“Roger D. Hodge brilliantly and devastatingly dissects how democracy has gone on sale in America.”
“This is what I’ve been waiting for—a profound and hard-hitting critique of the Obama administration from the left! The Mendacity of Hope should help wake up all those Obama voters who’ve been napping while the wars escalate, the recession deepens, and the environment goes straight to hell.”
“Ready to wake up from the Obama dream yet? If so, this thrillingly scathing and relentlessly truthful cri de coeur is your strong cup of coffee. Hodge skewers the sloppy intellectual culture that willed this political chimera into being, while expertly unmasking the corporate machine that is the real Brand Obama. Drink up.”
More praise for The Mendacity of Hope …
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.