The Obama Diaries, a new book by Laura Ingraham, is a combination. It's partially a satirical set of fictional "diaries" attributed to figures such as President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the first lady. And it's partially a straightforward text in the voice of Ms. Ingraham, a radio talk show host and former Supreme Court law clerk.
Occasionally, the humor of the diaries seeps into the straightforward part. One's taste for either part will depend in part on how much one appreciates jokes made at the expense of the appearance of Democratic women elected officials.
At one point Ms. Ingraham writes that "the long-cherished vision of America becomes almost unrecognizable — like Nancy Pelosi after a long Botox session." She has another character, David Axelrod, write in his diary, "My hair is falling out so fast the shower drain looks like Janet Napolitano's back." She has Vice President Biden write in his diary, " I still have nightmares about running into Mikulski in the Senate gym. And have you ever seen Patty Murray at 5 a.m. in spandex on a recumbent bike? Forget about debating the terror trial location, show that picture to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and he'll execute himself."
Elsewhere in the book Ms. Ingraham writes of the "corrosive" effects of "pop culture." "It is up to each of us — myself included — to work against the coarsening of the culture," she writes. Perhaps her defense here will be that that the fault lies not with herself but with Mr. Axelrod and Mr. Biden; all she's doing is exposing their "diaries" to public light after a mystery source handed them to her in the Watergate parking garage.
Many of the complaints Ms. Ingraham makes about Mr. Obama will be familiar to most political conservatives. He apologizes for America too much while abroad. He and his wife "are, at their core, elitist snobs."
Others of the complaints may come as something of a surprise. At one point she has First Grandmother Marian Robinson (Michelle Obama's mother, who lives in the White House) fault the president for missing "Malia's poetry night." She also faults Michelle Obama for deplaning Air Force One in "dingy short shorts" and complains that the first lady shares too much unflattering personal information about the president (he does not replace toilet paper rolls). President Obama's father is criticized for having lots of children with lots of different women. The Obamas are criticized for not finding a church to attend regularly in Washington, while the president's parents are described as atheists.
Ms. Ingraham faults the president for not wearing a necktie, and she makes the case that Mr. Obama is afflicted with what psychologists call narcissistic personality disorder.
When Ms. Ingraham does focus on the substance, she can be dead on.
Her example of wasteful "stimulus" spending includes $6 million "to two PR firms run by Hillary Clinton's pollster, Mark Penn, to promote awareness of the switch to digital TV."
Her example of press adulation toward Mr. Obama is an actual Washington Post news article describing the president-elect while on vacation in Hawaii: "The sun glinted off his chiseled pectorals."
Even when she aims not at the president's policies but at the personalities around him, she can be withering. She notes, for example, Michelle Obama's claim as part of her Olympics sales pitch that "Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad's lap, cheering on Olga and Nadia, Carl Lewis, and others for their brilliance and perfection." Ms. Ingraham notes, "If you believe this story, Michelle's father must have had a very strong lap. As Michelle Malkin pointed out, Mrs. Obama was twenty years old when Carl Lewis won the gold in 1984!"
Giving Democratic politicians the benefit of the doubt isn't something Ms. Ingraham doet much, if at all. Joseph Biden is described as "the pro-abortion vice president" with no mention of his four Senate votes in favor of banning partial-birth abortion.
In terms of the craft of book-making, this one is remarkable for the quick turnaround time. Sections of the text comment on President Obama's activities on May 27, 2010, and on Paul McCartney's June 2, 2010 White House appearance — no mean feat for a book that appeared in stores in mid-July.
Ms. Ingraham approaches the entire project with an element of self-deprecating humor and zest. Toward the end of the book, she writes, "for those of you who are simply flipping though this book at the store — proceed to the checkout counter at once." She goes on to refer to her sympathetic readers as "happy warriors" who, "with joyful hearts: can "show future generations an example of how free people can defend their interests and preserve their country."
The Democrats, having elected the author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big, Fat, Idiot, to the Senate, will be hypocrites if they criticize Ms. Ingraham for making fun of Senator Murray's looks. My own view, as someone who shares Ms. Ingraham's stated desire for a happy and joyful defense of freedom, is that it'd be happier and more joyful if it didn't involve making fun of anyone's looks. After all, not all politicians are fortunate enough to be endowed with Mr. Obama's chiseled pectorals, or whatever their feminine equivalent may be.