After 10/7, as Fred Fleitz observes, the Biden administration approved a “10 billion sanctions waiver for Iran.” If people find that puzzling, Tablet literary editor David Samuels has thoughts on the matter.
“The easy explanation, of course, is that Joe Biden is not running that part of his administration. Obama is. He doesn’t even have to pick up the phone because all of his people are already inside the White House. They hold the Iran file. Tony Blinken doesn’t.”
Samuels was interviewing David Garrow, author of Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Garrow recalls that “Rob Malley was the guy” on Iran, but there’s more to it.
“Rob Malley is just one person,” responds Samuels. “Brett McGurk. Dan Shapiro in Israel. Lisa Monaco in Justice. Susan Rice running domestic policy. It’s turtles all the way down. There are obviously large parts of White House policymaking that belong to Barack Obama because they’re staffed by his people, who worked for him and no doubt report back to him. Personnel is policy, as they say in Washington, which to me is a very odd and kind of spooky arrangement. Spooky, because it is happening outside the constitutional framework of the U.S. government, and yet somehow it’s been placed off the list of permitted subjects to report on. Which is a pretty good indicator of the extent to which the information we get, and public reactions to that information, is being successfully controlled.”
For Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winner for Bearing the Cross, this is a serious matter.
“Well, for Barack, everything has to be a success,” Garrow explains. “Everything has to be a victory,” and the composite character has been at it for a while.
The former Barry Soetoro, who spent early years in Indonesia, believed that it was possible to negotiate with an Islamic regime that in 1979 took 52 Americans hostage and held them captive for 444 days. The regime’s mantra is “Death to Israel! Death to America!” but toward the end of his second term, the composite character took his support to a new level.
Obama sent a planeload of cash to the regime, the chief funder of terrorism in general and Hamas in particular. With all his people in the White House he continues the funding, but that’s not all he wants.
“He wants people to believe his story,” Garrow told Samuels. “For me to conclude that Dreams from My Father was historical fiction – oh God, did that infuriate him.” All told, Garrow regards Obama as “not normal, as in not a normal politician or a normal human being.”
After reading Rising Star, Samuels still finds Obama, “deeply sympathetic as a person” and identifies with him emotionally. On the other hand, “there was something about this fictional character that he created actually becoming president that helped precipitate the disaster that we are living through now.”
That was in early August, before 10/7, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. The “genocidal pogrom,” as Bari Weiss put it, sent armies of anti-Semites into the street calling for the annihilation of Israel and the killing of Jews everywhere. Shortly after the attack, the composite character said the attack was “horrific” but issued no outright condemnation of Hamas.
Obama also decried the “occupation,” the term Osama bin Laden used three times in his 2002 letter to America now making the rounds on social media. “What is happening to the Palestinians is unbearable,” the composite character also said, striking moral equivalence between the Hamas terrorists and their Jewish victims. As Garrow said, he’s not a normal person and not a normal politician.
In 2008, the composite character promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America. That transformation continues through Joe Biden, now being pressured by Obama’s narrator, David Axelrod, to step aside, possibly to make way for Michelle. She was unreadable in college, as the late Christopher Hitchens noted, but she now has two auto-hagiographies in the best Axelrod style.
If the composite character gets a fourth term through Michelle, the disaster we are living through now will continue. So will funding for the Iran-Hamas axis, and as Garrow says, for Barack “everything has to be a victory.”