Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Barack Obama's Election And The Looming Crisis Of Liberalism

What does Barack Obama’s re-election as President mean for the future of the United States and for the President’s place in history?  Both liberals celebrating his electoral victory, and conservatives who fear for the future of the country, may be surprised by the thoughtful, serious and provocative answer to this question in: I Am the Change, Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles Kesler, best known as the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, but also a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute.  Full disclosure, this columnist is a member of the CRB’s Publication Committee.

Kesler brings to his analysis the perspective of the distinctive Claremont political philosophy which is grounded in the founding principles as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  But, this book is no political polemic.  Rather, it is serious and nuanced analysis of the President, his political accomplishments and agenda by a true “student of the game”, and historian of American political philosophy.  Although the book was published before the election, it is all the more relevant now that President Obama has been re-elected.

Kesler places Obama in the historical context of the American Progressive/liberal movement, an American political tradition more than 100 years old. Understanding that Obama’s efforts to “transform America” are not simply rooted in anti-colonialist Kenyan soil, as propounded in the movie, 2016 recognizes the full extent of Obama’s pedigree and the power of the Progressive movement.  The condensed, but highly readable seminar on the evolution of political thought provided by Kesler reveals the depth to which Progressive ideas have permeated not only the political system, but also our political discourse, and in a significant way made possible Obama’s re-election in spite of the poor economy. Read more....

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