One of my favorite political journalists is David Corn (Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and frequent guest on MSNBC), and he recently put out a book called Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party. I finished it a couple of days ago, and I liked it a lot.
I’ve been following politics closely for the past several years, and I remember President Obama’s first three years of presidency very well. What is recounted in the book is much of what I remember, although “insider” information is included.
Corn is obviously on the left side of the spectrum...just read the title of the book. But I found this to be fairly reasonable and pretty much how I remember it. I mean, c’mon...does anyone really think that President Obama didn’t try to reach out and come to a bipartisan agreement on several issues, only to be left at the altar? If not, have you been paying attention?
This book doesn’t gloss over the fact that the President was naive in thinking that he would be able to make deals with the Republicans. He made the mistake of assuming that they also wanted what was best for the country, and he ignored the clear message from Mitch McConnell that the main goal of the Republicans was to ensure that Obama had a one term presidency.Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post in which they just stone cold laid it on the line: it’s mainly the Republicans’ fault for our dysfunctional government.
I’m sorry if that offends you...oh, who am I kidding? I’m not sorry at all. Boehner and his pals aren’t content with coming close to a government shutdown or a default on our obligations once...they’re more than happy to threaten it again. Never mind the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has said that this will probably result in an economic slowdown and another recession. The Republicans are putting partisan politics before the well-being of the country and of the American people, and I’m getting more than a little pissed off.
Anyway, I thought this was a very good book. I’ve felt all along that President Obama had a long-term goal in mind. He made the mistake of not recognizing the extreme intransigence of his opposition, but he has always had a vision of how to move our country forward. And for the last time, he is NOT a socialist. That is so ridiculous. Those of us on the far left of the spectrum find that the height of absurdity. Obama is a socialist like I’m a bench chemist. (Private joke...a lot of those lately, but all will be revealed soon.) If you’re like-minded when it comes to politics, I recommend this book. Now I’ve started the next book on my book club list, Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. Since we’re planning a vacation on the Main Street of America (Route 66), how appropriate is that?
**Workout note: Maybe I’m pushing it because I know that on our vacation I won’t be able to work out as much as I have been lately, but today was wicked! I was pushing an hour and 45 minutes total, including 40 minutes and 2 miles on the elliptical! That’s the most I’ve ever done, and it felt great. It’s amazing how much music pushes me to go further. Today’s motivational music was autoKratz, another techno band, and I kept thinking, “Okay, finish this song.” Then it was, “Okay, keep going till you hit 35 minutes.” Then THAT song wasn’t over, so it was another, “Finish this song.” By that time, I was so proud of myself, I had to make sure I hit 2 miles. This might sound odd, but I’ve also found that my attire matters. If it’s wintertime and it’s cold and I’m shlumping in sweats, I just want to get it done and not linger. But if it’s hot and I’m wearing a sports bra and low-slung shorts, it makes me want to work harder and it makes me feel all like a gym rat and junk. I’m so glad we have our own little gym here at Nutwood, so I can wear stuff like that in the summer and not feel weird or stared at!
Please enjoy some Electric Light Orchestra and the genius of Jeff Lynne.