The Amateur Barack Obama in the White House by Edwad Klein.
Every man is a moon and has a [dark] side which he turns toward nobody; you have to slip around behind if you want to see it.Mark Twain
This is a reporter’s book The Amateur. During the past year and a half, I have interviewed nearly two hundred people, both inside and outside the White House. Many of these people have known Barack Obama for more than twenty years—from his earliest days in Chicago. Some of them were positive about Obama, others were negative, but the stories they told me had a remarkable consistency.
Bound in dozens of four-inch-thick three-ring notebooks, my transcribed notes run for almost a thousand pages and tell the story of a man who is at bottom temperamentally unsuited to be the chief executive and commander in chief of the United States of America.
Here in these interviews we come face to face with something new in American politics—The Amateur—a president who is inept in the arts of management and governance, who doesn’t learn from his mistakes, and who therefore repeats policies that make our economy less robust and our nation less safe.
We discover a man who blames all his problems on those with whom he disagrees (“Washington,” “Republicans,” “the media”), who discards old friends and supporters when they are no longer useful (Democrats, African-Americans, Jews), and who is so thin-skinned that he constantly complains about what people say and write about him. We come to know a strange kind of politician, one who derives no joy from the cut and thrust of politics, but who clings to the narcissistic life of the presidency.
This portrait of Obama is radically at odds with the image of a centrist, pragmatic, post-partisan leader that his political handlers have tried to create. And it is a far cry from the Obama most Americans remember from four years ago.
Many of the people I interviewed, including Republicans who voted against him, wondered what had happened to that Obama—the young, articulate African-American senator who burst upon the political scene by presenting himself as a new kind of politician, a peacemaker, a mediator, and a conciliator who promised to heal the rift between red and blue America?
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