In “Fool Me Twice,” journalist Aaron Klein and co-author Brenda J. Elliott give us what they believe is President Obama’s agenda for a second term, and according to them, it’s going to be a Socialist’s dream.
By showing links among progressive groups such as Center for American Progress, ACORN, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the President and his advisers, Mr. Klein tries to make the case that the President hopes to implement many goals of the progressive movement.
Those goals are said to include using the military to carry out a “green agenda,” such as by converting military equipment, installations, and processes to experiment with clean energy.
The goals, the authors say, would include implementing policies that would dramatically boost the cost and role of the national government in subsidizing low-income and working-class people through mandated paid family leave, a national “living wage,” an end to deporting illegal immigrants, a single-payer health system, a new Great Depression-era kind of Works Progress Administration with millions of new federal jobs, and even a plan to put the nation in the position of funding global initiatives to redress the wrongs done by industrialization and colonialization.
It’s exactly the future that conservatives and Republicans have been warning against, and Mr. Klein’s and Ms. Elliott’s book — their third along these lines — plays to that audience. The book has been well-received enough to make the New York Times’ best-seller list.
In the introduction, Mr. Klein says that President Obama is a “highly skilled political radical who has spent a lifetime preparing to reach the pinnacle of American power and is for the most part succeeding in implementing the progressive Socialist agenda.”
According to Mr. Klein and Ms. Elliott, this is an agenda that is being advanced by stealth, but the veil was partially ripped away when President Obama said to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that, in a moment that was unintentionally picked up by an open microphone: “After my election, I have more flexibility.”
However, as Mr. Klein himself writes in the introduction, most of his information can be found in plain sight. In fact, most of the groups quoted in the book are eager to promote their positions, and they often do so in 50-page documents that can be found online. There’s no espionage to be found in this volume.
Mr. Klein and Ms. Elliott contend that President Obama is not acknowledging to the American public what he plans to do.
“I don’t have an agenda beyond documenting for the American public what Barack Obama’s specific plans are or at least the recommendations that have been given to Obama that will most likely form the blueprint for a second term,” Mr. Klein said in an interview with The Blade. “I was simply trying to do what the President will not and that is spell out his actual plans if he gets elected.”
A key claim centers on a proposed blueprint, “2012 Unified Security Budget,” a joint product of the Center for American Progress and the Institute for Policy Studies. According to the book, previous proposals of these two groups have been adopted by the Obama Administration. The center is run by John Podesta, a former chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, and someone who has been influential with the Obama Administration.
It calls CAP the “idea center” of the Obama White House.
Ideas and people that have a relatively benign image in America take on a suspicious hue in the book.
For example, Mr. Klein tells us that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a “strong affinity” for the left-leaning IPS left over from his career as a California congressman. Supposedly a “core doctrine” of progressive groups such as IPS is the concept of “responsibility to protect,” which reorients the U.S. military from making war and defending American interests to defending civilian populations against against repressive regimes.
Joe McNamara, a Toledo lawyer and city council president who is active in the Obama re-election campaign, attacked the book as the work of a conspiracy theorist and of a genre that makes money by playing on the fears of a lot of people.
“Considering this author’s previous works, I have a hard time taking him seriously. He’s a conspiracy theorist who equates progressives with Socialists,” he said. “There’s a large contingent in this country who are enthralled by conspiracy theorists. The President has had to defend his faith and his citizenship. This is part of that genre again. This is an attempt to try to reignite the idea that the President is not an American who shares our values.”
He rejected the book’s premise that President Obama is trying to implement a stealth agenda, saying instead Mr. Obama reached across political lines to craft bipartisan solutions to rebuild the economy.
“Unfortunately, Congress spent the last four years desperately trying to return to the same bad ideas that crashed the economy in the first place,” Mr. McNamara said.
Mr. McNamara said the book is part of the same genre occupied by the documentary 2016: Obama's America.
That movie, by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, contends that Mr. Obama has adopted the anti-colonial outlook of his late father and is trying to weaken America and distribute its wealth to the less-developed world. As with the book, the movie makes provocative but ultimately speculative claims.
On the other hand, Mr. McNamara didn’t try to take issue with any of the facts in the book. One might ask what harm is done by investigating and reporting on the recommendations and backgrounds of the people whom Mr. Obama is known to listen to and asking whether these ideas don’t have a better chance of being implemented than those of, say, Karl Rove. The left made similar claims against corporations that had the ear of the George W. Bush Administration a decade ago.
The tone of the book views this quiet agenda as a dangerous, anti-freedom one, but persons of liberal and progressive views might come away from it encouraged to see their ideas being put into practice.
Mr. Klein and Ms. Elliott also wrote The Manchurian President in 2010. The book documented what it says are “Barack Obama's ties to communists, Socialists, and other anti-American extremists,”" its jacket claims.
One of its claims is that David Axelrod, the Presidents chief political strategist, is “communist-linked.” Mr. Klein says his reporting showing that former Obama “green czar” Van Jones once formed a communist organization and signed a petition accusing former President George W. Bush of possible involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The revelations forced Mr. Jones to resign in September, 2009.
Mr. Klein, 32, is the Jerusalem bureau chief of World Net Daily (WND.com). The book was published by WND Books.
Mr. Klein told The Blade in an interview,. “I was simply trying to do what President Obama will not do, and that is spell out his actual plans if he gets elected. I think for the American public, it’s the fair thing to do.”
Conventional wisdom is that Mr. Obama’s first term has been a disappointment to many of his backers because of the failure of immigration reform, the Employee Free Choice Act (which would make it easier for unions to organize workplaces), closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, repealing the Patriot Act, and so on.
When Barack Obama and Joe Biden were running for office in 2008, Mr. Biden told protesters that there would be “no clean coal” in the Obama Administration. This year, the administration put $5 billion toward clean coal research to try to win over coal miners in southeast Ohio who blame Obama Administration regulations for forcing the shutdown of coal mines.
On the other hand, progressives had a lot of successes — the stimulus, the rescue of the auto industry, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, mandatory contraception coverage by employers, an end to the Iraq War, stoppage of the XL Keystone Pipeline, and presidential support for same-sex marriage.
“He did a lot in his first term. He did more than most presidents in their first term,” Mr. Klein said.
Mr. Klein and Ms. Elliott don’t show a lot of proof that the recommendations made by left-leaning think tanks have been converted into actual policies advanced by the administration.
One large section is devoted to a bill that was introduced in the House to give virtual amnesty to all immigrants living here legally or illegally. The law was indeed introduced — in 2009 — but it is stalled and there’s no claim made that Mr. Obama has tried to move it forward.
Another claim of the book is that the Obama White House wants to implement a “national popular vote,” under which the Electoral College would be disbanded and presidential elections would be decided in the country’s biggest population centers. Of course, that would mean the end of presidential candidates campaigning in Toledo or Bowling Green. The same chapter explores the expansion in U.S. elections by a Spanish elections software firm that allegedly is vulnerable to hackers.
Interesting, but what this has to do with President Obama isn't made clear. The assumption appears to be that, because some progressives want a national popular vote, that President Obama must want it too.
In the end, the book does nothing more than urge that whatever agenda is advanced by this or any president is thoroughly disclosed.
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