I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism
Charles R. Kesler
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Is Barack Obama the last liberal president? In I Am the Change, Charles Kesler, a leading conservative scholar, educator, and journalist, offers a sophisticated analysis of the president’s political thought, based on Obama’s own words and writings, to demonstrate that he represents either a new birth of liberalism…or its demise. Kesler’s writing is a potent mixture of philosophy, journalism, psychology, and history—seasoned with a delightful, razor-sharp wit—as he takes a greatly underestimated chief executive seriously and explores American liberalism in crisis.
Press, 1993); and William Kristol, “The Problem of the Separation of Powers: Federalist 47–51,” in Charles R. Kesler, ed., Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding (New York: Free Press, 1987). 54. Wilson, Constitutional Government in the United States, pp. 41–4, 57; Niels Aage Thorsen, The Political Thought of Woodrow Wilson, 1875–1910 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), p. 145. 55. Wilson, The New Freedom, pp. 28–31, 38–44. Cf. Wilson, The State, secs.
according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions, professedly founded upon the power of the people and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain everything, they have no need of particular reservations.” The Federalist Papers, p. 512. 30. See the penetrating discussion in Eden, “On the Origins of the Regime of Pragmatic Liberalism,” pp. 106–9, 122–39. 31. The most notable
fact when he said, ‘Man is by nature a political animal.’ ”24 This impulse to rescue politics from its economic servitude stimulated an outpouring of new biographies of American and European statesmen—including the thirty-nine volumes of the American Statesmen Series, written by Henry Cabot Lodge, TR, William Graham Sumner, and other leading men of the day, and published by Houghton Mifflin—not to mention an influx of talented young men (and a small but growing number of women) into politics.
English Historical School. Again, one should pay careful attention to the thoroughly political context of Wilson’s rhetorical appeals, and to his usual masterly control over language. He could sound Jeffersonian or libertarian, too, when he wanted. Much ink was spilled then and since over his statement to the New York Press Club in 1912 that “the history of liberty is the history of the limitation of governmental power.” TR lambasted him for it. But Wilson never said that the future of liberty
Hope, published in 2006, his second autobiography and first campaign book (focused nominally on his U.S. Senate years, not quite two of them at that point) and the source of his most thoughtful campaign speeches, he treats the party elders respectfully, but not exactly warmly. He mentions Teddy Kennedy three times, calling him one of the Senate’s best storytellers; devotes a page to Al Gore’s emotions after his “precipitous fall”; and acknowledges “the Kerry people” who invited him to speak at