The Amateur is more about the man—his hubris, his arrogance, his naiveté—than it is about his ideology because the author, a member of the insider Council on Foreign Relations, an influential group that promotes the diminishing of our country’s constitutional structure and the ceding of U.S. sovereignty to a transnational global government such as the United Nations, no doubt shares that ideology.
Klein is a certified member of the establishment elite, having graduated from Columbia University with two degrees and having been a foreign affairs editor at Newsweek magazine and a former editor of the New York Times Magazine. It was the latter position that allowed him the opportunity to interview nearly 200 individuals who are acquainted, some of them intimately, with the current White House occupant while protecting Klein and his book from attack by the Obama “Kool-Aid drinkers” as he calls the mindless, witless journalists and historians who have supported Obama from the beginning.
Klein takes his reader into a private, off-the-record dinner meeting at the White House early in the Obama administration, attended by nine liberal historians, each of whom supported the new President and were celebrating his victory. During that dinner the President spelled out his expectations for his new administration. Obama, noted Klein,
intended to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table and create a permanent peace in the Middle East.
He would open a constructive dialogue with America’s enemies in Iran and North Korea and, through his powers of persuasion, help them see the error of their ways.
When several of the historians brought up the difficulties that Lyndon Johnson had faced trying to wage a foreign war while implementing an ambitious domestic agenda, Obama grew testy. He knew better. He could prevail by the force of his personality. He could solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, put millions of people back to work, redistribute wealth, withdraw from Iraq, and reconcile the United States to a less dominant role in the world.
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.
The next good service performed by Klein is answering the question: Who is Valerie Jarrett? Describing her as Obama’s “eminence grise”—French for “gray eminence having vital influence”—he says that Jarrett “is ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple’s first friend and consigliere.” She is equivalent, then, to Tom Hagen as Vito Corleone’s consigliere in The Godfather.
The analogy to the mafia boss and his henchmen is appropriate, if unintended by Klein, for Jarrett is a true-blue Chicago politician, having worked for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and then as Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard Daley. Her track record is about as one would expect, as Klein pointed out in an article for the Daily Caller:
Despite her impeccable social credentials, Jarrett’s record before she went to Washington was spotty at best. After Mayor Daley made her commissioner of planning, she became embroiled in a massive screw-up in the city’s public housing revitalization plan, which cost Chicago millions of dollars in overruns. Daley fired her without explanation.
After she left city hall, Jarrett became CEO of Habitat Executive Services, where she earned $300,000 in salary and $550,000 in deferred compensation. She managed a federally subsidized housing complex that was seized by the government after inspectors found crime-infested slum conditions and widespread blight.
Obama became acquainted with Jarrett while in Chicago. While working for Daley, Jarrett hired Michelle Robinson away from a local private law firm to serve in the Mayor’s office. After meeting with Michelle and her fiancé, Barack Obama, Jarrett offered her the position immediately.
Jarrett previews all of Obama’s decisions, and she has a free pass to attend every meeting held at the White House. Writes Klein:
One day she’ll show up at a National Security Council meeting; the next day she’ll sit in on a briefing on the federal budget. When Oval Office meetings break up, Jarrett is often the one who stays behind to talk privately with the president.
At 6:30 on many evenings, Jarrett can be seen slipping upstairs to the Family Quarters, where she dines with the Obamas….
She is the only member of the White House staff who goes on vacations with the Obamas.
She also determines who’s in and who’s out. When Oprah Winfrey got too close to Obama for Jarrett’s comfort she torpedoed the relationship with customary Chicago grace: She turned Michelle against Oprah:
Oprah was too close to the president…. Oprah was acting like she was the first lady…. Oprah didn’t know her place…. Oprah was a bad influence….
Valerie advised Michelle to “distance herself” from Oprah and cut her out of the White House inner circle.
When Oprah went to visit the White House to talk with Michelle about an interview on her TV show, Oprah had to pay for her own fare from the airport, had to wait at the security gate to be cleared, and then wait again after being shown to the Yellow Oval Room.
And again, when Oprah invited Michelle to talk about her plan to fight childhood obesity, she was given the cold shoulder. The White House responded: “That wouldn’t fit into the First Lady’s plans,” according to one of Klein’s sources. When Oprah was turned down she raged: “Michelle hates fat people and doesn’t want me waddling around the White House.” Michelle made certain that the rift was permanent by telling her staff:
Oprah, with her yo-yo dieting and huge girth, is a terrible role model. Kids will look at Oprah, who’s rich and famous and huge, and figure it’s okay to be fat.
Klein’s book is similarly revealing when it comes to the bribe offered Rev. Jeremiah Wright to keep his mouth shut during the President’s campaign in 2008, and the list goes on.
James Delingpole, a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and author of his own book, Welcome to Obamaland, said that Klein’s book “illustrate[s] just how ideological, arrogant and hapless Obama and his administration really are. [It is] an outstanding demolition job on the most overrated president of our time.”
This reviewer couldn’t have said it better.