“Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas” by Edward Klein is a gossipy hatchet job on both couples, Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, but it is mighty-near irresistible and a very fast read that has risen to the top of the best-seller lists.
VS. THE OBAMAS”
Regnery Publishing ($27.99).
“Blood Feud” is also undoubtedly being passed around among America’s political lords and masters in Washington accompanied by a lot of chatter. Mr. Klein’s basic premise is that former president Bill Clinton, and to a lesser extent former first lady Hillary Clinton, hate President Barack Obama and, to a lesser degree, first lady Michelle Obama, for the following reason:
Bill believes that Barack would not have been re-elected in 2012 without Bill’s considerable help. Barack, thus, owes him, Bill, big time. Bill believes that Barack agreed to pay the price for this help in advance in the form of a tacit promise of support for a Hillary run for president in 2016. A Clinton “third term” in the White House would result.
Barack, Bill believes, is not keeping his end of the deal, threatening instead to back Joe Biden for president in 2016. Bill, thus, considers the president hateful. Bill is also scared to death he will die before he gets back into the White House with Hillary.
Mr. Klein walks the reader through the scenario that led to this situation, citing, along the way, accounts of various meetings, conversation and alleged calculations that led to what he sees as the current situation, obviously indicating, in his view, a ferocious schism in the leadership of the Democratic Party.
What Mr. Klein doesn’t speculate on, which he might have, is whether the Clintons and Obamas aren’t smart enough politicians to be able to figure out that if they are going to spend their time fighting each other, cleaving the party in two, the Republicans are going to be able to eat them alive in 2016, if not already in 2014.
There is a sense in which this is a very destructive book. Mr. Klein portrays both couples as foul-mouthed, petty and not the sort of people Americans might want as their leaders. Each of the four is portrayed as a voraciously ambitious person who cares about no one else but himself or herself.
As one reads of their foibles, sometime nastiness, and, in the case of both Clintons, bad health, it would be easy to forget that Bill Clinton was president of the United States for a pretty good eight years, Barack Obama for five years so far. Hillary Clinton was a senator from New York and then secretary of state for four years, and Michelle Obama is easily one of the most admired Americans of our time.
The idea that one might thank them for their service and forgive them their ambitions is never expressed in this book.
There are some startling revelations, if true. Michelle is thinking of running for public office, something to do with Illinois. According to Mr. Klein, White House aide and old “first friend” Valerie Jarrett, of limited talent, runs the Obamas and the administration.
Barack and Michelle don’t get along anymore. Hillary has placed Chelsea in a position to police Bill but doesn’t really care if he fools around. America was maintaining the risky office in Benghazi to provide cover for the CIA to transfer Libyan arms to Syrian rebels. Bill and Hillary both had face lifts.
Mr. Klein’s book probably hurts Democrats most. He slips in the word “leftist” as often as he can with respect to Mr. Obama. “Lying had never bothered Hillary,” he claims, and she has “serious medical conditions.”
Mr. Klein even works in a line about Hillary as a 20th, not a 21st-century political figure, which is slippery Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s latest slur on her. As political commentary, Mr. Klein’s book resembles a monkey in a zoo throwing feces. But it is fun to watch.
Dan Simpson, a retired U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).