Is the president an affirmative-action failure or a brainwashed agent of Kenyan rage? In a wave of books aimed at driving a stake through Obama’s political heart, the man himself is strangely absent. Plus, the hysteria being sold has a short shelf life.
In the run-up to the 2012 election, the last one being held before the Mayan apocalypse penciled in for December 21 (there goes Christmas), publishers are rolling out the political artillery, aiming to capitalize on the dread afflicting the party out of power, its fear that another four years of the current White House resident will plunge us into doom, chaos, and fire, even without a Mayan apocalypse. Barack Obama looms in these horror tales like the undead giant in I Walked with a Zombie, leading America into eternal, marshy twilight, either because he’s been programmed to do so by his Marxist mentors or because he’s hapless—“in over his head” and taking us with him. It’s indicative that many of the authors villainizing Obama earned their varsity letters vilifying the Clintons. Conservatives had it sweet when there was Bill Clinton as hound dog in chief, Hillary in the on-deck circle, and daughter Chelsea as the dynastic heiress. The journalistic genre of “Billary” demonology seemed to come with its own special steak sauce, slathered over such polemical bodice rippers as Because He Could, by Dick Morris, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, and The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President, by Edward Klein. Having ridden his Hillary hobbyhorse to splinters, Klein, a Vanity Fair contributing editor and former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine, has since tilted his aluminum-foil lance at Obama with The Amateur, released by the right-wing landfill provider Regnery Publishing and blurbed by that distinguished wind sock, Donald Trump. As its title indicates, The Amateur falls into the clueless, duh, “in over his head” school of Obama interpretation, affirmative action gone horribly wrong. Dinesh D’Souza’s The Roots of Obama’s Rage falls into the mind-programmed camp, its twist being that the brain massaging began long before Obama got to Chicago and fell into the clutches of Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. D’Souza proposes that Obama’s father—a “philandering, inebriated African socialist”—filled his young son’s cranial cavern with malevolent smoke and sent him on an anti-colonialist mission that explains Obama’s machete path from obscurity to the Oval Office, his quest: to cripple America as a superpower forevermore (an argument D’Souza regurgitates this month in his latest book, Obama’s America: Why We Can’t Afford Four More Years of Barack Obama). Although The Amateur and The Roots of Obama’s Rage both reached the best-seller list, the quality of the hackwork therein was quite humdrum and unsensational, I thought, lacking that zesty froth of dementia that the more crackpot Clinton exposés possessed. Is it because it’s hard to get a hate-on for somebody new, or is there something else at play? The other Obama scare books also fall short in the shudder department.