Do you find yourself being especially careful with non-essential purchases these days? In an economy as weak and volatile as ours, many who are employed are thinking twice about whether a particular purchase is really necessary.
Well, that kind of thinking is — as it were — foreign to the United States Department of State. To Hillary and American embassies around the world, there’s one luxury they wouldn’t dream cutting back on: buying books by Barack Obama.
The Washington Times—although of course, not The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times — is reporting an appalling waste of your and my money. Truly appalling:
The State Department has bought more than $70,000 worth of books authored by President Obama, sending out copies as Christmas gratuities and stocking “key libraries” around the world with “Dreams From My Father” more than a decade after its release.
The U.S. Embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama’s best-selling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order for the same book for more than $9,000, federal purchasing records show.
About the same time, halfway around the world, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea had the same idea and spent more than $6,000 for copies of “Dreams From My Father.”
A review of the expenditures in a federal database did not reveal any examples of State Department purchases of books by former Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The purchases of Mr. Obama’s literary work mostly, but not always, took place in the months after Mr. Obama captured the White House.
Hardcover! Not even the less-costly paperbacks! Do I sound irate? You betcha. I’m careful of how many purchases I make, but our Dear Leader’s State Department thinks the most important American book to have been published since Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac is Dreams From My Father? They can’t be serious. Obviously, they’re not serious, but Leslie Page is:
Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group, said if the federal government is looking to cut costs, eliminating purchases of Mr. Obama’s books is a good place to start.
“It’s inappropriate for U.S. taxpayer dollars to be spent on this,” she said. “This sounds like propaganda.”
But State Department spokesman Noel Clay said the book purchases followed regular government procurement rules. He said diplomats have long used books as a way to help broker talks on important foreign-policy matters.
“The structure and the presidency of the United States is an integral component of representing the United States overseas,” Mr. Clay said. “We often use books to engage key audiences in discussions of foreign policy.”
“He said diplomats have long used books as a way to help broker talks on important foreign-policy matters,” says the State Department spokesman. The books that have been used in the past for these purposes were books such as Samuel Huntigton’s The Clash of Civilizations and other serious books on American foreign policy.
That anyone in our federal government could imagine that the questionably-authored book about Barack Obama’s dreams from his father could in any way “facilitate” a serious discussion on American foreign policy is an abomination. In conclusion: aaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh.