Sunday, September 2, 2012

What I'm Reading (and What I've Read)....

Cruising through the local mega-store a couple of weeks ago I was heading toward the outdoor section to grab a bag of charcoal, when I put the brakes on in the book section.  I say Mitt Romney's 2009 book No Apology: The Case For American Greatness (updated earlier this year) and found myself intrigued.  I flipped though it real quick and decided to throw it in the cart.

I'm a little over half way through it, and it has served as a great backdrop to what I've seen of and about him during the convention.  Again, the contrast between Romney and Obama this election couldn't be any more pronounced.  When you read Romney's command of everything from business, to economics, to world history and current events, you're struck with how appropriate his candidacy for our time is.  I was especially impressed with Romney's understanding of free trade, and how mercantilism and protectionism that results from it has destroyed great empires like Great Britain and China (pgs 50 - 60).  In that same passage, Romney explains comparative advantage in terms everyday people can understand and appreciate.  It also has some inspiring quotes, starting the book off with one from his father.  "Mitt, the pursuit of the difficult makes men great," his father told him (the great J.P. Moreland said something very similar: "If you ever want to be anything of significance in life, you have to learn to routinely do things you don't like to do.").  The book will serve as a great introduction to those who want to know how the candidate's mind works, what his core beliefs are, and how he's head-and-shoulders above the current nitwit running the show.  Obama loves to say "this election is about two distinct visions", and No Apology makes it clear that Romney's vision is what we need now. (UPDATE: I'm a little more than 3/4 of the way through No Apology as of today, 9/5/12.  I squeeze in a few pages when I can in my busy post-work day.  It just keeps getting better - if you really want to compare Romney to Obama, there is no better way to do so than to devour this book.)

What I have just finished: 

Two things that have consumed my free time over the last few days.  First, is the much heralded book by Edward Klein entitled The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.

Klein has faced criticism in the past over other works.  A graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism, his pedigree is impressive.  So, it leaves one wondering why his account of Obama's rise to power lacks so few verified references?  Let me say, for the record, that I believe 99% of the accounts that I read in this book.  But that is my own bias, as frequent patrons of JGAH know, I have an incredibly low opinion of this President, and the circumstances of his rise to power.  But about a third of the way into this thing, I was shocked that a professional journalist of Klein's stature would write a book so heavily reliant on anonymous sources.  All throughout the book, Klein refers to "a source that requested anonymity" or "sources inside the White House" when making believable claims about the Obamas and their handlers, confidants and groupies.  None-the-less, I don't have a degree in journalism and still I know anonymous sources don't make compelling cases to skeptics.  The book is still fun to read if you are sick of this Administration and its apologists.  One account, in particular, if it is true, wouldn't surprise me.  Klein tells a story of Barack buying Marie Antoinette Michelle a pair of $3000 diamond studded earrings as a present.  Moochelle promptly thanks Barry by returning them for a pair costing $12000.  Ah, Fred and Wilma indeed.

The second book was a God Send.  And I HIGHLY recommend it.  North Carolina businessman Mike Cullen brings us Whiny Little Bitch: The Excuse Filled Presidency of Barack Obama.  Folks, I haven't laughed this hard in years.  I discovered it one morning this week while doing my normal online routine.  I work in Sales and spend a lot of time on the road in my territory.  My work day technically starts around 8am or just before.  The time leading up to that I usually spend in a bagel shop over coffee, doing needed paperwork for sales I'm proposing or have just sold.  If I'm caught up on paperwork, coffee shop time before 8 is my time to peruse the blogs and catch up on current events.  Jim Treacher made a reference to a book on Amazon, and the "you might also enjoy" links pointed to Whiny.  When I saw the cover art, I chuckled out loud and was instantly intrigued.  Folks, you have to click on the "Look Inside" link and read this.  Rather than take the time to quote Cullen, just read the sample pages.  Make sure your bladder is empty and you are ok with making a spectacle of yourself if you do so in public.  Cullen is a masterful writer; his prose is very simple and his sense of humor is merciless.  I read the sample pages at the coffee shop and just couldn't control the laughter.   People were staring at me asking if I was ok; I blew through a pile of napkins blowing my nose and wiping away the tears.  I can't remember laughing so hard in my life.  For a guy that loves America, American Greatness and Exceptionalism, and has suffered the hell of the most destructive politician in recent memory, it was Chicken Soup for the Soul.  If you are as annoyed by Obama, his ego untouched by his ignorance, his destructiveness, his class warfare, and his sycophantic worshipers, this book will be a treat.  I do disagree with Cullen on one point: he gives the President too much credit.  Cullen says: "Rule #1 - Barack Obama is not Stupid".  I don't know if I'd call him Stupid; Clueless is more accurate.  Cullen is a lot like Limbaugh in that he thinks a lot of the damage Obama does to America is intentional.  I disagree.  In my mind, he's Clueless.  He doesn't have a clue about how business functions.  He doesn't have a sound grasp of human nature.  He doesn't understand wealth.  He doesn't understand what has lead to American Greatness.  And to compound the problem, he surrounds himself with equally clueless advisors, worshipers and other elements of his inner circle (Valerie Jarrett, Jeremiah Wright, the list is endless) that feed his ego and reinforce his ignorance.  Obama, I think, really did think that his Stimulus would bring the economy roaring back.  When it didn't, he did so much of what other narcissists do: double down on his narcissism.  Run to his confidants and get them to reassure him that he IS the Second Coming.  Then run out and offer something ELSE destructive.  When that blows up, run back to the confidants for an ego refill.  This, I'm convinced, is the life and times of the 44th president.  I'm sure Cullen agrees on this much: lets hope his term as President ends very soon.  Good stuff, great read.