The Final Word -- Right at the Beginning

With the release of Michelle Malkin's book on the Obama administration - a seminal moment we noted in a posting last week - the political book wars have begun in earnest.

Malkin's conservative tome carries the unambiguous title: "Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies." Hers follows another not-so-subtle offering from Dick Morris: "Catastrophe - How Obama, Congress and the Special Interests Are Transforming a Slump Into a Crash, Freedom Into Socialism, and a Disaster Into a Catastrophe ... and How to Fight Back."

The literary drum beat from the right has kept up a steady rhythm for months now. In June, Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change" came out in paperback. "Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine" also was released in paperback in June.

The bashing of liberalism and Obama, in particular, got Bill Maher to put on his funny man's hat last week. On his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedian expressed surprise at how quickly the publishing world has turned out comprehensive evaluations of a barely formed presidency. "He's been in office, our president, for six months, and there is also, or there is already a book by Michelle Malkin," Maher said.

He seemed genuinely astonished that a book like Malkin's could be written so quickly. Didn't it have to be researched for several months? And wasn't there a lag time in getting it into print? All that might go back at least, what, six months? So how much time did she allow for her assessment of Obama in the White House? If Malkin could write a comprehensive analysis of the Obama presidency based on, say, his first 15 minutes on the job, well, there had to be other titles with similar aspirations.

Maher dug them up for his audience.

"Look at some of these other books that I think really are a little premature," he said.

Jonah Goldberg's "Failure: Why the Obama Girls Never Amounted to Anything."

Rush Limbaugh's "Clownfall: How Al Franken Destroyed the Senate, Bankrupted Minnesota, and Ruined Ice Fishing Forever."

Ann Coulter's "Sh-tfaced: Obama's Pathetic Descent Into Alcoholism."

That one comes with a photo of the beer summit.

By Steven E. Levingston |  August 4, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
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Funny how those book title are so long. It's like the old books on my bookshelf whose official titles are almost complete sentences. I feel by the time I get done reading the title, I've read more than I want to about the book simply because of the attitude it conveys. Do I really want to read a book that throws a lot of qualifiers in the way of making its actual point?

Posted by: Reesha | August 4, 2009 10:44 AM

Funny how conservative books can become best sellers and only get mocking reviews in the liberal media (and not in the book review pages). I guess its fair. We conservatives don't spend any money reading your rag and you liberals don't review the books we're reading (and paying for).

I wonder what your book advance will be.

Posted by: georgegjones | August 5, 2009 11:09 PM

Posted by: StewartIII | August 6, 2009 12:20 AM

Bill Maher? I believe he was bashing the Bush administration 10 minutes after the inauguration. Comedians tend to lack credibility, especially Bill.....

Posted by: deano61 | August 6, 2009 8:06 AM

ah what's the matter steven, little jealous that you have 5 readers in the voices section of a dying newspapers blog while some conservatives are making millions writing books? it's okay, there's a teddy bear in the corner you can snuggle with.

Posted by: permagrin | August 6, 2009 8:38 AM

Apparently, Maher forgot to observe, that Obama has produced two autobiographies, before he has actually accomplished anything, worth mentioning, in life. I guess Michelle Malkin was just taking her lead, from the Dear Leader.

Posted by: Royd3 | August 6, 2009 8:41 AM

And of course William Jefferson was convicted yesterday. Remember him? Left Wing Media forgot him.

Posted by: dencal26 | August 6, 2009 8:42 AM

Bill Maher's a "comedian" right? Does anyone really take this clown seriously?? When writing Culture of Corruption Michelle Malkin did her homework and "calls a spade a bloody shovel" when it comes to this joke of an administration led by the "community-organzier-in-chief" and all his non-elected czars. Her focus is on the history of all the crooks who supported Obama's election and how they are now being "rewarded." Corruption is an understatement. Funny how quickly he rose to the summit of popularity but is now sinking in the polls like a brick. Can't wait to read Michelle Malkin's sequel, possibly titled: The Rise and Fall of Barack Obama.

Posted by: 4Life1 | August 6, 2009 9:59 AM

"Left-wing media" forgot about Jefferson's conviction, dencal26? Then you must not include the Post as left-wing media, because their story about the conviction is above the fold on page 1. An inconvenient truth, perhaps, but still the truth.

Posted by: timleary_20016 | August 6, 2009 10:47 AM

Bill a "funny man"... now stating he's funny got me laughing but nothing else about him is funny. hmmm except is nose.

Posted by: KareninIndy | August 6, 2009 11:20 AM

We can cool the "amazement" that the book "only took six months to write." Michelle Malkin has been covering Obama and blogging about him ever since he became a visible Presidential candidate. The book is meticulously documented and almost a third of it is footnotes.

Now, if someone will start discussing facts rather than personalities...

Posted by: jaafar1 | August 6, 2009 11:54 AM

A moderates assessment of the blog post and comments herein-

Obama was the first black President of the Harvard Law Review. The first memoir deal came entirely from that fact. The fact that it is Harvard, and the Law Review (a high stature journal for lawyers), and Obama was "the first black to" is why the first book (Dreams From My Father) was merited.

In 2004 Obama was also only the third black person to be elected to the US Senate, the fifth black person ever to serve in the US Senate, the only black Senator at the time. Again, because it is the Senate, and Obama was "the only black member of" is why the second book (The Audacity of Hope) is merited. It helped that the first book was well-written and praised.

At the same time. It is foolish to be astonished at the swiftness of Malkin's book (Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies) with a title that appears to not be a judgement on the administration or Obama's term, but on the men and women he selected (or tried to select as well)... MANY MONTHS AGO. Perhaps, Maher doesn't know much about the men and women who Obama picked for his administration, but others do. And it is perfectly reasonable to expect an assessment of that group this late, yes, late into the adminsitration.

On the other hand, Dick Morris' book (Catastrophe - How Obama, Congress and the Special Interests Are Transforming a Slump Into a Crash, Freedom Into Socialism, and a Disaster Into a Catastrophe ... and How to Fight Back) does appear to be an assessment of Obama's administration. First, one hopes it is poorly titled. "Are Transforming" should be "Will Transform". But based on the title, we can assume it is an assessment of the administration thus far. It's a post-Nostradamus moment for Morris and would have been worthy of ridicule from Maher for this type of book coming out this soon. Yet, Maher ignores it (as far as this post by Levingston is concerned).

Posted by: prokaryote | August 7, 2009 12:19 PM

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