What the Right Gets Wrong About Barack Obama
by , illustrated by
Email this review


Barack Obama: dictator; secret Muslim; al-Qaida operative. If you’ve heard this sort of thing and want to argue against it, political consultant Hannah offers a useful primer.

It’s a useful thing indeed to have a compendium of opposition charges about, say, Obamacare being “an unmitigated disaster” or Benghazi being the modern Watergate and responses to them, especially since the Obama administration has seemed so uninterested in advancing those responses on its own hook. Hannah, a specialist in message-crafting, looks in turn at the usual conservative charges, beginning with the overarching first premise: namely, that Obama is a dictator, inclined to go it alone without the advice and consent of Congress and independent of reference to the Constitution. Nonsense, Hannah writes, even though “this line of argument actually [has begun] to resonate with the American people,” having been repeated ad infinitum on Fox News. The reality, writes the author, is that given an intransigently obstructionist Congress, Obama “has not been bashful about his use of executive orders”—even though Obama has used the executive order less than any other president since Grover Cleveland, who left office in 1897. But why did Obama pursue the much-hated bailout of Wall Street? Because Congress authorized him to do so, if perhaps not down to the last dime. But it didn’t work, did it? It did, and instead of making Wall Street into a socialist extension of the Federal Reserve, “the president invested in a market-driven…solution.” Seated next to a Bill O’Reilly–spouting uncle, readers of this completely reasonable book might sound like the voice of reason, but that begs the question: is there room in the current din for anything that’s not a shout, and is anyone going to listen anyway? Veteran illustrator Staake provides the visual accompaniments.

A little late in the coming, since we’ll soon be arguing about a new president. Still, a useful look back over eight years that, depending on your point of view, were the best of times or the worst of times.

Pub Date: June 28th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-244305-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016


NonfictionREVIVING AMERICA by Steve Forbes
by Steve Forbes
NonfictionBELIEVER by David Axelrod
by David Axelrod