Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

 A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a well-written book that covers a tremendous amount of ground. The book jacket includes mention of the reach and limits of presidential power, U.S. partisan politics, international diplomacy, the 2008 financial crisis, passage of the Affordable Care Act, and the raid that killed Bid Laden. The jacket then closes with how the book captures Obama’s conviction that democracy not a gift, but something founded on empathy and common understanding built together, day by day.

Obama notes how he wrote the first draft in longhand on legal pads. Related to this, it seems the work that went into his law degree likely helped shape his methodical approach to approaching problems by gathering information as well as honed his skills, first employed out of college as a lawyer and community organizer. He comes across as someone who is remarkable, but not someone that couldn’t be aspired to. He seems to care and put in the work, listening to viewpoints and trying to make the right decisions. He also mentions how the presidency a job, like those held by others, and our federal government a human enterprise. It was also interesting to read of how he describes Joe Biden, as someone decent, honest, loyal, and caring.

In writing about his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama covered the introduction of Sarah Palin as the Republican nomination for VP. He noted wondering if John McCain later regretted putting her on the ticket, helping further the political approach of criticism over understanding or knowledge, later morphing into the dangerous repudiation of truth and facts.

It's a good book and also includes mention of Obama's favorite photo from election night in 2008, a shot of people at the Lincoln Memorial listening on the radio to him give his speech at Grant Park in Chicago.