The Mendacity of Hope: Presidential Power, Corporate Money, and the Politics of Corrupt Influence

The Mendacity of Hope: Presidential Power, Corporate Money, and the Politics of Corrupt Influence

by Roger D. Hodge
     
 

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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,

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Michael Tomasky
The Mendacity of Hope is a roundhouse punch at the notion that Obama is anything but a conventional corporate liberal, supine before the moneyed interests.”
Johann Hari
“An excellent book. . . . US politics has ended up as a battle between the mostly corrupt and the entirely corrupt. . . . It’s long past time to put away your Obama t-shirt and take out your protest banner.”
William T. Vollmann
“An eloquently sober indictment of the corruption which impels the self-aggrandizement of our executive branch, much to the bane of our Constitution. A frightening book whose conclusions ought to haunt every American.”
Naomi Klein
“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. ”
Barbara Ehrenreich
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.”
Noam Chomsky
“Hodge calls for revitalization of the founding tradition of civil virtue and republican values of liberty, a message that should be taken to heart if we are to reverse the drift towards an ugly future.”
Naomi Wolf
“Roger Hodge has written a desperately needed expose of how Barack Obama is not the messiah of liberalism but its designated gravedigger. . . . This is a blazing indictment of corporate collusion and a bracing injection of hard truths.”
Bill Moyers
“Roger D. Hodge brilliantly and devastatingly dissects how democracy has gone on sale in America.”
Publishers Weekly
Left-wingers and right-wingers looking for Obama-bashing will find ample ammunition in veteran journalist Hodge's critique of the current administration. Hodge relates the high expectations for "Archangel" Obama, despite his corporate ties and his Congressional voting record. With Obama's cabinet, Hodge says, we saw that "change" was not on the table so much as continuity, that the health care reform bill proved a disappointment, and that the military situation remains the same. Furthermore, Obama's "record on torture, detention, and executive authority is even worse," and "our constitutional system may never recover." Hodge, former editor in chief of Harper's Magazine, supports his arguments with lengthy discussion of historical politics, from the founding fathers through the Clinton and Bush administrations, and ends with a call to voters "to alter its mode of government" and "provide new guards for our future security." Hodge's first book will interest a broad audience, from activists seeking to change the "political will" to academics seeking historical context.
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Kirkus Reviews

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062011275
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/04/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Noam Chomsky
“Hodge calls for revitalization of the founding tradition of civil virtue and republican values of liberty, a message that should be taken to heart if we are to reverse the drift towards an ugly future.”
Naomi Klein
“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. ”
Bill Moyers
“Roger D. Hodge brilliantly and devastatingly dissects how democracy has gone on sale in America.”
William T. Vollmann
“An eloquently sober indictment of the corruption which impels the self-aggrandizement of our executive branch, much to the bane of our Constitution. A frightening book whose conclusions ought to haunt every American.”
Naomi Wolf
“Roger Hodge has written a desperately needed expose of how Barack Obama is not the messiah of liberalism but its designated gravedigger. . . . This is a blazing indictment of corporate collusion and a bracing injection of hard truths.”
Barbara Ehrenreich
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.”

Read More

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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