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This is a vitally important book--one which should be read whether you support Barack Obama or not.
It's a concisely reasoned and elegantly written essay on how a truly courageous president could lead us forward. A slender volume, it very usefully sweeps us past the often-overwrought speculation about whether this will or won't be a "transformative" election--akin to Lincoln's, Roosevelt's, JFK's, and even Ronald Reagan's--and on to the real questions of what such an election might accomplish, how, and why.
Obama's Challenge assumes Obama will be elected, but its author is hardly a captive partisan. As a highly regarded journalist and deft policy analyst, Robert Kuttner has been covering presidential elections--as well the politics of governance in the four years between them--for more than three decades. Experience has convinced him that the size and complexity of the problems America and the world are facing today requires an extraordinarily gifted leader--and he is willing here to affirm that Barack Obama might well be that person.
The book's unique contribution, however, is to shows us that the sheer magnitude of those problems will require a President Obama to use his gifts for specific ends--and what those ends should be. We must repair, Kuttner persuades us, the enormous damage that's been done over the past 40 years by heedless business deregulation, careless globalization, massive deficits, environmental neglect, arrogantly unilateral use of military power, increasingly regressive tax system, and most important, by a relentless denigration of the clear value of government itself by those in the highest public offices--even though democratic government has always been and is now, the precondition, not the enemy, of America's past achievement and future hope. In doing so, he cogently explains how derelict conservative ideology, combined with a deformed bipartisanship, led to this situation, how presidents of great potential have in the past became transformative leaders--and how President Obama could take up the promise he offers now, and shape it into the world we need.
Kuttner is refreshingly realistic nonetheless about the roadblocks and pitfalls ahead. Hardly utopian himself, he urges Obama--and his supporters--to grasp the full requirements for transformative change in terms of leadership and values.
In the past, Kuttner has shown himself to be highly adept at parsing complex policy alternatives, but he somberly cautions the new president away from such a path by quoting Lincoln's dictum, "With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." What he elegantly demonstrates instead is that Obama must mobilize the country by helping us take the imaginative steps forward that will allow us together to remake--and redeem--the nation. And if Obama takes time to read this essay before November, it will significantly enhance his prospects of first reaching the White House.
No one can possibly know what lies in store for an Obama presidency--or whether he will in fact reach the White House. This is the only book, however, to cogently explain why and how we must tackle now the great problems that have been so so carelessly created, and by reflecting on earlier transformative presidencies, offers us the map by which President Obama (and we) might chart a truly tranformative presidency.
would recomend this to other readers
good book to follow a great man yes i made my son read this book and he loved it
The economics of civilization are a compendium on the commerce and economy of life. Today, tomorrow and yesterday have filled many libraries on reactions to wealth of nations. Read morePublished on September 8, 2010 by Joseph Y. Jeanes
This book written prior to Obama's inauguration, journalist and economist Robert Kuttner examines the legacies of previous trans-formative presidents who changed the course of... Read morePublished on June 6, 2010 by M. A. Ramos
It has occured. Obama is President and he has "met" the challenge for 50 days. Unemployment is setting records and the Dow Jones is down to about 6500. Read morePublished on March 11, 2009 by andris virsnieks
Except for the first two chapters on "government history", this was an excellent book and is recommended reading. Read morePublished on January 25, 2009 by Jack E. Lohman
Don't waste your time or money. I have heard better analysis about national politics from high school extemp speakers than what is contained in this book. Read morePublished on December 27, 2008 by KD
This is an especially interesting book as it was published BEFORE the Wall Street crash and before the election. Read morePublished on December 21, 2008 by A. LaBair
Robert Kuttner goes into some detail regarding the economy and how progressive programs could be a great help. Read morePublished on December 12, 2008 by J. Condon
No one can deny Robert Kuttner's premise - our next President really has his work cut out for him. But Kuttner goes further; he makes a strong case for the notion that the next... Read morePublished on December 2, 2008 by Charles L. Baker