A few times during every presidency comes a negative biography about the sitting commander in chief which compiles every bad single-sourced story about them — usually from fired administration officials now salty about their time in the executive manse — in a single volume that presents the past few years as a failure of epic proportions.
You’ve seen them before — they usually come with titles like “Dereliction of Duty” or “A Pit of Vipers” and do nothing for historical posterity except satiate the faithful.
Normally, they only manage to get some attention in the partisan media, but in the Trump age, they’re Events with a capital-E.
Lest we forget, Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” captivated us for a good month or two even after it became clear it was, in a factual sense, the dodgiest presidential biography since “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
We now have a new entrant in the Trump sweepstakes: “A Very Stable Genius” by Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig of The Washington Post.
Don’t let the provenance fool you. It’s still full of stories like this, according to NBC News: “Before he took a private tour of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii in November 2017, Trump reportedly asked his chief of staff at the time, John Kelly: ‘Hey, John, what’s this all about? What’s this a tour of?'”
Right — and if you buy that this story went down exactly how the book said it did, you’re probably gullible enough to spend $25.99 while this thing’s still in hardcover.
Anyhow, I mention this all because the only upside to the possibility of Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar going to 1600 Pennsylvania is the eventual poison-pen hyperpartisan biography.
I’m trying to come up with the title — I’m so far torn between “Land of 1,000 Fakes” and “A Prairie Home Communist” — but I can tell you with near-absolute certainty the anecdote that will lead the book off.
On Saturday, Klobuchar and other Democratic presidential hopefuls visited the Iowa State Education Association’s legislative conference in Des Moines, according to Reuters.
Klobuchar still has an outside chance in the Hawkeye State, which is good for her, because without a surprise finish there, she’s thoroughly doomed, no matter how many New York Times endorsements she picks up.
Klobuchar’s mom was a public school teacher, which gave her a springboard to tell the audience she would unequivocally fire one of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet members.
“In my first 100 days I have 137 things that I found out you can do without Congress — a president can do herself — that are legal, but I will tell you this, in the first 100 seconds I will fire [Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos,” Klobuchar said.
This got cheers, which seemed odd.
After all, DeVos, like all other members of the Cabinet, is chosen by the president and serves at their pleasure.
Of course Klobuchar would fire DeVos. The Minnesota Democrat doesn’t even have to fire DeVos — if Klobuchar wins the election, she’ll be gone.
All right, though. Maybe this was merely rhetorical.
Reuters reported in the story that “Democrats vying for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination courted Iowa’s teachers on Saturday by promising to oust U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and appoint someone who has taught in public schools.”
Democrats as in, plural.
So clearly, Klobuchar wasn’t the only one.
Maybe this is just symbolic language.
Sure, they don’t need to fire DeVos — but they’re going to fire what she stands for or something like that.
(You know, school choice, breaking the hold teachers’ unions have on public schools, holding teachers accountable, seeking alternatives in cities and towns where the public school system has failed — those sorts of affronts to education.)
We in conservative media should practice what we preach and not take a single utterance at a campaign appearance at a teacher’s union event in the first state to vote too seriously. After all, this–
“Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) in a new ad released Wednesday pledged to fire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos within her first 100 days as president — a likely unnecessary move given that DeVos would depart with sitting president Donald Trump,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“Klobuchar lists various progressive policy wishes in the 30-second spot now airing in Iowa, sandwiching a promise to dismiss DeVos between expanding Veterans Affairs benefits and addressing mental health and addiction.”
OK, forget all that.
“Klobuchar’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment as to why firing DeVos would be necessary, or as to whether Klobuchar would consider keeping any Trump cabinet members, as when President Barack Obama kept on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates from the Bush administration,” the Free Beacon’s David Rutz reported.
Klobuchar’s new ad promises to “fire Betsy DeVos,” which is kind of a no-brainer but also a sign of how unpopular Trump’s Education Secretary is pic.twitter.com/UpU7uMtOOb
— ryan teague beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) January 23, 2020
There are indeed very few reasons for keeping on someone from a previous Cabinet — and usually, it’s a generally nonpartisan person in a sensitive position.
The aforementioned Gates was the defense secretary as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in their most precarious states.
Nobody was going to confuse the guy with Curtis LeMay, and changing horses in mid-stream probably wasn’t advisable.
But if I were DeVos — who’s done amazing work if you’re a conservative and is the most malevolent educator since Professor Umbridge if you’re a liberal — I wouldn’t buy any green bananas for the office if Trump loses the 2020 election.
No matter who the Democratic nominee is, they’ll fire DeVos, along with every other Trump Cabinet member.
What Klobuchar is saying is that she’ll select her own Cabinet.
This qualifies as news in some quarters.
The real news is that she sounds like just realized she can (and should) pick her own Cabinet if she becomes president, which is something she should have learned in high school civics.
Unbelievably, she isn’t the only candidate who’s made this kind of mistake.
Answering a set of questions from The New York Times in June, while he was still in the presidential race, California Rep. Eric Swalwell said, when commenting on the Middle East peace process, that “I’m going to fire Jared Kushner on Day 1, because he has no business being on the job of seeking a two-state solution or finding peace in the Middle East. It requires serious scholars and a serious leader committed to making it happen.”
A serious scholar, of course, would have realized Kushner was Donald Trump’s son-in-law and wouldn’t be hanging around the White House for more than five minutes after his father-in-law had departed.
Maybe Swalwell should have hired a few of those scholars on his road to the White House, but I digress.
Thankfully, we won’t have to countenance any White House biographies about Eric Swalwell — which means the title “Like Nukes for Guns” will sadly go unused, at least for now.
As for Klobuchar, unfortunately, that possibility still hangs in the air.
The good news is that when the authors need the embarrassing anecdote to start the thing off, they don’t need to rely on a single-sourced allegation.
All they have to do is look for the commercial.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.