WASHINGTON - Supposedly, this White House has just made a furious attempt to sink a book, "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President" by Ron Suskind, which came out Sept. 20. Jay Carney, the White House spinmeister, spoke ill of it. Numerous former White House staffers spoke ill of it. Carney said, "One passage seems to be lifted almost entirely from Wikipedia." Why would a respected writer want to do that? I suspect that the White House is going to be as effective in sinking Suskind as it has been in keeping President Barack Obama's polling numbers lofty.
The book tells us what we Obama critics have all been saying since early on. This president is the most incompetent and ideologically rigid president in American history. For my part, I began the refrain in July of 2009 with a comparison to Andrew Johnson, who at least had the excuse that he was drunk most of the time that he was in the White House. I continued it in August of 2010 when I complimented Jimmy Carter by saying he is no longer the worst president of modern times (a compliment that has as yet gone unacknowledged, I might add). And I have continued with monotonous regularity, hazarding the prospect of becoming a bore. Yet I suppose one is never a bore when one calls a liberal hansdoodle a hansdoodle even when he sits in the White House and has been called all manner of genius by our liberal elites. Remember when the "historian" Michael Beschloss said Obama's "IQ is off the charts"? There will come a day when Beschloss explains that he was saying Obama registered "off the charts" at the opposite end of genius.
How are all the liberal sages going to get out of their absurd exaggerations of Obama's modest gifts? Increasingly, they admit that Obama has chosen the wrong policies, but he speaks so beautifully -- using a teleprompter for the measliest address. Ah, but he is so forceful. So is his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, when he dons his tutu. But he is curious, adventurous, a sponge for new ideas. Actually, he has been a hopeless socialist, lost in Fabian abstractions.
Most of this becomes clear as you lug yourself through Suskind's book. Skip the first 150 pages. The author needs an editor. Settle with Suskind's discussion of the fights between the boys and the girls on the White House staff and Obama's utterly insensitive meeting with the aggrieved ladies at a dinner he held to placate them. One, a notably dumpy economist with all the sex appeal of Paul Krugman, complains, "I felt like a piece of meat." She has the catchphrase wrong, of course, unless she was wearing a bikini. Yet it tells you how confused the Democratic feminists have become, even the economists.
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