In the annals of literary atrocity, few political biographies in recent years have ranked as low as Edward Klein’s The Truth About Hillary, a thinly sourced, seemingly fabricated book-length screed that inspired revulsion even among people who dislike the Clintons. The most memorable review of that book appeared in the New York Post, where John Podhoretz described it as “one of the most sordid volumes I’ve ever waded through.” (Sadly, the Post appears to have taken down Podhoretz’s column, possibly the best essay he ever wrote.)
Like many other conservatives, Podhoretz was particularly revolted by Klein’s invention of a “rape” perpetrated by Bill Clinton on his “lesbian” wife to impregnate her, which he attributed to a pair of anonymous sources.
Now this same author has resurfaced with a similarly dubious biography of Barack and Michelle Obama, titled The Amateur and replete with sensational charges designed to entice the dimmest Obama-hating boobs into bookstores. Klein’s most recent book was a “novel,” promoted as veiled fact, that regurgitated favorite far-right myths about the president in the “birther” vein.
That Klein would disgrace himself yet again is hardly shocking, given the long bibliography of junk journalism under his byline. What is more troubling is to see new organs that have expressed deep skepticism about Klein– notably including the New York Post – are nevertheless promoting his Obama book, along with the usual suspects at the Drudge Report, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and Fox News. It is possible that the 2012 campaign is scraping bottom early, or it may be a sign of desperation that portends even worse.