Yesterday, the world was graced with the release of Barack Obama’s latest memoir, “A Promised Land.”
The former president’s third book about himself retails for a whopping $45 and often criticizes the country that elected him twice, settles scores with President Donald Trump, and builds support for Joe Biden’s administration.
The New York Times was ebullient, writing in one of several fawning stories on the topic, “Readers have been waiting for years for Mr. Obama’s account of his time in the White House, which took him around two and a half years longer to write than he anticipated.”
Obama’s publisher is printing nearly six million copies of the 768-page tome for distribution. It will be available in 19 languages. The Obamas jointly signed a record-breaking $65 million deal with Penguin Random House three years ago. Yes, $65,000,000.
A 1,400-word L.A. Times review Monday deemed the writing “masterful” and “acutely self-aware,” though mercifully stopped short of demanding it receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
But even the Washington Post admits Obama takes aim at others throughout. I suppose it’s understandable when Trump disrupted a planned third term via Hillary Clinton’s ascendancy. Because Obama often governed by fiat, many of his policies were undone with executive orders, repudiating key components of his presidency.
Some portions already caught the ire of conservatives, including a bizarre excerpt on Sarah Palin and the GOP:
“Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spike that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party — xenophobia, anti intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks — were finding their way to center stage.”
In response, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee said, “He’s so still 2008. It’s funny because with the price of rent today, it’s kind of pleasurable to know I’ve been living rent-free in his head for 12 years.”
In another excerpt, the 44th president condemns large swaths of America:
“It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted. Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started pedaling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president. For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety.”
There is no justification for this obnoxious reach. While many didn’t like Obama, to indicate he was in danger is absurd. In the last 56 years, only Republican presidents have been physically attacked. There were no anti-Black rallies when Obama was elected, nor were there major race riots protesting his presidency during his time in office.
Obama then claimed, as he has for years, that his administration was scandal free.
“Without exception, we avoided scandal,” he writes. “I’d made clear at the start of my administration that I’d have zero-tolerance for ethical lapses, and people who had a problem with that didn’t join us in the first place.”
I guess Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Susan Rice and others weren’t available for comment.
Tucker Carlson delivered a scathing review, saying the book’s message is: “Barack Obama is a genius; you are a racist.” He also noted his administration “accelerated the worst income inequality in our history” and presided over the growth of drug addiction across the nation.
“I’m not yet ready to abandon the possibility of America,” Obama later writes.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who served in congress during the Obama years, didn’t like that line. She claimed he was hypocritical to argue the “possibility of America” isn’t yet realized.
“What a ridiculous message,” Noem tweeted. “Obama had 8 years, including 2 with full control of Congress. He sent our jobs to China, left our healthcare system in disarray, our foreign policy in shambles & our people divided. Instead of blaming Trump, Obama should consider what led to 2016.”
And I personally take issue with this passage:
“And so the world watches America — the only great power in history made up of people from every corner of the planet, comprising every race and faith and cultural practice — to see if our experiment in democracy can work. To see if we can do what no other nation has ever done. To see if we can actually live up to the meaning of our creed.”
Gosh, that’s rather utopian and disingenuous. There’s something off-putting about a two-term president conveying an aloof view of the U.S.A. The jargon is intentional, of course, and that makes it — and probably much of this memoir — even more mendacious.
So, like his missed opportunities during eight years at the helm, Barack Obama could have brought words of healing to a divided nation; instead, he seems to place ideology and grievance ahead of millions of noble Americans. Maybe he’ll do better in his “second volume.” Indeed, there is another book still to come. Make that four autobiographies before age 60.