A Plague On All Their Houses

Ed Klein, author of The Amateur, an unflattering account of Barack Obama’s presidency, has a new book coming out. It promises to be fun. If you thought the Hatfields and McCoys didn’t like each other, just wait until you read about the Clintons and the Obamas. The New York Post has an excerpt:


“I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived,” Bill Clinton said to friends on one occasion, adding he would never forgive Obama for suggesting he was a racist during the 2008 campaign.

Hey, Bill, welcome to the club.

On most evenings, Michelle Obama and her trusted adviser, Valerie Jarrett, met in a quiet corner of the White House residence. They’d usually open a bottle of Chardonnay, catch up on news about Sasha and Malia, and gossip about people who gave them heartburn.

Their favorite bête noire was Hillary Clinton, whom they nicknamed “Hildebeest,” after the menacing and shaggy-maned gnu that roams the Serengeti.

To be fair, they probably don’t dislike Hillary any more than the rest of us do.

“I’ve had two successors since I left the White House — Bush and Obama — and I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama. I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever,” Clinton said.

“I really can’t stand the way Obama ­always seems to be hectoring when he talks to me,” Clinton added….

Yeah, that bugs me, too.

During the golf game, Clinton didn’t waste any time reminding Obama that as president he had presided over eight years of prosperity, while Obama had been unable to dig the country out of the longest financial ­doldrums since the Great Depression.

Some unconventional reporter might make that point one of these days.

“Bill got into it right away,” said a Clinton family friend. “He told Obama, ‘Hillary and I are gearing up for a run in 2016.’ He said Hillary would be ‘the most qualified, most experienced candidate, perhaps in history.’ His reference to Hillary’s experience made Obama wince, since it was clearly a shot at his lack of experience when he ran for president.

“And so Bill continued to talk about Hillary’s qualifications . . . and the coming campaign in 2016. But Barack didn’t bite. He changed the subject several times. Then suddenly, Barack said something that took Bill by complete surprise. He said, ‘You know, Michelle would make a great presidential candidate, too.’”

I’m on Barry’s side on this one. The idea that eight years as First Lady qualifies Hillary to be president is laughable, and yet some take it seriously. That, along with her years in the Senate, which no one recalls–not even Hillary, who barely mentions them in her campaign book–and her four years as Secretary of State, which no one remembers for anything except Benghazi. If Hillary, then why not Michelle? To be fair, of course, there is one difference: Hillary managed to pass the bar examination.

[O]n March 1, 2013 — the very day that the $85 billion in budget cuts known as the “sequester” went into effect — the Clintons slipped unnoticed into the White House and sat down for dinner with the Obamas in the Residence. …

After the obligatory greetings and small talk about family, Obama asked Bill what he thought about the sequester: Would it turn out to be a political plus for him? Bill went into a long — and boring — lecture about the issue.

You gotta love Bill, whatever you may think of him on a broader moral or philosophical level. Obama should have been smart enough to listen to Clinton’s lecture, but of course he wasn’t.

Bill then moved the conversation to Obama’s vaunted 2012 campaign ­organization. He told Obama that it would be a good idea to fold the organization, along with all its digital and social-media bells and whistles, into the Democratic National Committee.

Obama’s only response was a disparaging smile.

“You have to use your organization to aid the candidate in 2016,” Bill pressed Obama.

“Really?” Obama replied in a tone of undisguised sarcasm.

This is pure gold. The press is always talking about divisions among Republicans, but those splits–cultural differences masquerading as tactical disagreements among those who agree on virtually every issue–are nothing compared to the antagonisms among Democrats, who hate each other. Understandably.

As Bill Clinton went on about his managerial experience, Obama began playing with his Blackberry under the table, making it plain that he wasn’t paying attention to anything Clinton had to say.

That is classic passive-aggressive behavior, an Obama specialty. But what is really funny is that Obama still uses a Blackberry. Way to stay on the cutting edge, Barry!

After the dinner, and once the Clintons had been ushered out of the family quarters, Obama shook his head and said, “That’s why I never invite that guy over.”

This is revealing. Bill Clinton was a mostly-successful president. Sure, you can say he was just along for the ride: he benefited from the era of explosive innovation that began with the internet. While he gave speeches advocating school uniforms, and a Republican Congress blocked him from raising taxes and implementing Hillarycare or anything similar, the economy boomed.

Still, in any sane world, an unsuccessful president–Barack Obama–would seek counsel from a successful one. As Clinton said, George Bush was glad to get his advice, and rightfully so. One of Obama’s many problems is that he is uncomfortable around first-rate people. He is a second- or third-rate intellect–no shame in that–but he is too defensive to get help from those who know more than he does, like Bill Clinton or George Bush. Among many others. So we have mediocrities like Joe Biden, John Kerry, Valerie Jarrett and Chuck Hagel making policy.

Lately, Bill Clinton has become convinced that Obama won’t endorse Hillary in 2016. During a gathering at Whitehaven, guests overheard Bill talking to his daughter Chelsea about whether the president would back Joe Biden.

“Recently, I’ve been hearing a different scenario from state committeemen,” Clinton said. “They say he’s looking for a candidate who’s just like him. Someone relatively unknown. Someone with a fresh face.

“He’s convinced himself he’s been a brilliant president, and wants to clone himself — to find his Mini-Me.”


“He’s hunting for someone to succeed him, and he believes the American people don’t want to vote for someone who’s been around for a long time. He thinks that your mother and I are what he calls ‘so 20th century.’ He’s looking for ­another Barack Obama.”

God help us. But if we really want a president who is a “fresh face” and has no discernible qualifications for the office, like Barack Obama, how about Chelsea Clinton? Much like an arranged marriage between monarchs in early modern Europe, a Barry/Michelle endorsement of Chelsea in 2016 could bring an end to a longstanding political feud. And, happily, Chelsea, born in February 1980, will be eligible for the presidency for the first time in 2016. What are the Clintons and Obamas waiting for?

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