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The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America: Or, Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossibleby John R Macarthur
Synopses & Reviews
The publisher of Harper’s Magazine presents “an able, witty, and suitably pissed-off guide” (Bookforum) to American politics
Barack Obama swept into the White House in January 2009 still floating—or so it appeared to millions of his admirers—high above the crude realities of contemporary American political life. Old-fashioned landmarks—party loyalty, ideology, campaign fundraising, patronage, corruption, even race—seemed hopelessly outdated as points of reference for understanding what was trumpeted as a new phenomenon in the nation’s civic history. But Obama was soon forced to confront a system that proves nearly impossible to change in any meaningful way.
Looking closely at congress, elections, and money in politics, and sparing neither side of the political spectrum, MacArthur delivers a devastating exposé of the entrenched interests and elites that make change in America so impossible. Surveying local activists fighting again moneyed interests, he finds much the same as what’s going on in Washington.
First released in September 2008, MacArthur’s book was the first book to criticize Obama from the Left. It is presented here in a new package; it’s also fully revised and contains a new introduction discussing Obama’s first years in office.
About the Author
John R. MacArthur is the president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine. An award-winning journalist, he has previously written for The New York Times, United Press International, The Chicago Sun-Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of the acclaimed books The Selling of Free Trade: NAFTA, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy, and Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War. He lives in New York City.
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History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars