The Mendacity of Hope: Presidential Power, Corporate Money, and the Politics of Corrupt Influenceby Roger D. Hodge
Americans find themselves in genuine confusion and dismay concerning the actions of President Obama’s administration. None of Obama’s most important campaign promises—ending the Iraq war, abolishing torture, closing Guantánamo, changing Washington’s culture of corruption—has come to pass. Instead, he has bailed out the bankers,… See more details below
Americans find themselves in genuine confusion and dismay concerning the actions of President Obama’s administration. None of Obama’s most important campaign promises—ending the Iraq war, abolishing torture, closing Guantánamo, changing Washington’s culture of corruption—has come to pass. Instead, he has bailed out the bankers, escalated the conflict in Afghanistan, launched a new war in Libya, and institutionalized the civil rights abuses of the Bush regime.
Roger D. Hodge makes the provocative case that substantive reform was never even on the table. Behind the euphoria of Obama’s victory was in fact a business-as-usual corporate machine. Obama’s presidency has demonstrated that mere hope is never enough, that change will come only when the American people take charge of their own politics. A brilliantly crafted call to arms, The Mendacity of Hope offers an essential analysis of the American political system and the powerful interests that control our government.
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From the left, a polemic charging President Obama with choosing pragmatism over principle, mendacity over audacity.
Expanding on his article that appeared inHarper'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.
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Meet the Author
Roger D. Hodge was the editor in chief of Harper's magazine from 2006 to 2010. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and their two sons.
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