Newsweek's Zakaria Warns His Colleague Alter's Book Is 'Unabashedly Pro-Obama'
CNN host and Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria concluded his program Sunday with some blatant commercial plugs -- first, for his show's nifty GPS mugs, now on sale at the CNN online store, and second, for his Newsweek colleague Jonathan Alter's book. He warned the book is "unabashedly pro-Obama," and Zakaria ought to know, since he gauzily endorsed Obama on CNN late in the 2008 race.
Now as I do every week, I want to recommend a book. This week it's Jonathan Alter's "The Promise." a narrative of President Obama's first year in office. Now I should warn you, it's unabashedly pro-Obama, so it might not be everybody's cup of tea -- get it? Tea Party?
But if you feel like you want to be right there in the West Wing, thanks to interviews with top officials in the White House, this book will take you there. He's talked to the president himself, and there's a fascinating story in it about Obama's searing anger at the Pentagon for boxing him in on Afghanistan. I won't spoil it for you. Just pick up the book.
It's nice to know that the powers that be at Newsweek are absolutely clear about who they favor. There's an increasingly small number of Newsweek readers who haven't figured out the magazine seems more like Salesweek when it comes to Obama.
Is the Pentagon anger a new story? Not exactly. But in an interview with the alternative newspaper Creative Loafing, Alter does make Obama sound very huffy about being second-guessed by generals and defense secretaries:
To me the most compelling totally unknown story was that in the middle of these intense meetings on what to do about Afghanistan, there was what the White House considered to be insubordination on the part of the military. And they were jamming the President, boxing him in, and when I asked the President about it, he said, “I can neither confirm nor deny that I was jammed by the Pentagon.” Which you and I know means in our business that is a rather striking statement to make, but what’s really unusual is what he did about it. He hauled Admiral Mullen and Robert Gates into the Oval Office and he dressed them down. He was “extremely unhappy “ with the Pentagon’s behavior and that he wanted to know “here and now” that the behavior would change because it was doing a “disservice” to our men and women in uniform.
Which folks in the National Security Council say was the most direct confrontation between the president and the military since Truman fired McArthur in 1951, and you can look over at the long relationship between the president and the military whether it’s LBJ and General Westmoreland, or Bush senior and General Schwartzkopf and you won’t find anything as intense as this, and I think it was Obama’s way of saying, ”don’t toy with me, I’m young, I’m a Democrat, I haven’t been in uniform…don’t think you’re going to box me in before the policy has been determined.”