FLORIDA, July 17, 2012 — Election season has now officially entered the gutter, and in record breaking time, no doubt.
With President Obama and his campaign claiming that Mitt Romney is a everything short of Pol Pot’s long lost brother, and who knows how long it will last until someone makes that claim, things seem to have nowhere to go but up.
Taking this into account, can one seriously claim that the President is an amateur? Surely it must be ridiculous to even imagine such a thing. Only one who is exceedingly well trained in the art of politics can sling mud so deftly as Obama 2012 does, right?
Wrong; at least according to Edward Klein, that is.
A few months back, the noted journalist’s new book, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, hit the shelves. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller, generating more than a bit of dialogue about the Obama Administration’s past, present, and future.
Klein spoke to me about what he wrote, and why he holds Obama’s presidency in such low regard.
Joseph F. Cotto: In The Amateur, you describe President Obama’s temperament as falling far short of agreeable. How would you say that this has impacted his capabilities as an administrator?
Edward Klein: Barack Obama is temperamentally unsuited to be president because he does not have the executive skills to be a leader. Unlike, say, Lyndon Johnson, who didn’t deliver effective speeches and didn’t read well from the TelePromTer but knew how to manipulate the levers of power in Washington, Barack Obama gives good speeches, reads well from the TelePromTer and looks good in his neckties, but hasn’t a clue how to get things done with Congress. As a result, his administration has been stymied, not because of Republican opposition, but because of ineptness and amateurism in the Oval Office.
Cotto: One of your most sensational claims is that Bill Clinton dislikes the President a great deal. Why is there this level of animosity between the two presidents?
Klein: It is useful to think of the Clintons and the Obamas as the Hatfields and McCoys of the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton has never forgiven the Barack Obama for the way the Obama 2008 primary campaign team treated Clinton and his wife Hillary.
Bill Clinton felt that the nomination belonged to Hillary by virtue of political experience and the contributions the Clintons had made to the Democratic Party. He felt that the Obama campaign virtually “stole” the nomination away from the more deserving candidate, Hillary. Even more important, Bill has never forgiven the Obama campaign team for painting him as a “racist” as a result of remarks that Clinton made during South Carolina primary, when he compared Obama’s victory there to Jesse Jackson’s victory decades before.
Cotto: According to your sources, Obama caused a schism within the Kennedy family. How and why did this happen?
Klein: After Barack Obama won the White House, Caroline Kennedy expected that she would be rewarded for the support that she and other members of the Kennedy family gave to Obama. She sent a memo to the Obama transition team offering her services in the area of private funding for education—an area she had developed for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Caroline never received a reply to her memo. Her repeated efforts to meet one on one with Barack Obama were spurned by the White House, even when she offered to meet on Martha’s Vineyard, where she has a home and where the Obama’s vacation every summer. Once again, she was ignored.
For quite some time, Caroline washed her hands of Barack Obama, but under pressure from the Obama campaign, she has recently relented and agreed to campaign for Obama in New Hampshire. Her change of heart would seem to signal that the president, facing a tough reelection campaign, has asked for her forgiveness and promised to treat her better in the future.
Like all of us, Obama makes mistakes. However, Klein says that the President has failed to learn from his errors. This, in turn, bodes negatively for the economy. From Klein’s standpoint, how has the Obama Administration damaged America’s financial prospects?
The President’s foreign policy is something which Klein also criticizes. How, specifically, has it been counterproductive to American interests?
Last, though most certainly not least, Klein points to Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett as being major forces within the Obama White House. What are their roles, exactly? Why do they hold so much power?
Find out in part two.
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