Book Review: The Amateur – by Edward Klein

Obama supporters will not like this book. Obama enemies will salivate over it. Klein is ripping Obama to shreds in this book. A business associate recommended that I read it. He called it “unbelievable.”

The entire book is solely aimed at trashing Obama. There are passages that are so shocking that you could easily call it unbelievable. But there is a lot of hype without substance, that really has nothing to do with Obama, but is taken out of context. Take this, for instance, where he pulls an episode from Obama’s Illinois Senate time during a testimony where Obama was not even present:

An Illinois nurse named Jill Stanek testified before the Health and Human Services Committee that she had discovered that babies were being aborted alive and allowed to die in soiled utility rooms. One baby was accidentally thrown in the trash. Though Obama never showed up at the committee hearings, he voted against the bill – not once, but twice.

Somehow Klein makes the point that Obama voted against some bill, related to abortions in the Illinois Senate, ten years ago, where he was not present at the committee. Yet the gruesome image of a dying fetus in the trash in Chicago makes Obama an amateur as a president.

The book is basically a constant regurgitation of the same Obama attributes and traits that Klein concludes make him an amateur. Those are, to the best of my ability to remember and list:

  1. Obama is an introvert. He does not really like to schmooze and do small talk. He does not call congressmen to lobby for his initiatives.
  2. Obama is isolated and surrounded by a very small circle of liberal dilettantes, most notably Valerie Jarrett, who have no business being in the White House advising the president of the United States.
  3. Michelle Obama is a power-hungry, high-maintenance, autocrat with expensive tastes and a greed for power.
  4. Obama abandoned his supporters and friends after he was elected. Even high-profile supporters like Oprah Winfrey got snubbed over and over again.
  5. Obama is a narcissist who is in way over his head, who wants to be a transformational president.
  6. Obama is the most liberal president in the nation’s history.

Even if some of those assertions are correct, so what? Obama probably IS the most liberal president in history – not that I am an expert on presidential history, but neither is Klein. He applies the label “liberal” as if it were a crime to be liberal. Yes, I can see how Obama is an introvert. I am one too. I don’t schmooze after events. I attend, I do my thing, and when it’s over, I forget the hors d’oeuvres and drinks and I get the hell out there – just like Obama apparently does. That makes him an amateur? Can’t be that bad that he got himself elected president of the United States being that anti-social.

There was a meeting of historians that Klein keeps waxing about. At the end, he makes this statement:

If the meeting proved anything, it was that Barack Obama didn’t have the faintest idea 1) who he was; 2) why he had been elected president; and 3) how to be commander in chief and chief executive of the United States of America.

Really? Was Klein at that meeting? No. Was Klein in Obama’s head and read his mind so he’d know these things? No.

As I read more and more supposed conclusions that Klein drew about Obama from meetings and events where he was not present, but supposedly “somebody” told him about afterwards, where that “somebody” usually was not even identified, I realized that Klein really didn’t know what he was writing about. The entire book slams Obama, but very seldom substantiates its claims and lists real sources.

Early in the book Klein recalls a meeting between Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, along with “many other people” none of which are identified. Klein was not at the meeting, but he quotes what Bill and Hillary are saying as if he had a video recording. Here is the last paragraph of that chapter:

He bit his lower lip and scanned the faces in the room. he was plainly gratified to see that his audience was spellbound. They were waiting for the politician par excellence to deliver his final judgment on the forty-fourth president of the United States. “Barack Obama,” said Bill Clinton, “is an amateur!”

When I read this book that is full of such vivid descriptions that read like a novel, you automatically assume that the author knows what his is talking about. How does he know Bill Clinton bit his lower lip as the scanned the faces in the room? Which faces? Remember, Klein was not there. Was there even a meeting?

The New York Post reported that the book claims that Bill Clinton sharply criticized President Obama and urged Hillary Clinton to seek the Oval Office “during a gathering in the ex-president’s home office in Chappaqua last August that included longtime friends.” Klein supposedly based the claim on interviews with two anonymous friends of the Clintons who attended the gathering. Spokesmen for both Clintons quickly shot down the report, with Bill Clinton’s spokesman calling it the “totally false” ravings of “a known liar.”

So here Klein is not only putting words into Hillary and Bill’s mouths, he is concocting gestures they supposedly made while making statements, all based on recollections of friends of the Clintons who were in the room that are not even named. Then Clinton claims the statements are false and ravings of a known liar.

The entire book is full of stuff like this. Klein claims his knowledge is based on nearly 200 interviews. The book has been dismissed by presidential spokesperson Eric Schultz, who told the Washington Examiner:

Ed Klein has a proven history of reckless fabrication in order to sell books. Nobody in their right mind would believe the nonsense in this one.

Well, he got me. I paid $9.99 for this book on Amazon. The book swayed me against Obama, until I realized I was drinking somebody else’s tainted Kool-Aid. As I started trying to research his claims, I never got anywhere but “lies.”

I am sure Rush and Hannity are licking it up, though, and Klein got my money.

Rating: **

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