"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, April 16, 2010

David Remnick's Portrait of Barack Obama

David Remnick's biography The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama attempts to construct the most 'complete' account of his subject's life to date...

Obama may not have turned out to be what liberals, independents and defecting Republicans had hoped for; many may have been dazzled by his rhetorical genius, only to watch helplessly as he demonstrated to his people and the whole world what we've always subconsciously known, but thought he might be able to change: that (even though popular support swept him into office) the ones who determine the course of this country have been and will always be banks and corporations.

But that is no reason not to read of what led a son of an economist and anthropologist--a man who would become President from the humble roots of a community organizer--to bow down to the financial masters...

Remnick's book stresses again and again Obama's talent for conciliation, finding common ground amongst multiple points-of-view. And maybe Obama doesn't enjoy the power wielded by the financial elites but simply had no choice when faced with economic collapse.

This book can be read in many ways... I choose to read it as a Shakespearean tragedy.

EDIT: Now with Goldman-Sachs being investigated by the SEC, there might yet be a redemptive side to this story. Who knows?

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