Mar 09, 08
Read in January, 2007
I used to think that a liberal was simply someone whose background and education was deficient of the facts needed to understand the full ramifications of their left-leaning policies. For example, in a debate I once heard Maxine Waters (D-CA) incredulously ask "Why not?!" when told that the government can't afford free healthcare, free college, free daycare, etc. Because apart from the land of fairies and puppy-dog tails where the Congresswoman, if not grew up, at least spent most of her summers, there are limits to a nations' economic resources.
But I was surprised to find that Barack Obama is not ignorant of these principles. Instead, his book follows this basic model:
"Even though [history/economics/common sense] show us that [liberal policy] has resulted in [devastating consequence] in the past, I still feel we have a duty to the American people to implement [liberal policy]."
For example, he'll preface a call for more protections for organized labor with the acknowledgement that such protections actually hurt American business and make it more difficult for the U.S. to compete in a global economy.
From the outset, Obama admits that he doesn't have any answers to these dilemmas and that his book is not a political road-map. So while I disagree with where he ends up ideologically, I've got to hand it to him for being familiar with and able to articulate both sides of an issue, and holding onto his liberal idealism even as he stares the facts in the face. Or as he calls it, "The Audacity of Hope."
Nevertheless, this was one of the hardest books I ever read because it was just pages and pages of political rhetoric.