Do These Two Hate One Another?

by Lulu Chang

On Monday, Edward Klein, a man even Fox News won't call credible, has released the latest installment in his saga of untruths and misrepresentations. Entitled Blood Feud, Klein's newest book pits Hillary Clinton against Michelle Obama, painting the two political families as modern day Montagues and Capulets in a fight for the White House. If Klein is to be believed, Barack, Michelle, Hillary, and Bill are in the midst of the quarrel of the century. Spoiler alert: they're not.

Blood Feud follows Klein's last journalistic failure, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, which had many critics questioning whether the "amateur" in the situation was Obama or Klein. And despite Klein's respectable credentials as a journalist, reviews for his long form endeavors have been consistently panned by critics on both sides of the aisle.

Klein first began documenting presidential families in the '90s, and proceeded to write four books chronicling the Kennedy's, discussing everything from the "Kennedy curse" to the "love story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy." But in 2005, Klein turned his attention to contemporary politics, and chose Hillary Clinton as his first victim, writing the critically denounced The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President.

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This gem, which earned Klein the title of an "author devoid of credibility," made an outstanding number of ludicrous claims about the Clintons, including: Hillary was a lesbian, Bill raped his wife (which led to the birth of their daughter, Chelsea) and the Clintons were anti-Semites who made sweeping stereotypes about Jews. The Truth also spends an alarming time focused on Hillary's physical appearance, with Klein writing,

Hillary felt so hopelessly unattractive that she did not bother to shave her legs and underarms, and deliberately dressed badly so that she would not have to compete with more attractive women in a contest she could not possibly win.

So offended was everyone by this factually defunct and all around baseless piece of trash, that many who would otherwise relish the opportunity to slam Clinton for more legitimate political disagreements instead rushed to her defense, as evidenced by Fox News, who denounced the book "as a whole pack of lies by everybody involved."

As a result of Klein's supposed telling of The Truth, the New York Times branded him "smarmy and sleazy," and the Tucson Citizen called the book "the literary equivalent of a backed-up septic tank." Media Matters went so far as to publish an in-depth study of every false claim Klein made, resulting in an 11,000 word article. Yikes.

But Klein did not allow this to deter him, or persuade him to research his subjects more thoroughly before embarking upon his next literary endeavor. Instead, a mere five years later, he wrote yet another incendiary and shamelessly fallacious book so absurd that no publishing agency agreed to put their names on it, forcing Klein to self-publish The Obama Identity: A Novel (Or Is It?). Here, Klein penned a "fictional" but unabashedly sensationalist account based on "real events," insisting that Obama was not an American citizen as he had been born in Kenya and remained a practicing Muslim involved in a series of murders.

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And then there was also The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, which set the foundation for the so-called "blood feud" that is the premise of Klein's latest book. When reviewing The Amateur, The New York Times described Klein as an "inept, arrogant ideologue who maintains an absurdly high opinion of his own talents even as he blatantly fails to achieve his goals." And it seems that he has similarly failed at Blood Feud.

In this book, Bill Clinton is quoted as saying, “I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived,” and Michelle Obama reportedly calls Hillary Clinton the "Hildebeest." And of course, like any good right-wing extremist, Klein relishes in the opportunity to add yet another layer of absurdity to the Benghazi "scandal," claiming that the Clinton's knew that the "story [wouldn't] hold up."

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While rumors of supposed under-the-radar animosity between the Clintons and the Obamas have run rampant since Obama beat out Hillary for the 2008 Democratic nomination, the continued assumption that old rivals are incapable of cooperating for a larger cause is quickly becoming a tired old storyline. For one, Bill Clinton was one of Obama's main campaigners in the 2012 election, appearing 16 times in a single week on Obama's behalf. While it was admittedly difficult for Bill Clinton to support Obama in 2008 immediately following Hillary's defeat, Clinton announced on the campaign trail in 2012, "I may be the only person in America, but I am far more enthusiastic about President Obama this time than I was four years ago."

Then there is also Hillary's critical role as Obama's secretary of state, a role which requires tireless cooperation and mutual respect. Clinton has consistently made clear her support of Obama's policy decisions, from the sanctions on Iran to the recently controversial prisoner swap.

And finally, there is Obama's almost-but-not-quite endorsement of Hillary for 2016, as just last month at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, Obama came out with this line,

You’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.

If that's not foreshadowing, we don't know what is.

All in all, when it comes to Blood Feud, here's our advice. If HarperCollins refused to publish it and if it's anything like his past work, you can probably skip out on reading Klein's latest, unless you're looking for a good laugh.