As if he needs more money, former President Barack Obama is out hawking a new book — a 768-page memoir that is just Volume One of his latest memoirs (he wrote his first autobiography at age 34).
But Mr. Obama’s latest book is raising eyebrows because he is (once again) bashing America.
“I’m not yet ready to abandon the possibility of America,” Mr. Obama says in “A Promised Land,” which hit shelves on Tuesday. He adds that he wrote the book “for young people — as an invitation to bring about, through hard work, determination, and a big dose of imagination, an America that finally aligns with all that is best in us.”
Mr. Obama also said he was waiting “to see if we can actually live up to the meaning of our creed. The jury’s still out.”
The passage drew outrage from critics, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
“What a ridiculous message,” she wrote last week on Twitter. “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.”
Mr. Obama makes some other incendiary charges in his book.
President Trump, he claims, “promised an elixir for the racial anxiety” of “millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House.”
Those Americans — whom Mr. Obama implies are racist — were prey to “the dark spirits 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.”
Mr. Obama continues: “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 peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president.”
According to CNN, Mr. Obama wrote that “he came to regard Trump’s media ubiquity and characteristic shamelessness as merely an exaggerated version of the Republican Party’s attempts to appeal to White Americans’ anxieties about the first Black president — a sentiment he said ‘had migrated from the fringe of GOP politics to the center — an emotional, almost visceral, reaction to my presidency, distinct from any differences in policy or ideology.’”
Conservative pundit Candace Owens also blasted Mr. Obama’s seemingly racist claim.
“It felt like we finally had arrived at a place in this country where we could put the past in the past,” she said Thursday on Fox News. “Barack Obama became the president of the United States because White Americans supported him. And rather than show some unity, rather than show some respect for this country that gave him literally everything he has, he turns his back … and says, ‘Look at this despicable country. It’s broken.’”
“He is the first president that has ever sat in the White House and came out … hating America,” she added.
Mr. Obama also wrote about his opponent in the 2008 election, the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and his running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. He says he wonders sometimes whether Mr. McCain would still have picked Mrs. Palin if he had known “her spectacular rise and her validation as a candidate would provide a template for future politicians, shifting his party’s center and the country’s politics overall in a direction he abhorred.”
“I’d like to think that given the chance to do it over again, he might have chosen differently,” Mr. Obama writes. “I believe he really did put his country first.”
Mr. Obama’s dim view of America is mirrored by former first lady Michelle Obama. As her husband wrapped up the Democratic nomination in 2008, she let fly her real feelings: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” Until then, she apparently was not a fan.
Of course, The Washington Post loved Obama’s new America-bashing book, offering this insight in a piece by Eugene Scott.
“To some pundits, the election of a Black man signaled the beginning of a post-racial America. But Trump’s election signaled the exact opposite, and perhaps the beginning of an unapologetic embrace of White-identity politics that had not been seen at the top levels of government in decades. By calling it out directly, Obama could lead some Americans to entertain the idea — and perhaps do some self-reflection — that perhaps they would not have, had it come from any other person than one of the most popular politicians in America,” Mr. Scott wrote Monday.
Perhaps Mr. Obama — the first Black president in history and now worth some $40 million — will one day see himself as emblematic of America’s promise.
Maybe that will be Volume Three of his latest autobiography.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.
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