Matt Margolis is an author I met on Gab. He contacted me about doing an interview to promote his book which he wrote with Mark Noonan called “The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama”. The book is available now and after you read what he had to say I think you’ll want to pick up a copy. He Gabs at gab.ai/mattmargolis
- So tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from and where did you grow up? Tell us whether you came from an overtly political family or were they part of that fifty percent of Americans who simply don’t care about politics?
A: I honestly did not become politically active until after the 2000 election. But, once I did, I really got active relatively quickly. I honestly can’t remember much active political talk in my family until after that point, and even then, it took a while. I did register to vote on my 18th birthday, but that was more out of civic duty than any political motivation.
- Were you always an Obama critic or did you have to come to the conclusion that he was not doing a good job as a president gradually?
A: As a presidential candidate, Obama promised to be a uniter who would work across the aisle to get business done. I never expected him to follow through on his promise, and it was clear from the beginning of his presidency that I was right. Some of the most consequential legislation from his first years in office (e.g. The Stimulus and Obamacare) were passed on partisan lines. He didn’t reach out to Republicans because he didn’t have to. Even after Republicans took back the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 his calculus never changed. Instead of working with Congress to achieve bipartisan support via compromise he threatened to use and actually used executive actions to enact his agenda that had no chance of getting through Congress.
- What made you decide to write your book? And why now would we need a book proclaiming that Obama is the worst president in US history?
A: The book never would have happened if Obama hadn’t won reelection in 2012. It simply blew my mind that Obama could have been re-elected given the terrible shape the country was still in. It occurred to me then that if a majority of voters were willing ignore his record and give him four more years that we actually had bigger, a long-term problem to address: Obama’s legacy in the history books. Political correctness not only propelled him to the presidency but it also gave him a second term despite a record of failure that would have doomed any other president. What will the history books say about him? What is my son–who is almost three years old now–likely to learn about Barack Obama when he’s in school? I am greatly concerned about what younger generations are going to learn about his presidency. If we don’t get the facts straightened out now, we’re likely to make a similar mistake in the future.
- By publishing your book at the end of his presidency you’ve got the opportunity to survey the entirety of his policies. What do you think is his most significant failure as a president, both internally and externally?
A: Obama has always been an extremist, but I think what really set the tone for his entire presidency was his taking office with a supermajority in Congress. He had both the House and Senate on his side, and when that rubber stamp was taken away from him by the voters he didn’t adjust his goals or water down his agenda to be more palatable to the American people, he went full steam ahead. Remember, he’s the one who said, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” In Obama’s head, the ends justify the means, even if the means are essentially unconstitutional. I think it was his “I’ll go at it alone if I have to” approach to governing that was his most significant failure, rather than any one piece of legislation or decision he made.
- Proclaiming that Obama is the worst president in US history is a big claim. Who else falls on the list of presidential failures and for what reasons?
A: It’s a very big claim, and it’s an important discussion to have. Right now, it seems any debate about Obama quickly devolves into: “If you disagree with Obama you’re racist.” This kind of reaction to legitimate criticism is not healthy for our country. There have been plenty of failed presidencies, and many people will suggest presidents like James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover, and Andrew Johnson are at the top of the list. While many of these past presidents are faulted for one or a few serious failures, character flaws, or misdeeds, I think when we look at the totality of Obama’s presidency, whether you believe his failures were by design or a reflection of incompetence, that history’s ultimate assessment of him will be extremely negative.
- Calling Obama terrible is a common sentiment on the American right. But he has also been quietly criticized as out of touch and ineffective in pursuing a progressive agenda by some on the left. Where do you fall on the political spectrum?
A: I’m very much a conservative, but I should say that the arguments made against Barack Obama in my book are not rooted in partisan disagreement. Each point made is an assessment of his actions and their results.
- What are the challenges the newly elected Trump administration will have to face that were either put in place by the Obama administration, or that were magnified by his policies?
A: Trump needs to mend fences in the Republican Party first, which it seems like he’s doing now. But, to be successful, he also to govern more like Bush 43 than Obama. As much as conservatives won’t like to hear this, Trump has to reach out to the Democrats to get things done. George W. Bush proved that if you reach out across the aisle and give the other side a seat at the table, you can accomplish your agenda with bipartisan support.
- Are you hopeful for a Trump administration? What do you see as the right’s biggest obstacle going forward in the post-Obama years?
A: Absolutely. I admittedly was not on the Trump Train until pretty much the 11th hour, but his victory gives me hope that much of the damage done by Obama can be fixed. But perhaps the bigger prize is at least one, and as many as three, Supreme Court picks.
- On that same note, what are some of the topics you would like to see the Trump administration address before 2018? What makes those topics any more urgent than another?
A: The obvious ones: Obamacare and immigration. Obamacare must be repealed and replaced. We need stronger border security, and we have to stop the flow of unvetted so-called refugees into this country.
- Are you a well-read person in the topic of biography? I know your book was number one in that category on Amazon. Is this something you enjoy reading or did you happen to get called into the field by virtue of the fact that you were writing about an American president?
A: Honestly, no. But, I’ve definitely become increasingly interesting in historical books. David McCullough’s 1776 and The Wright Brothers are two books in particular I’ve recently read that I just loved. There’s a lot we can learn from history if we’re willing to.
- What makes for a good solid biography? What do you like to see in the book?
A: When I read about history and historical figures, I am always fascinated by how such small things can change the course of history. How weather one day can affect not just one battle but the entire direction of a war. How an illness or accident can actually facilitate an innovation that can change the world.
- Let’s talk a little about writing itself. Do you have plans for another book in the works? What is generally interesting to you today? What are you currently reading?
A: Right now, my focus is on promoting this book. The Worst President in History was written with a long-term goal in mind, and so my mission continues even though Obama will be out of office soon. I want people to understand why his presidency was bad for our country. Future books aren’t out of the question, though.
After Trump was elected, and many on the left were up-in-arms over the Electoral College, I read Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College by Tara Ross. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, but felt in the wake of the election it was important to read now because too many people are doubting the brilliance of the Electoral College.
- Your book has been very successful on Amazon garnering a mostly positive rating. But there is a kind of inverted Bell curve histogram on your reviews. They are either five star or one star. How do you deal with the notion that people are down rating your work because they disagree with you and probably didn’t read the book?
A: It happens to the best of us. Once you filter out the reviews that aren’t by verified buyers, it’s pretty much all 5-star ratings. When I read those positive reviews, it makes me feel good knowing that a lot of people feel that the book was valuable to them. The bogus 1-star ratings only prove to me that I’m doing something right.
- Where do you see independent media going in the future? Is Gab the future of social media? What led you to Gab in the first place?
A: Independent media is definitely forcing the mainstream media to change. They haven’t fully started adapting yet, but they probably will. The same goes with publishing. My book is self-published. My co-author and I agreed it wasn’t worth trying to go the traditional publishing route with this book because it would have taken them too long to get the book on the shelves. We clearly made the right decision, as we’ve sold thousands of books with little investment of our own.
Gab is a great place with a ton of potential. While social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook become increasingly hostile to free speech, alternatives like Gab are bound to give them necessary competition that will either force Facebook and Twitter to adapt, or suffer the consequences.
- Gab has a really large community of authors, both you and I included. What do you think drives authors to Gab so quickly? And has been your experience interacting with other authors on the site?
A: As an author, connecting with readers is an amazing thing. And we should always find every manner possible to find new readers and connect with old ones. Doing that can go a long way towards your book’s success, and Gab is the latest and greatest outlet for doing that. It should only get better.
I know other authors on Gab, but I most engage with readers at the moment, but I look forward to interacting with authors as well!
- What inspires you?
A: This book was inspired by a sense of purpose. I felt there was a need for a thorough examination of Obama’s presidency for the benefit of future generations. Politics is a nasty business and there are plenty of times I would love to get out of the fray and enjoy not being a part of it. And I probably would if someone else had written this book before my co-author and I decided to. Feeling that call to create something that is necessary for telling a story that isn’t or potentially won’t be told is what inspired me to take this project on and work hard to get the information in it in the hands of as many people as possible. After eight years Obama, we finally have a chance to take our country back, it’s just unfortunate that the effort is necessary because he should have never been trusted with the most important job in the world in the first place.