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Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    Having finished another book that provided a good overview of th

    Having finished another book that provided a good overview of the financial crisis of 2008, I wanted to look at this era from the political side. "Confidence Men" uses the campaign and first two years of Barack Obama's presidency as this vehicle. The interaction of Wall Street and Washington is interesting, though, to get the most of this tale, I think you need understanding of the financial and governmental issues that drove the crisis. "Confidence Men" comes to similar summaries of the causes, but a book like "The End of Wall Street" really helps to illuminate the arcane financial instruments and associated regulations much better than does this book.

    The greatest achievement of this book was the story of just how incompetent the Obama White House was during it's first two years in office. While it is easy to look at the major legislative landmarks of this administration - health care reform and financial reform - and cringe at the governmental overreach into our freedoms and economic liberties, the behind-the-scenes story told by Suskind makes you realize that we should be thankful that, as Obama and many of his advisors wanted, it could have been far worse. Tim Geithner is virtually a hero for standing in the way of socialistic measures such as nationalizing banks, a move that greatly appealed to Obama. A key reason this and other "failures" from the perspective of the left occurred was, as demonstrated aptly by Suskind across the first two years of the administration, was a complete and utter incompetence of leadership and management on the part of Barack Obama. This should not be surprising given his near total absence of executive leadership experience coming into the White House. Though the Democrats had a lock on both houses of Congress and the White House for well over a year, the left failed to capitalize on this, largely because of a blessedly dysfunctional White House where, as noted by one senior staff member, "no one was home." Granted, many rivalries and ambitious staffers played roles in these short-comings, a failure of management allowed these obstacles to be significant stumbling blocks.

    Overall an interesting read about the linkages between Washington and New York during a pivotal era for our nation that also highlights, from an author that cannot be considered a "conservative writer," the numerous failings of President Barack Obama that most of us with our eyes and ears open have intuitively known to be the case.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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