Obama’s book offers fresh insight in 2009 | AspenTimes.com

Obama’s book offers fresh insight in 2009

Back in early 2007, well before the Democratic presidential nomination was decided, a friend lent me Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

I avoided it because I was super-saturated with politics and campaigns. I was hearing enough about Obama already, and figured I didn’t need to read him tooting his horn.

My admiration for Obama grew during primary season and the big race. After he locked up the election I decided to give the book a try, and I’m glad I did. Obama writes in the same easy way that he speaks. The 362 pages fly by.

He seems to write more about his shortcomings and lessons he has learned than about his strengths. More rewarding are his short, interesting lessons in political and government history, and his outline on how major problems should be solved.

Lots of domestic and international events have occurred since he wrote the book in 2006 ” the near-collapse of the U.S. economic system, increased hostilities in the Middle East, and Russia’s re-emergence as a world bully ” but the book gives great, still relevant insights into how Obama intends to govern as president.

In a chapter titled, “Opportunity,” Obama writes with admiration about Franklin D. Roosevelt “saving capitalism from itself through an activist federal government that invests in its people and infrastructure, regulates the marketplace, and protects labor from chronic deprivation.”

A liberal welfare state won’t work today, Obama wrote. But two years before the economic collapse at the end of 2008, he also insisted that the Bush administration’s approach of lowering taxes, paring regulations and shrinking the safety net for U.S. citizens was equally outdated.

His formula for success is investments in education, science and technology, and energy independence. Since the book came out and the economy took such a drastic tailspin, Obama has borrowed more from FDR’s plan from the 1930s. And even in the book, he credited FDR with a masterful strategy to ease The Great Depression. “One cure for economic depression was putting more disposable income in the pockets of America workers.”

“The Audacity of Hope” is a great place to study what our next president will attempt to do in foreign policy, critical domestic issues like health care, and the art of politics.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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