Speak, Money

Posted in Excerpts by Roger D. Hodge on October 29, 2010

From the October 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine.

As we prepare yet another round of offerings to the demigods of America’s political religion, we would do well to remind ourselves of what our electoral votives truly signify. Ideally, our ballots purport to be expressions of political will, which we hope and pray will be translated into legislative and executive action by our pretended representatives. Through hard and painful struggles, against daunting odds, our forebears and elders fought so long for voting rights—for unpropertied men, for women, for blacks—that we may perhaps be forgiven the error of thinking that casting a ballot is the perfection of civic virtue, the ultimate and sovereign duty of the citizen ruler. Alas, the agony of citizenship is never ending; voting is the beginning of civic virtue, not its end, and as suffrage has expanded so has its value been steadily debased. The locus of real power is elsewhere. Wealth and property qualifications, poll taxes, and the like are very far from being historical curiosities; they have simply mutated. Campaign contributions and other forms of political spending have assumed that old exclusionary function, and only those who can afford to pay are able truly to manifest their political will. Voters still “matter,” of course, but only as raw material to be shaped by the actual form of political influence—money—which molds the body politic by realizing itself in the ductile mass of common voters. (more…)

The Mendacity of Alan Wolfe

Posted in Links by Roger D. Hodge on October 28, 2010

One Nation Working Together for the Democratic Party

Posted in Links by Roger D. Hodge on October 27, 2010

What happened to the anti-war movement? Justin Raimondo has some thoughts on the question.

Progressives have made a deal with the devil. And the bargain is this: they’ll shut up about murdering innocent Afghan and Pakistani civilians, about US assassination squads, and about the wholesale assault on our civil liberties, if they can get the goodies they want here at home: more government spending, more government employees, and more government period. After all, who cares if a lot of foreigners get killed? As long as they get theirs.

A curious disagreement

Posted in Reviews by Roger D. Hodge on October 23, 2010

In Sunday’s Washington Post, Alan Wolfe denounces me as a crypto-conservative reactionary; in the New York Times Book Review, in a piece by Jonathan Alter, I’m a purest “movement” liberal.

After our Agenda event Alter mentioned that he was writing this piece for the Times, and asked me whether I had a problem with that. I told him I’d consider it a continuation of our debate.

Of course this time I don’t have a chance to ask him whether he’s on Obama’s payroll.

A change of heart

Posted in Commentary by Roger D. Hodge on October 23, 2010

Here’s what Jonathan Alter had to say about the public option in Newsweek on May 14, 2009:

So reform without a public option isn’t terribly meaningful. And the costs of modest reform are high, not just in dollars but in lost opportunity. It will be quite a while before the country has the appetite to confront this issue again. This time, the perfect or near perfect (there is no perfect, not even single payer) should, at least temporarily, be the enemy of the good, because the merely good isn’t good enough.

I wonder why he changed his mind.

Blurb wars

Posted in Notices by Roger D. Hodge on October 21, 2010

Last Sunday the McLaughlin Group debated The Mendacity of Hope, with particular attention to Naomi Klein’s blurb. The video is now on YouTube. Fast forward to 19:10.

Oh no he didn’t

Posted in Notices, Reviews by Roger D. Hodge on October 21, 2010

Video from my debate with Jonathan Alter is now available on Agenda TV; the NewsMax TV interview is here; and the Independent Weekly has published a very intelligent review by Marc Maximov.

Somewhat less intelligent, from my point of view, is Jonathan Alter’s review essay in the New York Times Book Review, to be published this Sunday.

Left-wing airwaves

Posted in Notices by Roger D. Hodge on October 19, 2010

Lots of radio this week. On Wednesday, I’ll be on the Michelangelo Signorile Show, Sirius XM radio, at 3:30pm. Later that evening I’ll be on WCBX Santa Barbara at 6:30pm PT. Then, on Thursday, I’ll join Joy Cardin on her Wisconsin Public Radio show at 8am CT.

Here’s the programming note from WCBX:

An Evening With…
Wednesday, October 20
6:30-7:00 p.m.
With host Guy Rathbun 

The Obama Dream: Many progressives who worked for the election of President Barack Obama are now asking themselves if it’s time to wake up. Although Obama campaigned on a platform of reform, it’s been the usual West Wing propaganda for those who were hoping for change. In his new book, The Mendacity of Hope, journalist Roger Hodge makes a provocative case for disappointment.

The Two Towers

Posted in Reviews by Roger D. Hodge on October 19, 2010

From the Columbia Journalism Review: “[Hodge’s] view of American history resembles something out of Tolkien: the embattled, outnumbered Madisonians against the autocratic orcs, who fight under the banner of that Federalist witch-king, Alexander Hamilton.”

Abandon All Hope

Posted in Notices, Reviews by Roger D. Hodge on October 16, 2010

Joe Conason wrote up the Alter debate for Salon, and Jeremy Lott offers a decent review in the Washington Times.

Texas Monthly Reads: Paul Burka hates the book, though I suspect he didn’t read it very carefully; James Henson agrees with Burka that my scornful treatment of Obama is deplorable but sympathizes with my larger critique of the American system.

Paul Rosenberg offers a close reading of my interview with Scott Horton over at Open Left.

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