Audacity

Audacity

How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created A Legacy That Will Prevail

Book - 2017
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"An unassailable case that, in the eyes of history, Barack Obama will be viewed as one of America's best and most accomplished presidents. Over the course of eight years, Barack Obama has amassed an array of outstanding achievements. His administration saved the American economy from collapse, expanded health insurance to millions who previously could not afford it, negotiated an historic nuclear deal with Iran, helped craft a groundbreaking international climate accord, reined in Wall Street and crafted a new vision of racial progress. He has done all of this despite a left that frequently disdained him as a sellout, and a hysterical right that did everything possible to destroy his agenda even when they agreed with what he was doing. Now, as the page turns to our next Commander in Chief, Jonathan Chait, acclaimed as one of the most incisive and meticulous political commentators in America, digs deep into Obama's record on major policy fronts--economics, the environment, domestic reform, health care, race, foreign policy, and civil rights--to demonstrate why history will judge our forty-fourth president as among the greatest in history. Audacity does not shy away from Obama's failures, most notably in foreign policy. Yet Chait convincingly shows that President Obama has accomplished what candidate Obama said he would, despite overwhelming opposition--and that the hopes of those who voted for him have not been dashed despite the smokescreen of extremist propaganda and the limits of short-term perspective"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Custom House,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9780062426970
0062426974
Characteristics: xxii, 240 pages :,illustration

Opinion

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j
jimg2000
Mar 22, 2017

... the imprint of Obama’s climate legacy is everywhere – rows of houses covered in panels, wind turbines stretching across the plains, glistening new solar power plants arising in the desert.
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Obama will remain the president who launched the green energy revolution in the United States and forged the first international agreement on climate change.
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But as the scientific case for climate change hardened, environmentalists filed suit to force the EPA to regulate carbon emissions like other pollutants. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in the environmentalists’ favor. In 2008, the agency officially deemed carbon dioxide a pollutant, and sent its finding to the White House. The Bush administration refused to open the email, thus, incredibly, running out the clock on any legal obligation on its own part.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Samples of quotes, most from the latter parts of the book which are more interesting to me:

Robert Draper identified “the central critique” of the Obama presidency as being “far better versed in hopey-changey atmospherics and cutting-edge campaign tactics than in actual governing.”
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A remarkably substantial number of critics and saddened supporters alike have described Obama and his era as a time of unfulfilled promise, poetry without prose.
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Mortal threats to Obama’s presidency have included the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the swine flu epidemic, the Christmas underwear bomber, the IRS scandal, healthcare.org, and the Central American refugee crisis, among many others (Ebola, Boston/Orlando ...) Depending on how you keep count, upwards of nineteen events have been described as “Obama’s Katrina.” In April 2014, at a time Obama had publicly beseeched his critics to consider the long run, the crisis of the moment was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ...

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Most Americans, that is, oppose big government in the abstract but favor it in the particular. They oppose “regulation” and “spending,” but favor, say, enforcement of clean-air laws and Social Security.
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Previous generations of Americans knew times when it seemed impossible to imagine slavery might be abolished, women given the right to vote, business subject to any government regulation.
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White America had come to see the Democratic Party’s domestic agenda as a transfer of resources from the white middle class to the black poor. Violent crime shot upward, starting in the 1960s, a trend that continued into the 1990s. Whites fled cities for the suburbs, and many of them came to associate African-Americans with welfare, which became a synecdoche for laziness and unearned entitlement. Ronald Reagan regaled audiences with stories about a “welfare queen” driving a Cadillac, or a “strapping young buck” who used food stamps to buy steak while “you were waiting in line to buy hamburger.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

McConnell knew that most Americans have little time to follow the intricacies of the policy debate, and instead take their cues from indirect signals. Bipartisan agreement provides one such important signal. If the two parties seem to agree on a bill, it implies the idea is broadly acceptable and moderate. If they disagree, it sends a signal that something with the bill is wrong.
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Bolsheviks, Rand constructed a worldview that turned the ideology of her Bolshevik tormentors upside down. Recapitulating the methodology of the Marxists she so despised, Rand believed that politics boiled down to a struggle between two opposing economic classes, in her vision one that created all wealth (the makers), and the other that stole it (the takers). Rand identified the producer class and the parasite class as the opposite of how the Marxists did: the producers were the capitalists, the parasites the workers.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Theda Skocpol, a Harvard sociologist, conducted a detailed study of Tea Party activists and discovered that they saw themselves beset by parasitic Democrats. “Along with illegal immigrants,” she wrote, “low-income Americans and young people loom large as illegitimate consumers of public benefits and services.” The Tea Party activists also felt gripped with “anxieties about racial, ethnic, and generational changes in American society.” Stanley Greenberg held extensive focus group discussions with Tea Party voters in 2013 ... Their most intense belief held that Obama had used the power of expanded government to build a majority voting coalition of racial minorities, those on welfare and food stamps, those soon to be legalized via immigration reform, those getting free health care, and the like. They were “very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities.”...

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Rather than attack government for being unworkable or too large and proposing to shrink it, as good Reagan Republicans customarily do, he attacked it for being allegedly run by morons and promised to solve all problems by having it be run by his own great business genius. Trump promised to protect every cent of Social Security and Medicare. He cravenly exploited the bigotry of the Republican electorate, even mocking their gullibility. (“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” he boasted at one point.) Trump’s appeal stripped away the illusions about just what made so many Americans pull the Republican lever for so long. “If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support,” editorialized National Review in January 2016, well before Trump’s nomination seemed inevitable, “what would that say about conservatives?”

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Trump was the very incarnation of every value abhorrent to the Obama coalition, the anti-Obama incarnate—loud, impulsive, ignorant, intolerant, backward-looking. Trump’s racism, misogyny, and contempt for expertise offended college-educated voters, racial minorities, and feminists, among others. And the America that saw itself in Trump’s vision rather than Obama’s was dying off. In its desperation to stop Obama, the conservatives had signed their own demographic death warrant. Yes, Trump did win the Electoral College. In the wake of his triumph, jubilant Republicans boasted that the country had rejected Obama at last. Paul Ryan called Trump’s election “a repudiation of the status quo of failed liberal progressive policies” and “a mandate”—a bizarre description of an election in which his party finished second in the national vote.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Clinton failed to carry the Electoral College for a combination of reasons attributable largely to her personal image, rather than her association with the popular incumbent. Her poor decision to use a private email server received more news coverage than all policy issues combined, creating for her an image of indelible untrustworthiness that made many voters rule her out. Clinton was unable to overcome simultaneous attacks by Russian intelligence, which stole emails of her allies and leaked them selectively in order to generate negative coverage in the American media, and the FBI, whose director made an extraordinary intervention in the race’s final days to return the server issue to the forefront of the debate. Polls showed that voters considered her less honest and trustworthy than an opponent who was literally facing trial for fraud.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

For good or for ill, Obama had proposed change on a massive, historic scale. Neither friend nor foe denied the new president’s audacity.
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In 1994, Republican Pete Wilson won the governorship in California by railing against illegal immigrants from Mexico. His state had supported Republicans in every presidential election from 1968 through 1988, and in 1992, Bill Clinton had won just 46% of the vote in a three-way race. California has tilted overwhelmingly Democratic since. Trump seems to have taken Wilson’s immigrant-demonization strategy as a model rather than a cautionary tale, but his party will face the consequences. Fifty years from now, there will be Latinos and Asian-Americans who, asked why they vote Democratic, give Trump’s name as an answer.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Conservative Republicans won power, but they lost the future, and they also lost the argument. The triumph of a blustering, cartoonishly dishonest and manifestly anti-intellectual candidate was a forceful display of the party’s retreat from seriousness. Their critique of Obama’s program amounted to doomsaying predictions that had failed to come to pass. Their alternative was a retread of failed policies and free market aphorisms sold to the public through bombastic sloganeering and social resentment. Trump is the poisoned chalice of a failed ideology. Obama, not Trump, is destined to supply the model for American governance in the decades to come.
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When Louisiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell refused to marry an interracial couple, he argued in his own defense, “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way.”

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k
kpelish
Sep 12, 2017

A scholarly summary of Obama's record and also a pragmatic reminder that all is not lost as we wait out the incompetent Trump administration. "Instead of moving toward the center, though, the Republican party lurched even more sharply rightward. By doing so, it gained a temporary tactical advantage, but may have solidified Obama’s majority coalition. "

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

The political columnist for New York magazine, a self-proclaimed Obama admirer, described a litany of major laws established by the twice elected (winning both popular AND electoral votes) forty-fourth President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office. For average readers who had little time to follow politics closely, the book is informative and for the rest, it provided a rich history on the large number of Obama game changers between 2008 and 2016, for better or worse. Thanks to the internet, one can easily search the book's quotes and events for authenticity and full context. The final chapter is the author's op-ed on the changing landscape inside the political parties and the demographic of voters since Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Trump presidency. For reference, not in the book, historians have ranked Barack Obama the 12th best president of all time, the highest rated since President Ronald Reagan, in a new C-SPAN survey released on 02/17/17. (Obama 12, George W. Bush 33, Clinton 15, George H. Bush 20, Reagan 9 ... see all data in "Summary.")

s
StarGladiator
Dec 29, 2016

[Note the number of restrictions on free-choice or womens' right to abortion passed in numerous states, yet not once has President Obama dispatched a DoJ team of attorneys to challenge them on the federal ruling of Rowe v. Wade??????? And his two appointments to the Supreme Court, Kagan and Sotomayor, voted against a security permiter around Planned Parenthood Clinics during demonstrations, one of the means by which psychos have gain entrance to do their horrific killing!]
While I enjoyed the author's book on The Big Con [although he appeared to give a free pass to Bill Clinton, who gave more to the banksters than any other president in history], this book is waaaay to disinformational. We now know that per the leaked email from Citigroup to a newly elected President Obama, he was directed to appoint Covington & Burling's point man, Eric Holder, to be his attorney general. [Covington & Burling was responsible for the legal side of setting up MERS, and its owner, MERSCorp - - which was part of the illegal mortgage loan/fraudclosure scam, i.e., Mortgage Electronic Reporting System, which sought to overturn several centuries of property law, while also in the present invalidating all the PSAs upon which those CDOs were based, et cetera. Holder did his job, no bankers were indicted who were involved.]
Obama appointed Mary Jo White to oversee the SEC, while recently Sen. Warren sent him a scathing letter demanding her termination for abject corruption. Mary Jo White was with the DoJ during the Bush Administration, and led the prosecution of Enron, carefully avoiding going after them for financial fraud [off-balance sheet hiding of debt] as the banks and investment firms and hedge funds were also guilty of that, and they hadn't yet passed FIN 46r, which legitimized this Ponzi-like behavior, thus both her reward as chair of SEC, and to be sure no investigations were undertaken in those matters!
The ACA which may have helped some, has been a disaster with many working people and small business owners, as it did nothing to cap the explosive growth in healthcare insurance costs, did nothing to deter the subsequent mergers of healthcare corporations [the majority are now the top three, which have the same majority shareholders, BTW], didn't put any type of cap on pharmaceuticals and their explosive cost growth, et cetera.
Under Bush and Obama, 94% of job creation up to and including 2015 were part-time jobs!
[And from a Rutgers' study of one or two years back, at least one-third of those so-called newly created jobs couldn't even be verified as having existed?]
Under Obama, al Qaeda in Syria has been financed for quite some time, it appears ISIS may have been armed by the US, given those seriel numbers from captured weaponry indicate they were missing from military storage - - not captured from Iraqi soldiers - - and have played a most duplicitous game with the Kurds, supporting them in their fight against Assad of Syria, while selling them out to Isalmic extremist of Turkey, Erdogan!?
If you decide to read this book, please read it side-by-side with Bill Press's book, Buyer's Remorse.

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j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2017

Historians have ranked Barack Obama the 12th best president of all time, the highest rated since President Ronald Reagan, in a new C-SPAN survey released Friday.

Less than a month after exiting the White House, Obama received high marks from presidential historians for his pursuit of "equal justice for all" and for his commanding "moral authority," ranking third and seventh among all former presidents in each respective category. The 44th president also cracked a top 10 ranking for his "economic management" and public persuasion.

https://www.c-span.org/presidentsurvey2017/?page=overall

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