Obama and America’s Political Future, by Theda Skocpol. Daniel Carpenter, Foreword. Larry M. Bartels, Commentary, Mickey Edwards, Commentary, Suzanne Mettler, Commentary. Harvard University Press. 206 pages. $26.95.
Providing a context of American political history while building a cogent contrast with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s situation as he took on the Great Depression, Professor Skocpol tries to account for the many conflicting perceptions about President Obama’s leadership.
She calls Obama’s New Deal the “Halfway New Deal,” wrestling with the issue of whether he should have tried to put through more or fewer reformist programs. She notes that the American voter had only seen the tip of the recession iceberg when Obama took office, and their dismay at its full dimensions contrasted sharply with the situation in Roosevelt’s presidency when the Depression already had the country in its firm grip and both Congress and the public were ready for innovative, remedial change. . . .
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