It would be unfair to call this hatchet job unfair, because author Klein's contempt
for the President is so blatant that a reader immediately knows what to expect.
The title of the book's introduction is "The Dark Side of Obama." And his chapter
titles include "Hollow at the Core", "Drinking The Obama Kool-Aid", "Bungler-in-
Chief", "Out to Lunch", "In Search of the Real Obama", "The Wrath of Michelle",
and "The Low Road".
Klein precedes each chapter with a quotation that emphasizes some perceived
negative Obama characteristic. Example: "The true fanatic is a theocrat,
someone who sees himself as acting on behalf of some super-personal force: the
Race, the Party, History, the Proletariat, the Poor, and so on. These absolve him
from evil, hence he may safely do anything in their service."
One more bit of preamble: Yes -- as he repeatedly says in interviews -- Klein has
had 200 interviews re Obama, of which sources he names most. An experienced
journalist and writer, including serving as editor-in-chief of the New York Times
Magazine, Klein makes it clear when he is quoting a source, but it is not always
as clear whether his extrapolation of the point made derives from the quotation
or from his own thoughts. Yet he is not shy about saying what he thinks, as in the
following excerpt from his Michelle-focused chapter:
"Whereas the Clintons were open and aboveboard about their co-presidency -- boasting
that Hillary was an equal partner with Bill -- the Obamas have been careful to hide the
fact that Michelle is the president's most important political advisor and the one he listens
to above all others before he makes major decisions.
"Their stealth co-presidency has obscured a vital fact -- namely, that the Obamas share a
sense of entitlement, an attitude that they know best, a contempt for the political process,
and a callow understanding of the way the world works. Their common worldview drives
the president's agenda and has brought the United States ever closer to a European-style
socialist welfare state."
Obama critics will love the way Klein uses his anti-Obama mindset to shape
his reporting about specific issues and debates re everything from healthcare
to Jews and Israel, from dealing with Caroline Kennedy to dealing with Rev.
Jeremiah Wright, from bowing from the waist to the King of Saudi Arabia to
Obama's relationships with the media.
Obama fans will have no trouble identifying the writer's bias. For example,
although I agree with the substance of most of the author's critiques, I cringe
each time Klein charges the president with arrogance and ingratitude because he
doesn't return calls or otherwise reach out to financial contributors. Isn't it a good
thing for an elected official not to grant special consideration to contributors?
"The Amateur" is an easy read. Each chapter reads like an interesting gossip
column. With a more conventional font style and size and without its wide line-
spacing, the book would have been perhaps half as long as its 258 pages.
Near the end, Klein writes, "To win reelection in 2012, Barack Obama must
divert the country's attention from his record of incompetence and amateurism.
He doesn't want to remind people that America has lost its triple A credit rating
on his watch." Klein adds another half dozen pithy conclusions about which he
maintains "Republicans will have to remind" the American people. [Emphasis
Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.