Howard Chandler Christy Depicts The Founders Signing The U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States" (1940)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Study: Blood Feud - The Clintons Vs. The Obamas Part V

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Part V: Barack Obama and Final Thoughts

        Among the actors in Ed Klein's Blood Feud, Barack Obama comes across as the coldest. As was the case with Klein's previous book The Amateur, Obama - as rendered by the sources - is presented with no redeeming qualities. Why is this so? Does it reflect the author's bias? If it does, one has to consider Klein's treatment of the other characters.

     Klein is no fan of the Clintons. Their support of Obama in both elections, particularly in 2012, displayed a willingness to put their own political future ahead of speaking out for the kind of leadership they believe America needs. As in the case of Benghazi, they bristled at the lie the president wanted Hillary to tell the American people about what had caused the attack - but they caved in.

     Time and again, before and since the Obama presidency, the Clintons have put political expediency before doing the right thing. Honesty has never been a hallmark of Bill and Hillary's reputation. In spite of this, Klein finds positive things to write about them. 

      There are reports throughout the book of Bill Clinton lecturing Obama directly (and through surrogates) about how he must work sincerely with Republicans to get positive legislation passed. Bill believes Obama's rigidity in refusing to find common ground with the Republican House is the true cause of gridlock in Washington. Bill's willingness to negotiate across the aisle is an admirable trait in a leader. 

    Klein's account gives credit to Hillary's efficient management of the state department even though her term was without major international accomplishments. Her main criticism of Obama is that his hand is not on the "tiller", in other words, all departments are allowed to run their own fiefdoms into the ground - from the justice department right down to the VA. (The prime exception is the state department - foreign policy is run directly by Obama and Jarrett.)  

   Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett - domineering and uncompromising as they are - at least have to be admired for making bold decisions. It was they who urged Obama to stand firm in the fight for Obamacare in 2010 and they who have struggled to keep his foreign policy on a predictable and consistent course. There is a scene towards the latter portion of the book when Valerie Jarrett storms into the Oval Office and verbally rips the president over his unscripted "red line" comment to the press about what he would do in the event chemical weapons were used in Syria. She scolded, "You weren't elected to be a war president!" Both Michelle and Valerie believe Barack to be a waffler when it comes to making decisions. He relies on them to keep him "focused."

   Although Ed Klein's sources shed light on some positive traits among the Clintons, Michelle Obama, and Valerie Jarrett, they are uniformly negative on Barack Obama. Among the reports in Blood Feud, the president is variously aloof, asleep at the helm, a waffler at decision-making, cunning, cynical, habitually dishonest, uncompromising, and manifestly arrogant.

   On the last point, the author compares Barack Obama to Woodrow Wilson, another president with a grim messianic self-image. When re-elected to a second term in 1916, President Wilson was contacted by the DNC chairman with recommendations for bureaucratic appointments. He flatly dismissed the request by telling the chairman, "It must be understood that I owe you nothing." Wilson went on to say that God ordained him to be president and that he owes no one else any favors. Klein traces Obama's belief in God's anointing of him to the presidency to a dinner Barack had with Father Pfleger in 2005. In that meeting, Obama told Pfleger God has revealed to him the presidency in his future.

Final Thoughts

   As I've stated before, books on current affairs are gossipy and rely heavily on anonymous sources. Repeated use of unnamed sources can lead the reader to question the reliability of the claims made in the book; Klein convincing provides enough background and cross-referencing to overcome this.

  Regardless of the shortcomings inherit in the conduct of this type of work, Klein produced a necessary product that informs the public of goings-on between the people making the big decisions affecting our country. Gossip has to be grappled with in order to reach the kernels of the truth that will otherwise be locked away until written about in memoirs or declassified years later - after they've ceased to be of use to voters.

  On the characters and shenanigans treated in Blood Feud, I can only feel sad about the lives of people who thirst for power. Their lives - although rich in the comforts of material reality - seem void of joy and happiness. The Obamas and Valerie Jarrett seem to crave the high life of the White House but are constantly looking for fault in the people surrounding them. 

  Bill and Hillary Clinton live their lives for the pursuit of power and prestige for its own sake, sacrificing happiness and the gifts of marriage in the process. Bill Clinton in particular, has not known peace since he left the presidency in 2001. At the time, he told an interviewer he would have done that job until he "dropped dead." 

  Ed Klein tells us dropping dead in the race for a Hillary victory in 2016 is very much on Bill Clinton's mind. His heart disease is well advanced and Clinton confidants have told Klein that Bill has given Hillary detailed instructions on how to handle his death and funeral should it occur during her presidency.  He wants to be buried at Arlington and for the funeral to be a lavish state event.

  Blood Feud is an important book above all because it has one foot in the present state of the Obama presidency and another foot in the developing battles for 2016. These are developments voters need to be informed about as the next election approaches. With that in mind, Ed Klein has done us a vital service.

A Patriot

Visitor Comments

The dated links and statements below show interaction between the readers and makers of this blog to further the marketplace of ideas that enrich the education of patriots. Certain opinions made to posts are excerpted and re-posted here to highlight interesting discussions by fellow patriots.

Chris CJuly 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM [writing in response to Thursday, July 25, 2013: Moral Reflections on the Zimmerman Trial and on the Right to Self Defense]

I think it is absurd to draw a moral equivalence between innocent until proven guilty and guilty until proven innocent. It should be clear that one is far more protective and respectful of individual rights than the other. It's ironic that you attack the American system here, when it obviously takes more into account that someone could be falsely accused. Hence the burden of proof is on the prosecution rather than the defense.

DonaldJuly 28, 2013 at 8:27 AM[writing in response to Thursday, July 25, 2013: Moral Reflections on the Zimmerman Trial and on the Right to Self Defense]

It is interesting because the American Justice system goes from a innocent until proven guilty point of view. It definitely is no better in China where it is from a guilty until proven innocent point of view. Both are flawed because both lend themselves to being tainted with corruption as well as the norms of society.

Living the JourneyJuly 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM [writing in response to Thursday, July 25, 2013: Moral Reflections on the Zimmerman Trial and on the Right to Self Defense]

I found it interesting that Donald's perception of how America out to be was originally influenced by American fiction. This reminds me of when I arrived in China the first time expecting to see sword toting warriors running on the roofs of ancient temple like buildings. I was definitely surprised by reality.

July 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM [writing in response to Thursday, July 25, 2013: Moral Reflections on the Zimmerman Trial and on the Right to Self Defense]

Long before Zimmerman was pronounced innocent, people in my country were laughing at the thought of a white man (yes he is white Hispanic really) being found guilty of killing a black teenager. That will never happen they say. When things like that happen, it is the stuff of legend and stories and hollywood scripts. Look at some of the greatest literature found out there (to kill a mocking bird for example). It is the stand of the downtrodden black defendant who triumphs over the hard and brutal white man. This in itself is a tragedy as well because of the stereotypical vision people then have of the US as in the case of many of my country people as well as others from other countries in their view of America.

December 28, 2012 12:13 PM [writing in response to Friday, December 28, 2012: Beyond Gun Control: The Real Reason For Sandy Hook (A Moral Analysis)]

I do believe in evil but I also believe that Adam Lanza had mental issues that weren't being addressed. Also, he had been abandoned by his father whom he hadn't seen in over 2 years and who had a second family which Adam was not a part of. Adam had been assigned a school psychologist but somewhere along the line he dropped through the cracks and didn't get the care he needed that could possibly have prevented this tragedy. We'll never know...

Living the JourneyDecember 31, 2012 7:16 AM[writing in response to Friday, December 28, 2012: Beyond Gun Control: The Real Reason For Sandy Hook (A Moral Analysis)]

How can evil be defined in a pluralistic society? Is morality something decided by vote? And then following that question, how can evil be "treated"? Jason, I think you're trying to open a door that very few want to walk through because if we do, we are forced to make choices about things many would like to leave "relative".

December 31, 2012 7:36 AM[writing in response to Friday, December 28, 2012: Beyond Gun Control: The Real Reason For Sandy Hook (A Moral Analysis)]

I think we should stop offering up drug store psychology and focus on the one common denominator- GUNS. Psychotic people exist in all cultures, nations and religions. Look at the countries in the world with strict gun control laws; such as Japan, Australia, Canada to name a few, and they have far less violence involving guns. Are you blaming secularism? Science? The devil made him do it! Right? Simply, Adam Lanza and other mass murderers are mentally ill. So let's make it impossible for people like him to obtain guns of mass destruction.

Jason Aldous
December 31, 2012 10:56 AM[writing in response to Friday, December 28, 2012: Beyond Gun Control: The Real Reason For Sandy Hook (A Moral Analysis)]

Dear Living the Journey, We will always have tragedies so long as there is evil. Evil as such can not be cured through government policy. On the contrary, its work can only be limited through choices made by individuals.

Dear Anonymous, I do blame secular reasoning for making it difficult for us to address the problem. If you take good and evil out of your worldview, morally you can not say there is anything wrong with what Adam Lanza did. You may be horrified at what he did, but you can not judge it against any standards, if good and evil are removed as avenues of inquiry.

Jason AldousDecember 27, 2012 6:39 PM [writing in response to Wednesday, December 26, 2012: Gun Control Part 3: The Second Amendment (A Legal Analysis)]

Let's see, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Even if the wording implies that the populace must be armed when called up for militia service, it says "the right of the people shall not be infringed." Since the amendment states that bearing arms is a "right" and "not to be infringed" it is an open and shut case for anyone taking an objective reading of it. "Rights" are entitlements. Privileges can be taken away, but not rights. It matters not if this right was given with militia service in mind. Good work, Mr. Emma.

AnonymousDecember 17, 2012 3:46 PM [writing in response to Monday, December 17, 2012, Gun Control Part 2: Would Society Be Better Off If All Guns Were Made Illegal? (A Reasonable Treatment)]

On my part, I think that all guns should definitely be regulated and strictly controlled. Its interesting that almost all Americans point to the 2nd amendment. From my point of view, this 2nd Amendment was written in a time when there was 'trust' among people and their government. Today this trust has been flushed down the drain

AnonymousDecember 17, 2012 5:26 PM [writing in response to Monday, December 17, 2012, Gun Control Part 2: Would Society Be Better Off If All Guns Were Made Illegal? (A Reasonable Treatment)]

In 1959, 60% of the American public favored a ban on handguns. Today, the majority of the American people don't even support a ban on assault rifles. Why? Because since 1959, the argument that tighter gun control would reduce crime has been effectively refuted in the mind of the public. The change in attitude toward gun control is primarily due to fear of crime rather than distrust of government.

GeoDecember 8, 2012 2:11 PM [writing in response to Friday, December 7, 2012, Pearl Harbor: Was It Japan's Fault, or America's? (Conspiracy Theory vs. History)]

FDR campainged on keeping the US out of the war but when he wanted to get into the war he needed an excuse. He may very well have been tempted to withhold information from his top commanders at Pearl Harbor. They certainly suspected he did.

GeoDecember 8, 2012 at 1:28 PM[writing in response to Saturday, December 1, 2012, Voting In A Bad Economy, Recession Myths: De-Constructing Historical Falsification]

Can't argue with your observations, Jason, but even with the limited space no mention of the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs in any discussion of Hoover/Great Depression/FDR is to ignore an elephant in the room.

Chris CDecember 7, 2012 at 4:40 PM[writing in response to Tuesday, November 27, 2012, The Next Great American President: Who We Need To Look For In 2016]

One qualm: I don't think Suez can be regarded as a long-term success for Eisenhower. It bought us no credibility with the developing world and managed to alienate important Allies. As a result, we got no real help from Britain in Vietnam and plenty of hostility from France in the 1960's. France's desire to oppose or sabotage us on key issues has continued to this day.