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I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism Hardcover – September 11, 2012
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“Drawing on his wide reading in philosophy and American political thought, Mr. Kesler argues that Mr. Obama has been shaped by the political tradition of Progressivism and that his 2008 triumph has helped, in turn, to reshape it.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Obama has earned what he now receives, the tribute of a serious intellectual exegesis by a distinguished political philosopher.” (George Will, Washington Post)
“Kesler is the reader for whom Obama has long been asking, in the sense of ‘asking for it’, and this book is the examination of the One we’ve been waiting for.” (Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review)
From the Back Cover
Is Barack Obama the savior of liberalism—or the last liberal president? Charles R. Kesler's spirited analysis of Obama's political thought shows that he represents either a new birth of liberalism—or its demise.
Who is Barack Obama? Though many of his own supporters wonder if he really believes in anything, Charles R. Kesler argues that these disappointed liberals don't appreciate the scope of the president's ambition or the long-term stakes for which he is playing.
Conservatives also misunderstand Obama, according to this leading conservative scholar, educator, and journalist. They dismiss him as a socialist, hopelessly out of touch with the American mainstream. The fringe Right dwells on Obama's foreign upbringing, his missing birth certificate, Bill Ayers's supposed authorship of his books. What mainstream and fringe have in common is a stubborn underestimation of the man and the political movement he embodies.
Reflecting a sophisticated mix of philosophy, psychology, and history, and complemented by a scathing wit, I Am the Change tries to understand Obama as he understands himself, based largely on his own writings, speeches, and interviews. Kesler, the rare conservative who takes Obama seriously as a political thinker, views him as a gifted and highly intelligent progressive who is attempting to become the greatest president in the history of modern liberalism. Intent on reinvigorating the liberal faith, Obama nonetheless fails to understand its fatal contradictions—a shortsightedness that may prove to be liberalism's undoing.
Will Obama save liberalism and become its fourth great incarnation, following Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson? Or will he be derailed by his very successes? These are the questions at the heart of Kesler's thoughtful and illuminating book.
Top Customer Reviews
But how can we say that, since virtually everything Barak Obama has touched since he was inaugurated in 2009 has come up short, usually disastrously so? The answer, as this valuable book shows, is that Obama isn't interested in tackling immediate problems such as employment or immigration reform. Instead, by his own admission, he's using his presidency fundamentally to change the essence of America. This process began more than a century ago, and Obama is the fourth president (following Wilson, FDR, and Johnson) to move this "progressive" project forward. Professor Kesler, using each man's own words--written and spoken--as source material, explains in detail where their ideas came from and the damage those ideas have done for generations of Americans.
Philosophical note: Another title for the book might well have been, "How Bad Ideas Harm Us All."
A partial list of the bad ideas:
People are essentially good, not fallen.
History exists as an actual force in the world.
Progress is always for the better.
Each era creates its own truth.
Government by experts makes things better.
There are no natural rights, just human rights.
How Progressivism/Liberalism Has Unfolded Under Four US Presidents:
Each starts with a crisis; Promotes government expansion; Is thwarted by a war (Except Obama)
1.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A chilling revelation of the powers motivated by global power lust that put Mr. Obama in the oval office.Published 1 month ago by Mary H. Brauninger
Author Charles R. Kesler takes a very intellectual, sometimes caustic philosophical look at President Barack Obama and the liberals in his book "I Am The Change". Read morePublished 11 months ago by RBSProds
How far back do you have to go to understand modern liberalism? At the very least, you have to go back to Hegel (I would say you have to go back to Genesis 3:5, but I’ll put that... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dr. Filthy McNasty
These Straussians, they lack a sense of history, to put it gently. They are always after the same thing, reducing the infinitely messy and vast multiplicity of human history to the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by C. Noyes
Kesler finds the intellectual headwaters of modern liberalism in Woodrow Wilson and the Progressives. He shows how the modern administrative state flowed downstream. Read morePublished on February 8, 2014 by T Davis
I can't figure out how I missed this book when it appeared. Now that I've read it, I think it's great!Published on February 2, 2014 by Stephen E. Bennett
There are a lot of books out there that simply "preach to the choir" when it comes to bashing Obama. Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by Just an old fart