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The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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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From Booklist

Comparing the lofty rhetoric of Obama’s autobiography, The Audacity of Hope (2006), with the harsh reality of the Obama administration, Hodge, former editor of Harper’s Magazine, chronicles the growing disappointment in Obama’s failure to deliver on expectations for real change in Washington. Instead, Hodge cites example after example of how corporate interests have seen their investment in Obama’s campaign pay off while the aspirations of middle-class voters have been neglected. He details contributions by huge financial corporations—Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and others—that have been rewarded through the financial system bailout. Hodge offers historical context for the long association between business and politics as candidates from both political parties have sought campaign support and made promises to corporate interests. He particularly laments that Obama’s eloquence has not matched his actions, engendering a disappointed fantasy that a single man can make changes rather than the need to reform the political system itself. --Vanessa Bush
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006201126X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062011268
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,844,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Finally, a critique of the Obama administration you can believe in. Using Obama's own words, historical analysis, and jaw droppingly good use of snark reminiscent of Hodge's predecessor at Harper's Louis Lapham, Hodge offers a needed critique of Obama's policies from the left in the tradition of Madison and small r republicanism. As does the tea party (who Hodge skewers in devastating fashion), Hodge accuses Obama of class warfare. Except in Hodge's case it is the war of moneyed interests on the rest of us - a war that Hodge traces back to Hamilton and which reaches it apotheosis in Reagan's policies and their fulfillment with the odious Clinton and his fellow Republican successors Bush and Obama.

Anybody who wants to make sense of Obama and his disappointing policies, needs to read this book. It is both terribly depressing and wonderfully enlightening.
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Format: Hardcover
The Mendacity of Hope is a fascinating polemic criticizing Barack Obama from the left. Hodge considers Obama an insincere, mediocre politician whose main priorities are rewarding his corporate donors, enhancing executive power, and getting reelected. Practically every action Obama has taken in office draws criticism--from bank bailouts to the "surge" in Afghanistan. Hodge has harsh words for the health care bill, which he considers a giveaway to the insurance and drug companies. He also has strong criticism for people on the left who protested bombings of civilians when Bush was president but who are now silent because their guy is in office. This is the best political book of the last few years.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an extremely insightful book that, at least for me, was a page-turner...on my iPad. The author is the latest in revealing the nasty truth about American politics--both parties are so beholding to special interests and big pocketed campaign contributors, there is little difference between the two anymore.

The main reason I'm writing this review isn't about the book itself, however. It is about the quality of the Kindle edition. I have become used to the Kindle editions I purchase having spelling errors, hyphenated words that shouldn't be hyphenated and words running together. They also, inexplicably, often don't contain the photos (or all of them) that the paper editions do.

This book was undoubtedly the worst in quality I've purchased so far. On almost every page was at least one example of words running together. There were also multiple examples of wrongly hyphenated words and sentences that are broken into a second text block. In one instance, the first letter of the first word in the chapter is totally missing.

If publishers are going to set the price of Kindle editions to within just a few dollars of the paper edition, I believe they owe it to their customers to give them a quality product. As far as "The Mendacity of Hope," I think Amazon needs to go back through the Kindle edition, make the many needed corrections necessary and give all of us who've already purchased the book the new version at no additional cost.

I'm a voracious reader who believes that e-books are the future of reading, but if there is no more attention paid to the quality of Kindle editions than this, I may be purchasing more paper versions of books for the foreseeable future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I voted for Barrack Obama in 2008 the stock market had just crashed and I thought 2008 bore a startling resemblance to 1932. It looked like we were about to enter another great depression for the same reasons that prevailed in 1932 - lack of regulation over business. Being a Democrat I naturally thought that Obama would follow the same policies as the "greatest Democrat of them all," Franklin Delano Roosevelt. One year later I was giving his an administration an "F" in all the important categories. In one short year I had gone from the "audacity" of hope to the "mendacity" of hope. Why?

Roger D. Hodge, who was Editor of Harper's Magazine from 2006 to 2010, believes that the warning signs were there all along. From the corporatoracy of his donor lists; to his failure to make any bold idealistic assault on Iraqi war funding; to his vote for Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State despite her role in the fraudulent campaign to invade Iraq; to his vote to confirm Michael Chertoff as head of homeland security despite the civil liberties abuses that Chertoff sanctioned after 9/11; to his vote to confirm John Negroponte as director of national intelligence after Negropontes's well-documented association with death-squad activities in Latin America during the Reagan years. Most notorious, however, was his strong support for the aggresively pro war senator Joe Lieberman and then his refusal to campaign for Ned Lamont when Lamont beat Lieberman in the Connecticutt Democratic primary. He even voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act and in favor of the Republicans FISA bill - a bill that he had earlier promised to filibuster.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roger Hodge's "The Mendacity of Hope" is a hard-hitting and devastating exposé of the character and presidency of Barack Obama. In direct contrast to the uplifting "hope and change" rhetoric which propelled him into office and gave millions hope for a better future after the dismal Bush years, Obama has proven to be nothing more than a consummate politician, cut from the same corporate-owned material of every other president in recent history. Hodge's writing is sardonic and even somewhat off-putting in its irreverence, but Hodge warns us early on that as our tour guide to the Obama presidency, he would at times be rude.

Hodge's introduction explores the ideas of "interest" and "influence". Our forefathers, argues Hodge, never intended our government or society to be some kind of self-less utopia in which everyone checks his or her personal interests at the door. Personal interest is, in fact, what drives both our economy and our government. Far from there being anything wrong with that, that is the natural order of things in a capitalist, republican government. Each citizen has the influence of his or her voice and other resources to bring to bear to affect laws and policies in his or her personal interest.

The problem comes when, through unfair means, rich and powerful individuals and entities use their influence to dominate public discourse and policy in ways that drown out individual and small group interests. Worse, such powerful individuals use their influence to subvert the will of individuals and smaller groups in ways that actually work against their own interest.
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