- Sid Hastings/AP
- Remember Todd “legitimate rape” Akin?
There’s a book that needs to be written. The opening pages of David Axelrod‘s Believer just gave me the idea. As interesting as Believer promises to be, as valuable as Barack Obama’s memoirs will surely be when he publishes them, the book I have in mind would be the essential chronicle of our time.
The capstone of Axelrod’s life in politics is his eight years advising Obama—as a Senate candidate, as a presidential candidate, and finally as the president. In the introduction to Believer, Axelrod muses on Obama’s first-term failure (the second would be no better) “to tame Washington and build bipartisan bridges.” As a result, although in 2008 Obama built “a once-in-a-generation movement for change,” his 2012 campaign was “more modest in its ambitions,” being simply “a very proficient political campaign.”
Believer gives us Axelrod’s perspective on those White House years. After he leaves office Obama will offer his version.
But the history I’d like most to read would tell the story of the opposition’s relentless campaign to make the Obama administration a complete failure. Held up to the light in a certain way, “A History of the Republican Party: 2008 to 2016” would be a success story—after all, the Republicans were a powerless minority in both the House and Senate after the 2008 elections, and today the party controls both houses. But in another light it’s a dumbfounding episode in American history—a party so twisted by racism, willful ignorance, jingoism, superstition, and moral corruption that it paralyzed the country and accomplished nothing. It slated for important offices some of the the wackiest candidates ever to stain a ballot. It constantly acted as its own worst enemy.
How did this happen, and what price did America pay? Tell me in 500 pages and you’ve got a sale.