If you missed any chapters, click on the book excerpt link on the top menu.
This book presents a portrait of Obama that is consistent with what we are seeing in him as President. He’s ill-prepared for the job he’s in and Obama is for Obama.
As I say each time I print an excerpt – it’s much better to read the book, Ed Klein is an excellent writer and has a lot more to say than I am writing here, but I do want this information out.
Obama is not a nonpartisan reformer – he is a product of Chicago politics and that’s not a good thing. Chicago is a hotbed of corruption. Chicago is the federal district with the most convictions since 1976 with 1,828 elected officials, appointees, government employees, et cetera having been convicted of corruption.
Michelle Obama worked for Mayor Daley’s political machine as did Valerie Jarrett and so many other Obamanistas.
Obama, as an amateur, is a political warrior but does not have the skillset to be the chief executive.
Walter Anderson of the New School, in his book, The Confidence Course, said that “He [Obama] has the same vulnerability that many legislators have; he’s skillful at getting elected, but he’s often lost when it comes to governing and inspiring others. In my view it’s a mistake to compare Obama to Jimmy Carter, as some do. Carter was a micromanager in all things. Obama is anything but.”
Travis Smiley, African-American TV host said that with Obama, he has learned that campaigning and governing are two different things with Obama’s governing being seriously off course.
Obama likes to make himself appear to be an amateur in the sense that he is above the fray. He won’t deconstruct polling data or do robo-calls because they are beneath him and he lets others do it for him.
Valerie Jarrett best expressed Obama’s view of himself in relation to the Washington he disdains when she said that Obama is “…just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”
Obama bungled last year’s deliberations on deficit reduction partly because he is detached and does disdain the Washington he is supposed to be leading. The Economist (online magazine) said about Obama’s detachment from the political battle that it “should not have been surprising, given his lamentable failure a year ago to endorse the effective and brave conclusions of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission that he personally appointed.”
Klein goes on to bring up other examples of superiority and amateurism such as overruling Rahm Emanuel and signing the order to close GITMO within one year. Then there was the scheme to send KSM to NYC to be tried. Even Democratic strategist James Carville lambasted Obama for “political stupidity” in his response to the disastrous BP oil spill.
Obama’s failure to learn from mistakes is yet another example of amateurism. Remember the “shovel-ready” projects of the stimulus? Then there was his planned address to the joint session of Congress to lay out his plan for job creation which was to take place when the House was not in session. He then had to pick another date which fell on the NFL season opener.
His worst political error was the overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system instead of concentrating on the economy. Emanuel argued for a smaller bill that could win Republican support such as health coverage for children and young adults. Obama chose to ram through a larger, less popular bill. He never sold it to the American people. To some, this was a sign of inexperience.
At the beginning of 2012, Obama stepped in it again and ordered religious-affiliated institutions to pay for insurance that covered birth control riling up the liberal and conservative Catholic hierarchy. Chris Matthews of Hardball called it “frightening” and Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne said Obama had “utterly botched” the issue. Both are ardent Obama supporters.
Obama then came up with a remedy that required the Catholics to pay either directly (because they are self-insured) or indirectly through third party insurers – which was not a remedy at all.
Presidential historian, Fred I. Greenstein, said that Obama went into the phone booth as Superman and came out as Clark Kent.
James Baker, former chief of staff to Reagan, said that they both came into office with “startingly similar” circumstances but Reagan focused on economy with laser-like intensity while Obama did not even draft his own stimulus package. Baker said Obama never had the responsibility for running anything – he’s a policy wonk – who did not have an understanding of the lines of authority as a community organizer.
Obama campaigned against earmarks and then approved the Pelosi-Reid spending bill with $8 billion in earmarks. They told him it was the only way to pass the stimulus. They rolled him.
Obama has not grown in the job – he has the wrong temperament. Obama is described as an introvert who rarely reaches out to groups of advisers according to The Times‘ Peter Baker.
One former State Department official told Klein, “While I was in the room, he’d get phone calls from heads of state, and more than once I heard him say, ‘I can’t believe I’ve got to meet with all these congressmen from Podunk city to get my bills passed.’ and when the meeting with him was over, it was over – no lingering, no schmoozing on the way out. There was no clinging to personal relationship like with Bill Clinton.”
Obama believes he was chosen to push his clumsy and unpopular far-left policies-universal healthcare, Wall Street bailouts, cap and trade, green jobs, and renewable energy – at the expense of rational policies aimed at putting America back to work.
A member of the White House press corps said that “If it wasn’t for Valerie Jarrett or VJ, there’d be no Barack Obama to complain about.” VJ is ground zero for the Obama operation and Obama has admitted that he runs every decision by her. She dines with the Obamas and goes on vacation with them.
VJ is known for giving the cold shoulder instead of welcoming people with open arms according to Democrat donors, businessmen, congressmen, and African-Americans.
One donor told WaPo that she is a liability and many in the White House agree but are afraid to say it.
When VJ considered going for a senate seat, Michelle told her that she needed her in the White House and so did Barack. She is a trusted watchdog – no one gets past her, not even Oprah or Caroline Kennedy who have beens shut out of the White House because VJ thinks they will present competing agendas to Barack’s.
VJ is the voice of African-Americans in Obama’s eyes, having come from the top rung of African-American society and status. Obama is in awe of her status. She boasts an impressive pedigree and was the “public black face” of the Daley administration. She introduced Obama to affluent African-American and Jewish communities in Chicago, but it’s this very elitism and condescension which cannot help Obama reach his many constituencies.
VJ had limited contact with African-American working-class people and, according to a Chicagoan who worked with her, the closest she came to the South Side was when she drove through in her Mercedes convertible with the top down.
She is known for having impeccable social credentials but had a spotty record before she went to Washington. One real estate developer who worked with her said she served her master, Richard Daley, and worked as his functionary. Her advice was damaging to other people and ended up hurting her standing with the Mayor.
After working with the Mayor, she became the CEO of Habitat Executive Services and managed a federally subsidized housing complex that was seized by the government because it was a crime-infested slum.
She failed upward until she became the Obama’s closest confidant. Washington insiders say, “She doesn’t have the stuff to be a principal adviser to the president of the United States.”
“She has no international experience and no background in economics or fiscal policy,” said Michael Lavin, retired vice chairman of the global accounting firm KPMG and a force in Chicago. “These were people in previous Democratic administrations who were real heavyweights. But Valerie is no (former Secretary of State) Cyrus Vance.”
“I was at a dinner where Valerie sat at our table for ten minutes, and I wasn’t particularly impressed,” said one major Obama donor. “She didn’t say anything interesting. I expected her to be smarter. She ain’t no Karl Rove. Karl Rove would eat her for breakfast.”