers' ostensible admission appear to be less of a smoking gun than Cashill and others might hope. Yet the Ayers-as-author claims seem likely to endure: Goldberg said he is taking them somewhat seriously despite the National Journal piece, while other conservatives are using Ayers comments to fuel their own theories, like the fact that "Ayers is frustrated with Obama" and is offering "a shot across his bow from the radical left."

Noting skepticism from some conservative quarters, BackyardConservative updated her post with her current thinking.

"Of course Ayers is messing with us," she writes. "He's messing with Obama too. I think he wanted plausible deniability. But I think he wants credit. Whether he wrote it or not, I think he wants credit. And I actually do now think he wrote it. But if no one believes him now that would be funny too--because he's cried wolf all these years and has no credibility left. Now that he's ratting out Obama it could be all bets are off. Maybe some of Ayers old partners in crime will be persuaded by Rahmbo to rat him out. Whatever. You decide, but I don't think this is the end of it."