I keep telling my wife it’s not my fault that I’ve blown $100 million with those negative ads against Mitt Romney — and yet despite all the sliming, he’s pulled ahead of me in the polls.
But Miche won’t listen to my excuses.
Instead, she gives me her death stare and complains that the wheels have come off my campaign. She reminds me that my approval ratings are underwater: 49 percent of Americans disapprove of the job I’m doing and only 47 percent approve. If the election is a referendum on my record, Miche says, I’m in deep doo-doo. I’ve got to make Romney radioactive.
As if I didn’t know all that already.
When Miche starts talking that way, I can always tell what she’s thinking: What happened to The One, the Black Jesus, and the Platonic philosopher king we’ve been seeking for the past 2,400 years? Where did that guy go?
I’ve learned that it’s no use arguing with Miche. I just say, “Yes, ma’am.” I don’t mind it that Miche wears the pants in the family. But I can’t handle her rejection. Her attitude reminds me of the time I tried to quit smoking and her brother Craig was asked by a reporter if I used a nicotine patch, and Craig cracked, “Michelle Obama — that’s one hell of a patch right there!’”
I’ve tried to explain to Miche that I’ve done everything Axe and the Chicago campaign gang have asked of me. I’ve pandered to Hispanics by granting green cards to 800,000 of their kids who came here illegally. I’ve come out in favor of gay marriage to get campaign donations from the LGBT community. I’ve abandoned running the executive branch of the government in order to travel around the country and hold fundraisers.
I’ve clocked more than 100 fundraisers since the campaign began — double the number W. had held at this same time in the 2004 presidential race. But despite Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour, the fat cats on Wall Street are sitting on their wallets, and I can’t keep up with Mitt on the money front. He’s going to bury me in dollars.
I wouldn’t say this in public, but I think a big part of my job-approval problem is my consigliere in the White House, Valerie Jarrett. She sent me to Solyndra, just before it went bankrupt, and to Copenhagen to lobby in favor of Chicago getting the 2016 Olympics. I came home from both of those trips with egg on my face.
Every time I’ve tried to compromise with the Republicans on the budget or deficit reduction, Valerie and Miche remind me that the reason I ran for president was to spread the wealth around and put a cap on capitalism.
I should have gotten rid of Valerie a long time ago, but she’s Miche’s best friend. Valerie runs the White House like it was Skull and Bones — nobody can get in without her say-so. She froze out Oprah, and now the most admired woman in America has refused to campaign for me.
I don’t see how any of the bad things that have happened to me are my fault. As I tell my campaign audiences, if you want someone to blame, phone Midland, Texas, and ask for W.
People say I’ve lost my mojo. But is it my fault that Scott Walker won the recall election in Wisconsin and knocked the stuffing out of the Democratic Party’s union base? Is it my fault that Eric Holder has gotten his knickers in the ringer with Congress?
So I make one gaffe at a campaign stop and say that people who’ve got a business didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen, and suddenly the mainstream media comes down on me with both feet. Time magazine’s Joe Klein compares my campaign to Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton smear campaign, and The New York Times’ Tom Friedman says I don’t have any big ideas. Have those guys forgotten that they’re supposed to be in the tank for me?
As if all this wasn’t bad enough, my crazy old pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has surfaced in a new book called “The Amateur.” In a three-hour tape-recorded interview, Wright said that I tried to silence him during the 2008 campaign. Duh. What else was I supposed to do?
Then, to make matters worse, Bill Clinton has strayed off the reservation and praised Mitt’s performance at Bain Capital as “sterling” and said that Mitt has the credentials to make a fine president. I get Bill’s game: He wants me to lose in 2012 so that Hillary will have a sitting Republican president to run against in 2016.
Well, I’ve got news for Bill. If I lose this election, I’m going to come back and run in 2016 and whup Hillary in the primaries all over again. That’ll show him.
And that’ll show Miche, too.
Edward Klein, author of “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House,” is a New York Times bestselling author of numerous books including “The Truth About Hillary.” He is the former foreign editor of Newsweek, former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine, and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair.