• Edward Klein, Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. The Obamas, Regnery, 2014, 302 pages, $27.99.
Readers and journalists alike usually are advised to exercise caution with books that cite anonymous sources, but Edward Klein’s Blood Feud deserves serious consideration. The author is the former foreign editor of Newsweek and former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine. In those posts, he must have compiled a few sources who might want to play their hands close to the vest. Klein doubtless tapped those sources in The Truth About Hillary and The Amateur: Barack Obama in White House. So readers are likely to find the behind-the-scenes accounts in Blood Feud more plausible that Hillary Clinton’s own claim in Hard Choices that she has yet to make up her mind about running for president.
According to Klein’s sources, Bill Clinton told Obama that he and Hillary are gearing up for a run in 2016, and that Hillary already is talking up her presidential library. She is banking on the “Clinton brand” to carry the day, and Bill has a game plan. He wants Hillary to be very specific that her administration would be a third Clinton term, not a third Obama term. Whatever one calls it, that term is hardly a lock, and the Clintons can’t expect help from the Obama team.
Bill Clinton has no relationship at all with Obama and reportedly was angry that the Obama White House used “Clintonian” for policies they found incompatible with their leftist approach to governance. And Clinton resented Obama for saying Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Bill Clinton did not.
Hillary, of course, was Obama’s rival in 2008, and, according to Klein, some members of the Obama team are on Hillary’s enemies list. Former United Nations ambassador Susan Rice, for example, worked in the Clinton White House, and Hillary reportedly called her a “traitor” for supporting Obama. In this account, Rice wanted badly to be secretary of state, but Hillary got the nod. And Hillary did not agree with Obama’s policy of “leading from behind.” Obama’s powerful advisers don’t care for her, but Klein does not need anonymous sources to show that Hillary can be her own worst enemy. It was New York Times columnist William Safire who in 1996 called Hillary a “congenital liar,” a woman compelled to mislead.
Klein also does a thorough job outlining “The Benghazi Deception.” He cites a member of Hillary’s legal team stating that Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a demonstration over a video, rather than terrorism. Hillary reportedly said that was not credible, with support from husband Bill, who thought the story would not stand up. Rice duly proclaimed the video tale on television, and Hillary dutifully fell in line with her “What does it matter?” testimony. And Hillary told Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, the Navy SEAL killed in the Benghazi attack, “We’re gonna go out, and we’re gonna prosecute that person that made the video.” Klein cites this an example of Hillary lying “when she didn’t have to.”
On the Obama side, Klein quotes David Sanger of The New York Times saying that “this is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.” And readers will not need anonymous sources to understand that, as Klein explains, Barack Obama is not a serious student of history is inept in governance and is prone to repeat “policies that made the economy less robust and the nation less safe.”
Klein provides helpful background on Valerie Jarrett, the “dedicated leftist,” closer to Obama than anyone except Michelle. Klein believes that Obama never would have become president without her. Jarrett operates from a second-floor West Wing office once occupied by Karl Rove and, before that, First Lady Hillary Clinton. Fortunately, the characters in the Clinton-Obama quarrel are not Klein’s only concern.
He cites author and investigative journalist Seymour Hersh on the CIA “rat line,” a back channel for funneling arms to the opposition in Syria. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, affiliated with al-Qaida. “In short,” notes Klein, “the Obama administration was secretly arming its chief global enemy, al-Qaida, in an operation that had many of the earmarks of the Iran-Contra scandal, which had rocked the Reagan administration, 26 years before.”
The “rat line” hasn’t rocked the Obama administration because the mainstream media (Klein’s terminology) is not interested in stories that reflect badly on the Obama administration, particularly the Benghazi deception. In fact, had the old-line, establishment media done their job, Blood Feud might not have been necessary.
In Klein’s view, the Clinton brand represents the center of the Democratic Party and Obama the far left. That may be putting it too simply. One of Hillary’s mentors was lawyer Robert Treuhaft, an old-line Stalinist in the mold of Frank Marshall Davis, Obama’s mentor, a Communist Party USA propagandist he disguised simply as “Frank” in Dreams From My Father. If Hillary and Obama ever disagreed with anything either man believed, said, or did, they have not gone on record in any detail. The old-line, establishment media remains uninterested.
Klein’s account of the Clinton-Obama feud is informative, entertaining, and timely, but there may be less to it than meets the eye. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both shrink-wrapped in statist superstition. The real feud is between a bipartisan, statist ruling class and the people yearning to breathe free. That one is certain to outlast the 2016 election.
Lloyd Billingsley is author of Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Movie Industry, which recently was released as a Kindle e-book and available at Amazon.com.