Book Review: The Brief Against Obama
Author makes convincing case against US President
By Dr Glenville Ashby
Huge Hewitt – a savvy attorney and talk show host, uses an artful combination of glib, rhetoric, and legal accoutrements to argue against President Barack Obama’s reelection. That he is compelling is an understatement. Hewitt is a clean fighter, relentlessly presenting point after point in a fashion devoid of ruthless and personalized partisanship.
For sure, he has well earned his credentials. This in no way suggests a lopsided oratorical victory, but admittedly his case is so well articulated, that it will leave the most consummate of Obama’s apologists second guessing.
Four years after assuming the presidency, Obama has not been able to deliver on a myriad of promises, writes Hewitt. Throughout, the author uses Obama’s words – as senator and president – to indict him. Unemployment numbers remain high, dependency on foreign oil still bedevils the nation, the deficit has soared, credit has dried up, and Solyndra, a renewable energy venture, backed by the Obama administration, with half a billion of tax payer dollars, simply evaporated.
Big government and taxation as the panacea for an ailing economy is doomed. What has the nation to show for the president’s Stimulus Package (American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan)? Where has the money gone? This is vintage Hewitt. Add the politically charged Obamacare to the mix, and the president’s detractors teeter on irrationality and obduracy. But unlike most conservative pundits, Hewitt remains measured, while loyal to his ilk.
Arguably, the author’s economic diagnosis is skewed, but his strongest argument surprisingly rests in his criticism of the president’s foreign policy, despite its many successes against the Al Qaeda network. Hewitt ignores the hyper risky undertaking to bring down bin Laden where a single error spelled political suicide. Instead, he concentrates on the withdrawal of US troops in Iraq that shifts the balance of power in favour of Iran. Touting American exceptionalism, he begs the question: What has the United States gained from sacrificing its blood and resources?
Hewitt ventures even further, assailing the President for more than just Iraq. Obama’s handling of the Arab Spring, and his “lead from behind” approach are said to be inconsistent with the political realism of a super power. It is this dithering leadership that infuriates Hewitt. Appeasement is the cornerstone of Obama’s foreign policy, he posits. The author is unforgiving, hammering the president for not capitalizing on the Green Revolution in Iran; for his placid approach to the belligerent North Koreans; and for his failure to robustly respond to the military advancement and economic reach of China.
But Hewitt’s foreign policy approach, with all its bleeding sincerity and “shoot from the hip” posturing could be anachronistic. Maybe Obama’s constructivism is the modern approach to solving global problems. Perchance, unilateralism and the big stick policy of yesteryear no longer have a place in the contemporary world. Some may argue that while Obama sees the nuances and vicissitudes of world affairs, the author is mired in a Cold War mentality – an uncompromising display of authoritative self-righteousness.
One thing is certain, though, and it is a position Hewitt articulates throughout. Unless the US can shake free from its moribund economic state, its global influence will wane. The reader is reminded of the president’s words: ”I found the deficit when I showed up. I found this national debt doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me when I stepped in to the Oval Office.”
Hewitt retorts, deftly using the words of Wall Street Journal’s Michael Boskin: “The president constantly reminds us that he was dealt a difficult hand. But the evidence is overwhelming that he played it poorly.”
And as if that were not enough, Hewitt immediately chimes in: “Regardless of who steps into the Oval Office in 2013, the size of the government’s deficits poses a greater threat to the US economic stability than it did in 2008. It is vast, staggering, and deeply destructive to the nation’s future.
Dr Glenville Ashby is New York based literary critic
The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall and Epic Fail of the Hope and Change President
Hachette Book Group, New York, NY, 2012
Ratings: ***: Recommended