His Sept. 25 column came these odd claims presented as evidence: "both [Ayers] and Obama are obsessed with memory and its instability," and both have used "nautical language," noting that Ayers once worked as a merchant seaman. Cashill concluded: "As a writer, especially in the pre-Google era of 'Dreams,' I would never have used a metaphor as specific as 'ballast' unless I knew exactly what I was talking about," suggesting without evidence that Obama would not have used it on his own, as if he had never seen ships while growing up in Indonesia and Hawaii.
In his Oct. 2 column, Cashill sounds disappointed that "the technology is not currently available to do a fully reliable authorship analysis," so again, he peddles his conspiracy, repeating once more the purported shared affininty for nautical references. He even ends his column the same way as the last one but this time stating directly what he had only implied previously: "As a writer, especially in the pre-Google era of 'Dreams,' I would never have used an image as specific as 'ballast' unless I knew exactly what I was talking about. Ayers knew. Obama did not."
He does note: "In Obama's defense, he did grow up in Hawaii. Still, he gives little hint of having spent time at the beach or on any kind of real ship, and yet his memoir is awash in aquatic imagery," adding:
Not everyone writes this way. For instance, my book "Sucker Punch," which is no small part a memoir about race, is silent on the subject of the sea.
"Sucker Punch" makes no reference at all, metaphorical or otherwise, to ships, seas, oceans, calms, storms, wind, waves, horizons, panoramas, or of things howling, fluttering, knotted, ragged, tangled, or murky. None.
This despite the fact that I have likely a deeper relationship with the sea than Obama, having spent a good chunk of every summer of my life at the ocean, and having a summer home on the boundless Lake Erie for the last 20 years.
But again, he has no evidence that Obama couldn't know any aquatic terms with enough familiarity to use them in his writing.
Which tells us where Cashill is at in peddling his little conspiracy -- and how seriously we should (not) take him.