Those who actually pay attention (e.g., PHS readers) already know that the fantasy of Obama’s “scandal-free term in office” is just that–a fantasy. Some might argue that none of that even matters anymore, but I think it does, for reasons that should be apparent.
At any rate, I talked to Matt Margolis, the author of the new book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. I’ve read it, and it’s pretty packed full of information. I saw all the usual scandal suspects in there (Solyndra, Fast and Furious, etc.) but also saw plenty that I had long forgotten about and a few that I simply didn’t have time to pay attention to when they were going on.
I’ll put the rest of my thoughts after the conversation with Matt.
KP: Why another book on Obama? Not only have you already written one [calling Obama literally the Worst President Ever] but lots of folks have written books on Obama. What makes this one special?
MM: Aside from my apparent need to torture myself… it was clear that Obama and his allies were pushing a “scandal-free administration” narrative that was being parroted by the media. There have been books about Obama’s scandals… Katie Pavlich has a book on Fast & Furious, Michelle Malkin has one on corruption in his administration… but this book is designed to cover everything… or as close to everything that I could.
KP: I’m curious—how long did it take you to research and write this book?
MM: Well, I started the book in early January 2017… wrote a couple chapters, and had planned to self-publish the book when I was approached by Bombardier Books to publish it with them. Then I really picked up the pace and had to complete the book later that year..so, close to a year.
KP: You’ve got a ridiculous amount of information here. Was there a time during the research for this book when you thought just maybe you bit off more than you could chew and maybe had too MUCH material?
MM: Definitely. Many of these chapters could be expanded into their own books; the trick was boiling down the information into comprehensive, yet easy to read chapters. so it was at times a struggle to decide what information to put in, and what not to.
KP: Are there any scandals you think readers may disagree with your including? Well, aside from those who think the entire book is a farce and Obama is the Messiah.
MM: You beat me to the punch there.
KP: So let’s get into some of what’s actually in the book. You have a pretty well researched list of key phrases being repeated ad nauseum. Is this whole “scandal-free” thing just people being that idiotic, or is it a more coordinated effort?
MM: It is absolutely a deliberate effort by Obama and his allies to fabricated a fictional legacy for Obama. The “scandal-free” talking point has been pushed for years, not just by Obama and members of his administration, but by the media. It’s a frightening case study in Orwellian conditioning.
KP: Yes, let’s delve into that whole legacy thing a bit. In the book I see a consistent pattern of Obama claiming credit for something that he actually opposed happening, or taking credit for stopping something he actually supported.
MM: And feigning ignorance when a scandal broke…but rushing to assume credit for anything good that happened.
KP: Even if someone didn’t already know about these scandals–and quite frankly, before I read the book I had actually forgotten about a few of them–even just reading it, the pattern is amazingly clear.
MM: I listened to the audiobook this past week… and even though I wrote everything, having everything presented all at once is still shocking and disturbing.
KP: So one thing I do want to bring up. PHS readers, as a rule, want nothing to do with either party, and find themselves equally disgusted by the GOP and the Dems both, opting for a more liberty-based or even leaning toward anarchist belief system. Why should they care about a book about Obama scandals? What’s in it for those who already left the mainstream?
MM: The same people who cried foul over surveillance issues under George W. Bush were silent during the Obama years… when massive data collection and surveillance became commonplace. What we are seeing is party loyalty causing civil liberties issues to be a matter of selective outrage, and that’s something that has to stop. If Obama isn’t held accountable for what happened on his watch, the next Democrat president will have a similar license to abuse power.
KP: Do you find that to be true of trump supporters as well? The current administration put Sessions and Pompeo in positions of incredible power–and both of them are all about shredding what’s left of the 4th Amendment. Do you find that the same folks who did cry about Obama surveillance are now silent?
MM: There are plenty of people who have a similar attitude towards Trump as many on the left had towards Obama, that he can do no wrong. It sucks. but,
I’ve seen far less automatic support for Trump than there was for Obama.
I’ve seen division on Syria, on the Wall, on a wide variety of issues, but the left was quite unified behind Obama. Still is. Myself, I was a Cruz supporter who hated it when Trump jumped in the race. My support for him was largely an anti-Hillary vote which meant little in New York State, but still.
KP: There is nothing in the book about Kenya, or the birther scandal. Why not?
MM: Because I don’t write about conspiracy theories. I write about the facts.
I wanted to focus on his presidency. Obama is about to spend a billion dollars on his presidential library, and is on a mission to write his legacy for history.
I’m concerned about what my son will be taught about Obama when he’s in school. Is he going to be taught Obama was a great president who saved this country and was free of scandal? Or will he be taught the truth? If we don’t learn the truth, we’re doomed. We can’t excuse corruption in one party, but not the other.
KP: We’re well over a year into the trump admin. There are plenty of folks who will say we need to focus on what’s going on NOW. Like we just talked about, Sessions and Pompeo are on a rights-taking rampage. Trump himself is using the 2A as a bargaining chip. How would you respond to those who would argue that these things, happening right now, are more important than Obama’s wreck of a presidency?
MM: I think the answer to that is simple. What happened during Obama is still relevant today. We can’t give him a free pass just because he’s not in office anymore, especially after he enjoyed 8 years of a lapdog press that are willingly pushing the scandal-free narrative.
KP: What’s his end game? Is it really just a need to be personally viewed as someone amazing? Or is it something more?
MM: I think Obama was motivated by power and narcissism. Remember, soon after he was elected, schools were rushing to change their names to honor him, he was awarded a Nobel Peace prize for no legitimate reason.
he’s used to be praised as a Messiah. and he wants to be treated and remembered as such. It’s only the beginning. the state of Illinois has already made his birthday a state holiday. There will be a massive effort to name buildings and roads after him. I expect one day his minions will want to erect a monument to him on the national mall.
KP: Did you send him a copy of your book? ?
MM: I haven’t. But I fantasize about going to some event he’s at and personally handing him a copy. LOL I’d probably get killed by Obamabots…
KP: Was your book written to the choir or the sinners? Is it something that can convince an Obama fan? Or is it like a lot of books in the political sphere, written to those who already agree?
MM: My hope is that the choir will use the book to challenge the sinners who claim Obama was scandal-free… there are a lot of scandals Obama’s supporters pretend never happened. If they read my book, their worldview will be shattered because they’ll learn things they never heard before because the left-wing media kept it quiet or made excuses for it.
Should they read it? Absolutely… but i doubt they will. They’re too busy accusing me of being a racist because they’re terrified of the book.
KP: You mention [in the book] that Reagan took responsibility for his scandals. I think all of us who are old enough to remember, DO remember that Reagan said “I don’t recall” well over 100 times during the Iran-Contra hearings, leading to a generalized belief that he was far more involved than he let on–or at least far more knowledgeable. How do you respond to that?
MM: well, I was eight years old when Reagan left office, so I can’t speak directly to that. But it’s clear that, for instance, when Iran-Contra happened, there was an actual effort made by Reagan to have an independent investigation–one that resulted in indictments and such. We didn’t get that with Obama. Pick a scandal, any one of them… no special counsels were appointed… endless obstruction of justice… it was Chicago style politics brought to Washington.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve known Matt as a fellow blogger since about 2004-2005. We have diverged in terms of political belief systems; he still sees the GOP as the ‘team to root for,’ so to speak, and says he considers the Democrat party to be the enemy; I tend to see everyone who looks cross-eyed at my natural liberties to be the enemy, regardless of party affiliation (or especially because of). Right now the GOP is running neck-and-neck with the Dems, IMHO, in terms of enemy material.
I also can’t let a review of his book go without pointing out that while Fast and Furious might have been one of the things that sent Katie Pavlich’s career into overdrive, if it weren’t for a pair of bloggers named Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea, Katie Pavlich wouldn’t have had anything to write about, because CBS’ Sheryl Attkisson wouldn’t have known about the story. Mainstream folks don’t tend to know about that part, however, so I don’t necessarily fault Matt for not knowing it, or for the book not even breathing a word of the true origin of the story. It’s just one of those things that needs mentioning at times, to keep things honest.
My personal nitpicks aside, the book is worth reading. It’s well-sourced, lots of additional material in footnotes and whatnot. I like footnotes; I’m one of those people who actually goes off to check a lot of those and see if they’re relevant/factual/etc. Margolis did a good job with this book–and he’s right; what Obama did matters because we are still cleaning up the mess and dealing with the fallout.
I would even agree that we could see another Obama-type president, perhaps even in our lifetime (some would argue Trump is much the same on certain areas), but not because of some Santayana-esque refusal or inability to counter the ‘scandal-free’ narrative. I would argue that the collective mindset of the U.S. at this point makes another Obama–or worse–all but inevitable.
The book is worth buying–if for no other reason than to be well-informed and able to counter pro-Obama talking points in your own interactions. Information is power, and there’s a lot of information in this book. You don’t have to subscribe to the author’s exact politics to know he did his homework and put out some good product. You’ll end up referring to this book long after you’ve read it. Go grab it.