Ten reasons why Aaron Klein's The Manchurian President is “ridiculous crap”

Late last night, WorldNetDaily let us know that they have feelings too, publishing an article enumerating all the journalists who insulted them by refusing review copies of Aaron Klein's new book, The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists. How rude of them, WND observed, to have “rejected the thoroughly documented book before receiving review copies of the title,” with one journalist reportedly going so far as to call the book “ridiculous crap.”

Well, I have read The Manchurian President, and it turns out that that journalist was prescient in his assessment. Here's a rundown of some (but certainly not all) of the book's qualities that put it firmly in the “ridiculous crap” category.

1. The front cover

The cover to Klein's book is elegant in its simplicity, dominated as it is by a shade of red usually found draped over the arms of matadors, and giving the unmistakable impression that the President of the United States is peering out at you from behind a keffiyeh:

2. The front flap

Ah, modesty... the front flap helps to cut the anger and fear inspired by the cover by letting you know just how important this book and its “relentless, principled” author are to “society”:

3. The introduction

See if you can make any sense of this paragraph from Klein's introduction, in which he attempts to explain what the book is about:

Finally, a word of reply to those who assert that in critiquing President Obama, we should all focus on his policies, and not on the man. Respectfully, we disagree. We do not believe in “guilt by association” nor in “the politics of personal destruction.” In other words, a political figure should not be judged by his casual political relationships, nor by personal vulnerabilities -- and certainly not by his race. We have instead labored to uncover the actual political history, beliefs, mentors, associates, appointments, and motivations of the 44th president of the United States.

See, they're not trying to smear Obama by pointing out his “radical” political associates, they're just calling him a “Manchurian President” based on the people he associates with politically. Pretty much the entire book is devoted to attacking the people Obama is associated with as “radical” and then calling him a “radical” by virtue of that association, and in the introduction Klein claims that's not what they're doing.

4. Obama: terrorist in short pants

The Manchurian President goes big from the get-go by claiming that Obama's connection to wingnut bête-noir William Ayers goes back all the way to the Sunday school Obama attended as an 11-year-old kid. If this seems stupid, that's because it is:

Obama's exposure to Ayers' ideology, astonishingly enough, traces back to Obama's childhood and the Hawaiian church at which the future U.S. president attended Sunday school as a boy. While a firestorm ignited during the campaign over Obama's 20-year membership, as an adult, in the church of radical Rev. Jeremiah Wright, almost nothing has been reported about his Sunday school attendance at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, a radical activist church that may have influenced the future president's early outlook.

5. Dreams from Bill Ayers' Father?

Among the other super-credible allegations made in The Manchurian Candidate is the claim that “much evidence” exists to show that Obama's deeply personal and introspective memoir, Dreams from My Father, was actually written by -- you guessed it -- William Ayers. Here's a sampling of the “evidence”:

[Jack] Cashill was able to document as large number of specific similarities in phraseology, story-line development, themes, even use of particular metaphors, such as sections of both books that use a [sic] many similar nautical metaphors, like the use of the word “ship” or descriptions of the sea, to denote feelings. In fact, after dropping out of college, Ayers took up the life of a merchant seaman, whereas Obama has no known sailing history.

Even fellow right-winger David Freddoso -- author of his own misinformation-laden Obama-bashing book -- has said, “Cashill's stuff on this was a lot of crap, all conjecture and no concrete evidence.”

6. The college conspiracy

Klein devotes an entire chapter to Obama's undergraduate years at Occidental College and Columbia University, stating up front that the lack of publicly available information about Obama's college career can mean only one thing... a conspiracy that is “by design and not accidental,” involves the media and Obama's classmates, and is designed (not accidentally, mind you) to hide the president's involvement with (sigh) William Ayers:

Such withholding of a presidential candidate's educational record is unusual in American politics, and it speaks volumes about the irresponsibility of the mainstream news media when it comes to covering Obama, that a serious investigation has never been launched until now, nor a major furor raised in response to Obama's continuing refusal to provide standard biographical data.

What was the Obama team trying to hide?

Former classmates and teachers have also revealed little about Obama as a college student. Of those who have been interviewed, few have been forthcoming with any details.

One can only conclude that this information blackout is by design and not accidental. The authors were at first reduced to reliance upon the few breadcrumbs Obama left behind in his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, appended by a few bits and pieces and quotes gleaned from interviews granted by those who knew Obama during his days at Occidental College, fondly known as Oxy.

Fortunately, by using those “breadcrumbs” as a point of departure, the authors were able to piece together a clearer picture of Barack Obama's college years, though many questions remain. This chapter includes many revelations on those covered-up college years -- including tracing Obama's first political speech, while an undergraduate student, to an organization chaired by an associate of Bill Ayers.

7. The Birther bonanza

What journalist wouldn't take seriously a book that devotes an entire chapter to the completely and thoroughly discredited allegations that President Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and is therefore ineligible for the presidency? Klein cites several “legal resources” that he says raise “legitimate questions about Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency, given that Obama's father was not an American citizen.” Notably, every “legal resource” he cites predates the Spanish-American War. Conveniently omitted are the rulings of today's courts, which have rejected, time and again, Birther arguments on substantive and procedural grounds.

8. Valerie Jarrett: communist by marriage?

Ordinarily, for someone to be considered a “radical,” they have to themselves do or say things that can be considered “radical.” In the case of Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett (née Valerie Bowman), however, Klein has discovered that she turned all communisty when she said “I do”:

Jarrett's background, her family, and her initial introduction to Obama all tie her to the now familiar radical milieu of this administration.

Jarrett's father-in-law, Vernon Jarrett, was an associate of Frank Marshall Davis, the controversial labor movement activist who has been identified as an early influence on Obama. Vernon Jarrett worked with Davis in 1940 in the Communist Party-dominated organization, Citizen's Committee to Aid Packing House Workers. The group's own correspondence, previously uncovered by the New Zeal blog, describes its communist influence. Many of its leaders were tied to the Communist Party USA.

This is followed by a lengthy run-down of all the allegedly radical and controversial things Valerie Jarrett's father-in-law has done. Absent from the chapter is any indication that Jarrett herself has ever done, said, thought, or imagined anything “radical.” What was that they said earlier about not doing “guilt by association”?

9. Déjà vu all over again

If there's one thing the world didn't need, it's yet another drawn-out exercise detailing Obama's “connections” -- no matter how tangential or imagined -- to the various “radicals” and communists of the world. National Review's Stanley Kurtz, bigoted liar Jerome Corsi, and Fox News' Sean Hannity each put out their own “exposés” of Obama's “radical” background and associations way back in 2008. Much of Klein's book is simply a retread of the same tired ground these pioneering wingnuts already covered -- indeed, Klein cites Kurtz and Corsi at length, and was Hannity's exclusive guest last night. Their work had absolutely no impact back in 2008, so there's really no reason to believe anyone's going to care two years later.

10. The back cover

The back cover of a book is where the publisher usually tries to give the work an extra jolt of credibility by printing some glowing assessments from the author's peers. And indeed, who is more respected in the journalism world than David Horowitz and Andrew Breitbart?