Chapter one is reason one not to take Klein's new book seriously

“Obama tied to Bill Ayers... at age 11!”

Such is the title of the first chapter of WorldNetDaily “reporter” Aaron Klein's new book, The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists, and it should give you an inkling of the sort of scholarship you can expect here. While the physical book itself is new, its content is decidedly stale, re-examining as it does all of the “controversial” aspects of Obama's background that nobody outside the nuttier corners of the blogosphere cared about back in 2008.

But Klein has added some remarkably asinine twists to the right's fascination with Obama and Ayers, which brings us to the first chapter detailing Obama's alleged boyhood links to Ayers, which is based on a WorldNetDaily article Klein wrote last June.

Klein writes on page 3: “Obama's earliest exposure to Ayers' ideology, astonishingly enough, traces back to Obama's childhood and the Hawaiian church at which the future U.S. president attended Sunday school as a boy.” The church in question, First Unitarian of Honolulu, was, according to Klein, “a sanctuary for draft dodgers during the 1960s and 1970s and was strongly linked to the Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, during the time Weatherman radical Bill Ayers was the leader in that organization.”

After indulging in a lengthy denunciation of the SDS, Klein offers his evidence of SDS's “strong links” to the church: The church “granted sanctuary to U.S. military deserters recruited by SDS” before the church was raided in 1969, and anti-war statements from a draft dodger were read to the congregation at the church that same year and written up by an SDS publication.

That's it.

From this, we're supposed to believe that Obama, as a child who spent maybe an hour or two in Sunday school at this church every week, was somehow indoctrinated in the philosophy of Bill Ayers. As Klein himself acknowledges, Obama didn't even return to Hawaii from Indonesia until 1971, making it extraordinarily unlikely that he was exposed to that bit of “Ayers' ideology.”

Not exactly groundbreaking, logical stuff, but Klein nonetheless complains that the media ignored this aspect of Obama's childhood, even though it “may have influenced the future president's early outlook.”

And this pretty well sets the tone for the rest of the book, which follows the well-practiced formula of all the anti-Obama smear artists out there who desperately want to believe that Obama is a dangerous radical but can't find any real evidence of that dangerous radicalism -- identify and denounce actual radicals, assert their tangential connection to the president, and hope that people are confused/gullible enough to fall for it.