August 15, 2010
THE MENDACITY OF HOPE
Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism
Author: Roger D. Hodge
From the left, a polemic charging President Obama with choosing pragmatism over principle, mendacity over audacity.
Expanding on his article that appeared in Harper’s, Hodge, the former editor in chief of that magazine, pulls no punches in his critique of the Obama administration’s record thus far. He asserts that Obama has “squandered his historic opportunity” and is pursuing the same evil ends as those of the previous administration. The author stoops to sarcasm and invective against his present-day targets, but adopts a more professorial voice when analyzing the historical forces that are at the root of the American political system. Besides referring to the president as Archangel Obama, Hodge sees Vice President Biden as “a plagiarist buffoon” and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as “thuggish.” After critiquing the failures of Obama to live up to his campaign promises—in which he characterizes his “brainy and innovative techno-financial coalition” as “the bastard offspring of Alexander Hamilton and the worst nightmares of the anti-federalists and Jeffersonian republicans made flesh”—the author turns back to an examination of the Founding Fathers’ arguments over political philosophy, the nature of the Constitution and the extent of executive power. So what is the country to do? Hodges opines that a good start would be a constitutional amendment stripping corporations of the rights of personhood and thus the rights of free speech, and minimizing the use of private money in political campaigns. The author also suggests drawing lots to determine who could run for office and placing an upper limit on the net worth of elected representatives. However, the real problem, he writes, is that Americans lack political will. He argues for a kind of class warfare, a disciplined public movement to remove the corrupt influence of money from our political system. Barring that, he writes, we must at least stop pretending that “some attractive and eloquent corporate tool like Obama might save us.”
A harsh blast timed to arrive before the fall elections—sure to stir controversy.