Last year, before the Barack Obama presidency became history, an independent film called “Southside with You” was released that was alleged to have been an account of the first date between Barack Obama, the future president, and the woman he would eventually marry and make the first lady, Michelle Robinson. In what way the reality had to give way to drama in the movie will likely be debated forever. However, a new biography of Obama, entitled “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama” by Pulitzer Prize-winning David J. Garrow has enough material for a different kind of movie, one that would show a different view of the president’s character.

Among the tidbits from the book:

While an undergraduate at Occidental young Barack considered becoming gay while under the influence of a beloved professor.

Nevertheless, Obama carried on passionate affairs throughout his college years with a number of women, the majority of them white. He actually proposed to one of his girlfriends, a lady named Sheila Miyoshi Jager, who was mixed race Dutch and Japanese. Pressured by her parents who thought she was too young, Jager turned her down. Eventually, Obama began to have political ambitions and felt he needed to identify more as an African American and concluded that having a non-black spouse would be a liability. Nevertheless, he continued to see Jager even after he met and started dating Michelle Robinson and even proposed to her again and was turned down a second time.

Obama used coke at parties long into his adulthood, longer in fact than he admitted to in “Dreams from My Father.” His drug abuse was casual, happening while partying with others.

All if this information can be filed under it would have been nice to have known this in 2007, though it likely would not have made a difference. Confusion about sexuality among the young is more common than many people might imagine.

Young Obama’s sexual and drug history were mild compared to that of Bill Clinton.

But one thing jumps out for anyone who is a fan of alternate history. What if Sheila Jager had said yes, especially the first time Obama had proposed? Mixed race marriages have become more common than they used to be and would hardly have been remarked upon, even in the 1980s, by all but the most bigoted.

Obama was the result of a mixed race mating, his father being from Kenya and his mother a white girl from Kansas.

Would having a non-African American wife really have been a political liability? Surely that would not have been the case on the national stage. Indeed the diversity such a family would have entailed would have been an asset. How such a marriage would have impacted history can only be speculated about, though.