Other readings in this series…
For most of us out here in Flyover Territory, the personages of the people in the White House aren’t an item of particular concern, and the lives of the President and his family hold only passing interest. The President is a politician, after all, not a celebrity – and short of sex or money scandals, it’s just none of our business.
Or at least that’s my take.
But in The Obama Diaries, radio talk host and Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham crafts a satirical world in which the President IS a celebrity, surrounded by a shrewish First Lady, a slew of sycophant staffers, a stumbling and screwy Vice President and others. Ingraham’s world seems fairly close to real life, and she cuts deeply.
The premise of the book is that Ingraham gets dropped off a package of documents by a secretive stranger who tells her “You’ll know what to do,” and upon opening the package, she finds that they’re actually diary entries from President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Joe Biden, OMB Director Peter Orszag, former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, Sen. Harry Reid, Obama’s Mother-In-Law Melanie Robinson, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, chief White House political strategist David Axelrod – even Russian proto-dictator Vladimir Putin is in the group.
Of course, the “diaries” are fictional. They’re funny as hell. They’re all in different fonts, and they paint a picture of their “authors” which in most cases is a caricature of the persona the public already perceives. Obama, for example, is pathologically self-absorbed and thinks he can do nothing wrong; Michelle Obama alternates between tyrannizing her kids and her husband and burnishing an image as the new Jackie Kennedy. Axelrod is the fawning sycophant, Emanuel’s diaries are peppered with F-bombs and violent threats, Clinton plots and schemes to overthrow the Obamas and Biden fulminates over his thinning hair and women out of his league (including his wife).
It’s a quick read and a laugh a minute. Ingraham is a terrific satirist.
The diaries are about half the book. The rest is pretty standard conservative talk-show stuff. Ingraham deals with the 18-month history of the Obama administration – his foreign-policy change of direction, Obamacare, the stimulus, the Beer Summit, the constant parties and celebrity schmoozing, and the rest – with facts, figures, logic and philosophy. It’s well-written and pithy, but it’s nothing particularly novel or earth-shaking for those of us already immersed in the movement.
But a few points she makes in the book are worth passing along.
One of the best is the exhortation to conservatives – and Americans as a whole – is to reject the “five stages of grief” as a template to deal with Obama’s election and the perception of American decline. The five stages, of course, are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Going beyond anger is a mistake, she says, because nothing about the Obama administration or our declining competitiveness is set in stone.
The urging to “rage against the dying of the light” pervades much of the polemical part of The Obama Diaries – whether the subject is economics, physical fitness, foreign policy or politics. Ingraham continuously rails against private citizens or companies backing down in the face of an overweening government. She indicts health insurers for playing ball with the president on Obamacare, auto company bondholders for allowing themselves to be buffaloed by the president as he handed GM and Chrysler over to the unions and Obama himself for the constant apologizing for America.
It’s a good vision to communicate, and it’s well-articulated with a positive, if sometimes caustic, tone. The Obama Diaries is a fun, light read on heavy subjects and well worth picking up – even if it’ll do more to brighten your mood than enlighten your political philosophy.