Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Audacity of Hope

I have finished reading Obama's second book, the 2006 "The Audacity of Hope". For the most part this book just presents standard liberal arguments in a not very interesting way. Perhaps this is to be expected from someone who must already have been at least seriously contemplating a Presidential run. I complained here about some points I found particularly grating. There were a few additional things I found of note.

There is very little if anything relevant to the recent financial crisis. Obama just doesn't seem very interested in how the economy works or how the government might help it work better. So I don't think prospects for major financial reforms are very good.

His chapter on international affairs comes across as quite liberal interventionist and is little comfort to those of us like me who would prefer fewer wars.

I found the chapter on family a little strange. While Obama said all the politically correct things about how his wife was right to ask him to spend more time with his children and generally helping out around the house I was nevertheless left with the distinct impression that Obama was a bit resentful and wouldn't mind at all if his wife was more like Nancy Reagan. And I was a bit dismayed to learn from Obama's discussion of his schedule that the Senate functions on a Tuesday to Thursday schedule so the members can spend Friday through Monday at home. Perhaps Republican obstructionism isn't the only reason the Senate isn't getting anything done.

Obama does make some rhetorical gestures towards conservatives as for example (p. 60):

... (I am convinced--although I have no statistical evidence to back it up--that antitax, antigovernment, antiunion sentiments grow anytime people find themselves standing in line at a government office with only one window open and three or four workers chatting among themselves in full view)

but doesn't really offer anything concrete.

All in all I don't think this book will be of much interest to anyone who isn't fanatic about politics.

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