As I expected, the New York Post is pulling out all the stops to promote Edward Klein's new book, Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas -- here's one excerpt in the Post on the general outlines of the alleged feud between the two First Couples, and here's another excerpt on Benghazi. Meanwhile, over at Fox Nation, the first Post excerpt is the lead item. (As I said on Friday, wingnut bootlicker Mark Halperin was wasting his time chiding the mainstream press for ignoring Klein's books -- they get all the publicity they need from Murdoch.)
So what's in the excerpts? What Klein seems to have written is a bad pulp novel, disguised as non-fiction, made up exclusively of right-wing gossip, right-wing talking points, and right-wing punch lines. For instance, we "learn" from the main Post excerpt that a typical quiet evening at home for Michelle Obama is spent in the company of one special friend:
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.Yes, Valerie Jarrett -- History's Greatest Monster, the supposed Svengali whose alleged evil influence on the president is the subject of sinister speculation on the right. Valerie Jarrett said "we" (the "royal 'we'"!) in reference to the White House! Valerie Jarrett's father-in-law was a big commie! The preident has a "strange dependence" on Valerie Jarrett!
And what do Michelle and this female Antichrist chat about on those quiet evenings?
Their favorite bete noire was Hillary Clinton, whom they nicknamed "Hildebeest," after the menacing and shaggy-maned gnu that roams the Serengeti.Right -- the Chicago Democrats just so happen to use an infantile slur that gained currency on right-wing message boards back in the 1990s. (The earliest example I can find is comment #21 in this 1996 Free Republic thread, though I'm sure the nasty nickname is older than that.) Do you really think the Obamas and Valerie Jarrett live in a world where that's a familiar expression? I don't -- but I think it's a very familiar expression in the world of Edward Klein.
Beyond that, what we "learn" from Klein is that the Clintons and Obamas are so consumed with mutual hate that they can't resist needling one another when they're together, and they're so indiscreet and impolitic that they follow-up with trash talk to (anonymous) friends -- who, in turn, report the trash-talking to Edward Klein, as in this account of a golf-course chat between the two presidents:
"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.Is there tension between the Clintons and Obamas? I can believe that there's some. Do they actually talk like this when they're together, as if they embody circa-2008 right-wing caricatures of themselves? You'd have to be a wingnut to believe that.
"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.'
"Bill was speechless. Was Barack comparing Michelle's qualifications to Hillary's? Bill said that if he hadn't been on a mission to strike a deal with Barack, he might have stormed off the golf course then and there."
The only surprising thing about what Klein writes is that the Benghazi excerpt depicts Obama as the main driver of what every right-winger regards as the most consequential and disastrous foreign policy decision in U.S. history -- the decision to ascribe motivation for the Benghazi attack to that YouTube video. What?! That wasn't the Hildebeest's doing? Oh, but if Hillary isn't guilty of the crime, she's at least guilty of the cover-up:
"Hillary was stunned when she heard the president talk about the Benghazi attack," one of her top legal advisers said in an interview. "Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an obscure video on the Internet that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed."(Klein's dialogue is always plausibly conversational.)
...After her conversation with the president, Hillary called Bill Clinton, who was at his penthouse apartment in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, and told him what Obama wanted her to do.In the epistemically closed world of the right, invoking the video was the worst crime any administration has ever committed in the history of the Republic. In Klein's fan fiction, therefore, it's what most concerns the secretary of state after four Americans die.
"I'm sick about it," she said, according to the legal adviser, who was filled in on the conversation.
"That story won't hold up," Bill said.
"I know," Hillary said. "I told the president that."
... Hillary's legal adviser provided further detail:
"During their phone call, Bill started playing with various doomsday scenarios, up to and including the idea that Hillary consider resigning as secretary of state over the issue. But both he and Hillary quickly agreed that resigning wasn't a realistic option. If her resignation hurt Obama's chances of winning re-election, her fellow Democrats would never forgive her. Hillary was already thinking of running for president in 2016, and her political future, as well as Obama's, hung in the balance."
Klein isn't even making a serious effort to persuade any sensible person that this is journalism. But he doesn't need sensible readers. The rubes will eat this up.