Richard's Reviews > The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
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's review
Sep 02, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: general-reading
Read in August, 2007

Continued from the other edition...

Increasingly I found myself spending time with people of means—law firm partners and investment bankers, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists. As a rule, they were smart, interesting people, knowledgeable about public policy, liberal in their politics, expecting nothing more than a hearing of their opinions in exchange for their checks. But they reflected, almost uniformly, the perspectives of their class: the top 1 percent or so of the income scale that can afford to write a $2,000 check to a political candidate. They believed in free markets and an educational meritocracy; they found it hard to imagine that there might be any social ill that could not be cured by a high SAT score. They had no patience for protectionism, found unions troublesome, and were not particularly sympathetic to those whose lives were upended by the movements of global capital. Most were adamantly prochoice and antigun and were vaguely suspicious of deep religious sentiment.

In short, that's me. I might not earn in the top 1 percent or so of the income scale and I certainly cannot afford to write a check for two grand, but I certainly worked with those who could, and will be attending school in the fall to enter some of those very professions. And in many ways, politics remains a zero-sum game by virtue of limited resources: by voting for someone who might dedicate resources to allowing professions (e.g. car manufacturing) to flourish in this country artificially when normally they would not, I am hurting myself (through more expensive goods, less exports due to retaliatory tariffs, etc.), without seeing any of the help (I do not, and will not manufacture cars at any point in my life).

And thus, I am left with an even further dilemma than when I decided to read this book to see if I like Obama: I don't agree with all of his policies, but he's still the most exciting (Democratic) candidate; and all the Republicans are crazy (McCain) posturing (Giuliani) flip-floppers (Romney). Guess truth can't be found in a book, right?

In any case, despite all that, I think this book is worth a read, if for nothing else, than the quality of the writing. Four stars of five.

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