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Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics Hardcover – January 20, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Street is an independent journalist, policy adviser, and historian. Formerly he was Vice President for Research and Planning at the Chicago Urban League. Among his recent books are Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Paradigm, 2008), Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), and Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in Post-Civil Rights America (Routledge, 2005). His many articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune; In These Times; Dissent; Z Magazine; Black Commentator; Monthly Review, Journal of American Ethnic History; Journal of Social History, and other publications.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594516316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594516313
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Street shows that Obama acted as a state legislator and has acted as a Senator in very predictable ways given the tens of millions of dollars he has received in campaign contributions from top officials in the corporate world, especially the financial industry. He pushes corporate friendly measures while alternately playing the populist on the campaign trail. As a state senator Obama held up a bill in committee that promised to deliver universal health care in Illinois and watered it down so that it merely called for the creation of a commission that would study how health care access might be expanded in the state. His effort was greatly appreciated by health care industry lobbyists. During the Democratic Primary, reflecting his strong backing by the financial industry, he refused to endorse caps on interest rates on mortgage loans. His only solution to the mortgage mess was to offer tax credits to home owners. As a US senator he supported Bush's tort reform bill that further protects corporate abusers. On the presidential campaign trail he claimed to have passed a Senate bill that would have required nuclear operators to immediately report even the slightest leak from their facilities. This was after a radioactive leak into a drinking water supply from an Illinois plant of Exelon, the largest nuclear power plant owner in the country and a leading supplier of Obama campaign contributions. Actually, Obama lied; the bill that he pushed ended up offering only guidance to local regulators as to how to deal with small leaks at nuclear plants that did not reach the threshold of being required to be reported (as the leak in Illinois did not). Meanwhile Obama argued for free trade pacts like NAFTA on his Senate campaign trail in 04', then later criticized them while running for president.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Paul Street is amazing at putting a left-wing critique on Obama that situates him firmly within the policy and practice of the ruling class at large. He also skillfully denounces the big-business-dominated electoral system that stifles real debate.

However, in the last analysis he fails to draw the conclusion all his data points toward: that radical and progressive voters should break decisively with the two-party system and support the strongest possible left challenge. Rather than advocate a vote for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney, he revives the lesser-evilist analysis that the Republicans are just too horrible not to vote for the democrat.

This is surprising, given the overall message of the book that change will not fundamentally come through electoral politics. Still, I highly recommend reading this for anyone capable of taking this excellent data and drawing their own conclusions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For progressives who want to know what went wrong. How did all that hope and change end up in a giant bank bailout, escalation in Afghanistan, and letting the torturers off the hook? Street wrote this prospective on Obama before the Nov 08 election and gets it right on just about every count.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss! Famous words by a famous rock band from long ago. It still has meaning today.
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Format: Hardcover
Any liberal or leftie who had great expectations for Obama should have read this excellent, well documented, rational analysis of Obama's cautious record and conservative impulses. Read it now, and you'll get a better understanding of what the next few years will bring.
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