Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Amateur by Edward Klein

The Amateur by Edward Klein gets it’s name from a rant Bill Clinton went on when trying to convince Hillary to challenge Obama for the 2012 nomination. After listing one area after another in which the current president had failed, “he bit his lower lip and scanned the faces in the room. He was plainly gratified to see that his audience was spell bound. 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!’”

This book is a fast-paced, behind-the-scenes look into the Obama presidency. He interviews over 200 people, many of whom speak on the record. The details and style of the book make you feel as if you are a fly on the wall. I had a very hard time putting this book down!

Klein divides his book into five parts. 

The first part deals with Obama’s history coming up through Chicago. Since he made little impact in his work as a community organizer or part-time lecturer, those who knew him concluded that he was always looking for the next rung on the ladder and had little time for his present situation. He made some powerful friends and learned all about the art of politicking from this Chicago bunch. Many of them now complain of his over-sized ego and narcissism. He has left many of them in the dust as he moved on to bigger and better things. One that he left behind was his pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright. When asked if he converted Obama from Islam to Christianity, he replied, “It’s hard to tell. I think I convinced him that it was okay for him to make a choice in terms of who he believed Jesus is.” So much for “He’s a Christian, not a Muslim.”

The second part is called, “Amateur Hour at the White House.” One of Obama’s first acts as president was to call together a cabal of fawning historians to ask them how to secure his place in history as a dynamic and transformative president. Klein states, “It was by any measure, a breathtaking display of narcissistic grandiosity from a man whose entire political curriculum vitae consisted of seven undistinguished years in the Illinois Senate, two mostly absent years in the United States Senate, and five months and ten days in the White House. Unintentionally, Obama revealed the characteristics that made him totally unsuited for the presidency and that would doom him to failure: his extreme haughtiness and excessive pride; his ideological bent as a far-left corporatist; and his astounding amateurism.” 

All of these traits can be traced back to the real power behind Obama, Valerie Jarrett. She is the one pulling the strings and making the decisions that are supposed to be the president's. Obama rarely goes against her far-left judgment and she is responsible for the many bungled opportunities. She and Michelle are extremely jealous of anyone else who would seek to influence Obama and keep him highly isolated from even his Chief of Staff and Cabinet members. They run the show. This part of the book is the most fascinating and scary. We did NOT elect these women, and yet they pull the strings.

The third part of the book details the snubs and insulting behavior by Obama towards his supposed friends. It includes a chapter on the Michelle v. Oprah falling out (once again over jealousy of Oprah’s growing influence on Barack). His snubbing of the Kennedy family, his disrespect for the Jewish Community vis-a-vis his treatment of Israel, and his failure to address issues that disproportionately affect black, like the high unemployment. I believe he has taken them all for granted knowing none will vote Republican, and he is right.

Part four deals with his chaotic foreign policy. Apparently this is the area he takes the most ownership in. Who knew? He writes his own policy papers rather than the traditional method of delegating that to lower levels. He “makes the call of most every subject and with a degree of personal intensity.” The “Obama Doctrine” was hatched in the post-cold war leftism that sought to diminish America’s power in the world. He’s heavily influenced by Samantha Power who advocates a policy of mea culpa and humanitarian action. Yet this leads to a convoluted and random foreign policy of appeasing our enemies and capriciously acting when a “humanitarian” crisis presents itself. Of course, humans suffer all over the world for various reasons. Deciding when to become involved (i.e. “leading from behind” in Libya and ignoring Syria) has no apparent rational basis, but is emotionally driven. 

Part five is the most depressing as Klein makes the case for “A One-Term Proposition”. He reiterates Obama’s failure to grow the economy because he followed FDR and Ted Kennedy’s far-left ideologies, and the fact that he sunk deep into the mud as his reelection neared. He states, “To win reelection in 2012, Barack Obama must divert the country’s attention from his record of incompetence and amateurism.” Apparently he did just that.

I thought I would not want to read this book, knowing Obama would be reelected, but it kept me riveted and showed me even more forcefully that Obama is where he is because God is going to use his presidency to further His plan. Unfortunately, I believe God’s plan is to diminish America as “the last, best hope” so that ultimately people will look to Him when the world rips apart at the seams. Unknowingly, Obama appears to be doing the Lord’s work.

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