Unmasking Iran’s Man in the White House
Rob Malley’s long government career as the Obama-Biden Iran guru has hit the wall – but how did his security misstep (or worse) get discovered in the first place?
For everything there is a season, says the Good Book. At the beginning of 2017, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow published Rising Star, a weighty biography of President Barack Obama, just as he was leaving the Oval Office after two terms. A meticulous scholar, Garrow could not be accused of any animus towards his subject. As a man of the Left and biographer of Martin Luther King, Jr., Garrow was well positioned to assess Obama’s place in history.
However, Garrow is an impressive researcher and he spent nearly a decade on his Obama biography. He executed a deep dive into Obama’s life and career which previous biographers avoided, interviewing many of the president’s friends, acquaintances, and past lovers. As a result, the mainstream media and establishment authors broadly hated the book, since it did not comport with Obama’s carefully crafted self-image, which Garrow unmasked as essentially a fraud.
As a result, while Garrow’s biography sold well it didn’t make much of an impression on the public. Yet, this week, Tablet ran a lengthy interview with Garrow about his Obama findings, and this article has gone viral in a fashion his book didn’t. Six-and-a-half years later, it created a splash. Perhaps the public is ready to hear some unflattering things about the former president; or maybe Obama’s gatekeepers have decided a bit of truth can now be allowed amplification.
Garrow’s portrayal of Obama cannot be termed edifying. His subject is “not normal—as in not a normal politician or a normal human being,” as his biographer framed it. Although Garrow has respect for Obama’s capabilities, there’s no avoiding that he views the former president as a conman of sorts, whose public image is at odds with the man behind the mask. The real Obama comes across as manipulative and contemptuous of the public, in Garrow’s telling, which depicts his presidency as less successful (and less progressive) than the media portrayed it.
The media plays a big part in Garrow’s narrative, sub rosa, since the conformist incuriosity of establishment journalists facilitated Obama’s rise while obscuring his true nature and background. Obama created a pleasing-to-liberals story about himself, told in two semi-autobiographies published before he ran for the White House, which the media lapped up uncritically. Some of Garrow’s revelations, for instance that a young Obama was quite curious about sex with men, were dismissed as kook-Right “conspiracy theories” for years, which enabled the media to avoid discussing such matters.
One of Garrow’s more interesting points is that Obama, who has stayed in Washington, DC, after leaving office, something that’s highly unusual, is in many ways the hidden hand guiding the Biden White House. It’s no secret that many key posts in the current administration, indeed most of the top ones, are held by Obama retreads. If cadres decide everything, per Stalin’s famous mantra about bureaucracy, then the Biden administration can be fairly looked at as Obama’s third term.
This has significant implications for current policy, particularly in foreign affairs. Here Garrow briefly mentions Rob Malley, Obama’s point man for the Iran Deal, which was the president’s signature accomplishment abroad. Garrow terms it “offensive and puzzling,” given that it assisted the mullah’s authoritarian and anti-Semitic regime, while explaining Obama’s obsession with the Iran Deal because “for Barack, everything has to be a success. Everything has to be a victory.”
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