One Making A Bank Deposit Crossword

What kind of country? Economic crisis, the Obama presidency, the politics of loathing, and the common good.

The story of our time is that the common good has been getting
hammered for 30 years. Wages have been flat for 35 years, and inequality
has worsened dramatically. One percent of the American population
controls nearly 40 percent of America’s wealth and a bigger chunk
of its politics. The crash of 2008 wiped out $8 trillion of home value,
crushing the nest eggs of wage-earners. The banks that frothed up the
crash are doing just fine. Much of the Republican Party is committed to
delegitimizing Obama’s presidency, and most of the Republican Party
wants to bust public unions and break America’s social contract
with the poor and elderly.

All of this has created an opening for a democratic surge for
social justice and equality. Mercifully, the Occupy Wall Street movement
has made a start, but so far, the common good is still getting hammered,
and Obama has spent most of his presidency cleaning up an economic

Throughout American history, Americans have debated about the kind
of country they want to be. Today, America stands at the crossroads of a
decision about the kind of country that America should be, which does
not mean that a decision is necessarily imminent, since Americans are
deeply polarized.
According to

1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of:

2. In keeping with:

 the theory of ”
tr.v. re·a·ligned, re·a·lign·ing, re·a·ligns
1. To put back into proper order or alignment.

2. To make new groupings of or working arrangements between.

favored in political science textbooks, American politics decidedly
“realigns” every 30 or 40 years in the wake of a breakthrough
election. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans
overturned the rule of the Federalists. In 1828, the
Democratic-Republicans split into Democrats and Whigs. In 1860, Abraham
Lincoln’s Republicans pulled off the last third-party triumph,
finishing off the Whigs. In 1896, William McKinley consolidated the
Republicans as America’s majority party. In 1932, Franklin
Roosevelt’s election paved the way to the New Deal. In 1980, Ronald
Reagan’s election paved the way to the capitalist blowout of the
past generation. (1)

There is still time for 2008 to be transformational in the sense of
these historic elections, ending an era of American politics. But time
and opportunity are running out as the Reagan era endures in bizarre
Economic inequality

, always steep in the
United States
 officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world’s third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.
, got much
steeper after Reagan’s policies took hold. In 1981, the top 1
percent of the U.S. population held 32 percent of the nation’s
wealth and took in 11 percent of its annual income. Today, these
corresponding figures are 39 percent and 25 percent. The top 10 percent
of the population hold more than 70 percent of the wealth. The bottom 50
percent hold 2 percent of the wealth. The share of America’s income
held by the top 1 percent has more than doubled since 1980, while the
bottom 90 percent has, since 1975, coped with flat wages and mounting
debt. (2)

For thirty years, we have had perplexed debates about how to
account for this trend line in an advanced democracy. How could a nation
possessing a strong tradition of middle-class democracy allow the middle
class to be eviscerated? Economic

, to be sure, unleashed
the predatory logic of capitalism, setting off a race to the bottom that
feeds on inequality and obliterates cultural values and communities that
get in the way. But globalization alone does not account for the
American willingness to turn American society into a pyramid.

From the late 1940s to 1975, productivity and wages soared together
in the United States, creating a middle-class society. Meanwhile, there
were no bank crises, as New Deal reforms kept commercial banks out of
the investment business. But wages flattened in the mid-1970s and have
stayed that way ever since, while productivity kept soaring and
commercial banks got deeply into the investment business. The rich got
fantastically richer in the 1980s and 1990s, while everyone else fell
behind, taking on debt to keep from drowning and to keep up appearances,
as urged by the advertising industry. During this period, nearly every
manufacturing-oriented society outperformed the United States in income
growth and did so with more equitable distributions of income. (3)

Globalization heightened the necessity of using political power to
defend the common good, but in the United States, the common good fell
decidedly out of favor politically. The right to attain wealth was
exalted over other values. The corporate race to low-tax and cheap-labor
markets was rewarded with tax incentives. The religious, civic
republican, and trade union communities of memory that historically
kindled America’s idea of a common good faded in American society,
eclipsed by an ascending
Christian Right

 holding very different social
convictions. The American myths of
Manifest Destiny
 belief held by many Americans in the 1840s that the United States was destined to expand across the continent, by force, as used against Native Americans, if necessary.
 and American

1. The condition of being exceptional or unique.

2. The theory or belief that something, especially a nation, does not conform to a pattern or norm.
 were refurbished for political usage. Political campaigns
became coded with racist images of black criminals and welfare queens.
Liberals were redefined as guilty types that coddled criminals, imposed
affirmative discrimination, and taxed working people to pay for welfare
A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.

 slurs against immigrants were recycled from the
least attractive chapters of American history. America passed
three-strike laws and binged on prison expansion, filling its prisons
with racial minorities. And social issues were shrewdly used to get
working-class and middle-class voters to vote against their economic

In the economic sphere, the consequences were devastating, fueling
a surge for inequality. As late as 1963, the top bracket tax rate for
individuals was 88 percent. From 1964 to 1981, it was 70 percent. Reagan
cut it to 50 percent on his first pass and astoundingly got it down to
28 percent in 1988; he also slashed the top rate on capital gains from
49 percent to 20 percent and made it easier for the super-wealthy to pay
most of their taxes at the capital gains rate. Policies favoring the
financial industry and real estate over manufacturing and local
communities were enacted, and corporations whittled their tax bills to
nothing by exploiting loopholes and exemptions designed for them. The
United States hollowed out its industrial base that paid decent wages,
providing incentives to firms that made things to make them elsewhere.
By the end of the 1980s, the top fifth of the population earned more
than half the nation’s income and held more than three-quarters of
its wealth, while the bottom fifth received barely 4 percent of its

George H. W. Bush, after further exploding Reagan’s debt, and
Bill Clinton, succeeding Bush, restored some balance to the tax picture,
which produced Clinton’s budget surpluses of the late 1990s. But
Wall Street fell in love with derivatives on Clinton’s watch, with
his help, and the financial sector began to gamble trillions of dollars
on credit-default contracts. George W. Bush, succeeding Clinton, took no
interest in regulating Wall Street’s mania for extra yield, and his
administration blew up the Clinton gains with tax cuts, two wars, a drug

By the end of the Bush administration, the inequality blowout of
the 1980s looked modest, as did the Reagan recession. The chair of the
Federal Reserve, on a Friday late in Bush’s term, warned Congress
that America might not have an economy by the succeeding Monday. That
weekend, many Americans began to focus on whether they wanted to entrust

John McCain

 with America’s financial and economic meltdown.

Contraiy to apologists for unleashed global capitalism and some of
its radical critics, politics matters. Thomas Friedman, in his
best-selling books on “turbo-capitalism,” enthused that
economic globalization–the integration of the national economy into the
global economy through trade, direct foreign investment, short-term
capital flows, and flows of labor and technology–has
“flattened” the world. Global capitalism reduces national
politics to minor tweaks, he contended. There is no third way in
political economy anymore; there isn’t even a second way. Any
nation that wants a growing economy has to wear a one-size-fits-all
“golden straightjacket” that unleashes the private sector,
deregulates capital markets, minimizes government bureaucracy,
eliminates tariffs on imported goods, privatizes state-owned industries
and utilities, and allows direct foreign ownership and investment. Once
a nation takes this path, Friedman claimed, there are no important
political issues to debate. All that remain are “Pepsi or
Coke” choices involving slight nuances of taste, policy, and local
traditions. The “core golden rules” of the global economy have
replaced most of what national politics used to be about. (4)

But the apologists for turbo-capitalism, which academics call
“neo-liberalism,” exaggerated the demise of national politics
and the futility of attempts to channel economic forces. Neo-liberals
1. Disposed to believe too readily; gullible.

2. Arising from or characterized by credulity. See Usage Note at credible.
 about the self-correcting capacities of the market. They
ignored that unionism and the

nongovernmental organization

Noun 1. NGO – an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization
 movement have globalizing capacities
too and that governments were far from
1. No longer current or in fashion; out-of-date.

2. Past the prime; faded or aged.

[French, past participle of passer, to pass, from Old French; see
 in this area before the
global economy crashed. After the crash, governments stepped up
dramatically, spending trillions of dollars to save capitalism from
itself. Germany put up more than $700 billion, and Britain spent
one-fifth of its national
 (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine.
 to save its banking systems. By March
2009, the governments of Europe,
North America
 third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere.
, and the leading Asian
capitalist powers had spent or guaranteed over $11 trillion to save the

The neo-liberal boosters overlooked that governments played huge
roles in setting up this system, defending and perpetuating it, deciding
whether to regulate it, and dealing with its implications for equality,
trade agreements, racial and gender justice, human rights and the rights
of workers,
 entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important.
, and the environment. They played down the roles
of the International Monetary Fund (

See International Monetary Fund (IMF).
) and World Bank in enforcing
neo-liberal doctrine. They thought it didn’t matter that economic
oligarchies in emerging and advanced economies entrenched themselves in
national governments, rigging the game whenever possible.

Then came the crash of 2007, which played out dramatically a year
later. The crisis that Obama inherited was thirty years in the making.
Government was denigrated, and private wealth was prized over the public
good. Speculators gamed the system, and regulators looked the other way.
Mortgage brokers, bond bundlers, rating agencies, and corporate
executives made fortunes selling bad mortgages, packaging them into
securities, handing out inflated bond ratings, and putting the bonds on
balance sheets. The chief rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard
& Poor’s, instead of exposing financial risk, handed out
triple-A ratings that stoked the
 see insanity.
, being paid by the very issuers
of the bonds they rated.

So many plugged-in bankers, investors, brokers, and traders rode
this financial lunacy for all it was worth, caught in the terribly real
pressure of the market to produce constant short-term gains. Banks got
leveraged up to 50-to-l (Bear Stearns’ ratio at the end) and kept
piling on debt. In some cases, subprime mortgage bonds were actually
created to allow investors, using credit-default swaps, to bet against
them. There was so much money to be made that firms could not bear to
leave it aside for competitors to grab.

Obama inherited a global
deflationary spiral

 exacting portfolio
contractions of thirty to forty percent and a free-falling economy that
had nearly doubled its unemployment rate in one year. Deflation, once
started, has a terrible tendency to feed on itself. Income falls in a
recession, which makes debt harder to bear, which discourages
investment, which depresses the economy further, which leads to more
deflation. Obama helped to break the spiral by coddling Wall Street and
by pumping a trillion dollars of life support into the system. It worked
well enough that eight months into his presidency, the fear of a
depression had been forgotten and Wall Street was soaring. A year later,
the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office

 estimated that in the past
quarter alone, the stimulus package had created or saved 3.3 million
jobs and lowered the unemployment rate by 1.8 percent points. By then,
it was clear that Democrats would pay a fearsome midterm electoral price
for Obama’s aggressiveness in saving the economy. Or at least, that
was the reason that Republicans featured in explaining why the Obama
Administration had been such a disaster. (5)

Many Americans are ideologically opposed to any politics that tries
to rectify severe discrepancies in wealth, and the race to the bottom
unleashed by economic globalization has convinced many people that
nothing can be done about it. But both versions of this verdict are
non-starters for any moral perspective that maintains a connection to
biblical teaching about wealth, poverty, and the good society. Moreover,
the view that nothing can be done is untrue. If we think that we cannot
do anything about economic disparities, we will soon be stampeded into
believing that Social Security is unsustainable,
Medicare and Medicaid

 should be gutted, and we might as well abolish what remains of the
progressive tax system. Tellingly, American politics has reverted to
debates about these very things, all rolled up with the politics of
and loathing


Imagining the hateful Obama

Obama is a
lightning rod
 a rod made of materials, especially metals, that are good conductors of electricity, which is mounted on top of a building or other structure and attached to the ground by a cable.
 for the politics of fear and loathing.
Millions of Americans did not dream up, by themselves, their convictions
that Obama was born in Kenya, his teenaged mother forged an American
birth certificate so he could run for president, he imbibed radical
Socialism from a father he never knew, or his real father was an
American Communist poet, he wrote Dreams from My Father to
tr.v. hood·winked, hood·wink·ing, hood·winks
1. To take in by deceptive means; deceive. See Synonyms at deceive.

2. Archaic To blindfold.

3. Obsolete To conceal.
 prospective voters, or he got a 1960s revolutionary to write Dreams from
My Father for him, he forged a political career by exploiting his
friendships with Communists and anti-American activists, he sympathizes
with radical Jihad, and/or his presidency is a conspiracy to inflict
anti-colonial rage on America. There is a paranoid literature on these
themes and a seemingly insatiable market for it. It is anchored in
best-selling books, spewed in countless Right-wing Web sites, and
legitimized with appearances and commentary on Fox television.

Jerome R. Corsi, a conspiracy theorist with a doctorate in
political science from Harvard, is the king of this genre. Brad
O’Leary, another early entrant, warned in The Audacity of Deceit:
Barack Ohama’s War on American Values that Obama aims to destroy
America’s economy, bar Christianity from public life,
tr.v. le·gal·ized, le·gal·iz·ing, le·gal·iz·es
To make legal or lawful; authorize or sanction by law.

 late-term abortion on demand, ban the use of firearms, and turn the U.S.
Treasury into an ATM for the United Nations. Orly Taitz, the “queen
of the birther movement,” holds out against Obama’s birth
certificate and plugs for a conspiracy about Obama getting into Harvard
as a foreign exchange student. Aaron Klein, a Fox News regular and
columnist for the Jewish Press, updates Corsi’s “radical
1. A figure of speech using words in nonliteral ways, such as a metaphor.

2. A word or phrase interpolated as an embellishment in the sung parts of certain medieval liturgies.
 and adds birther material in The Manchurian
President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists, and Other
Anti-American Extremists.
Jack Cashill

, in Deconstructing Obama,
contends that Dreams from My Father is a cunningly subversive stew
authored by Bill Ayers that Obama is not smart enough to have written.
Other titles in this burgeoning field include
Culture of Corruption

Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, by

; The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s
War on America, by Pamela Geller (with Robert Spencer); and Obama: The
Postmodern Coup, a warmed-over
Trilateral Commission

 conspiracy tale by
 see Brussels griffon; wirehaired pointing griffon.
 Tarpley. (6)

In the weeks leading up to the Democratic and Republican
conventions of 2008, the nation’s no. 1 best seller was
Corsi’s The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the
Cult of

, which established the template for a gusher of anti-Obama

A person who needlessly alarms or attempts to alarm others, as by inventing or spreading false or exaggerated rumors of impending danger or catastrophe.
. For Corsi, The Obama Nation was a campaign second coming,
having made his early fame in 2004 by smearing John Kerry’s
military record as a
Swift Boat

 commander in Vietnam. In Corsi’s
telling, Kerry was a fraud whose Silver Star and three Purple Hearts
only appeared to top George W. Bush’s military record. Corsi was an
avid blogger for, out of which his anti-Kerry book
Unfit for Command was spawned with co-author
John McNeill

. The book
rocketed to a number 1 best seller, but on its way up, McNeill claimed
that he hadn’t known that his long-time friend Corsi had showered
the Right

 with scurrilous opinions about Hillary Clinton,
Islam, Muslims,
Pope John Paul II
, Kerry, and other targets of his
bigotry. “HELLary,” according to Corsi, was a “FAT
HOG” who couldn’t keep her husband satisfied because she was
probably a “lesbo.” Islam was “a worthless, dangerous
Satanic religion.” Muslims were “RAGHEADS” and
“Boy-Bumpers.” Muslims, Corsi wrote, were much like the pope
in the latter regard: “Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism
is okay with the Pope as long as it isn’t reported by the liberal
press.” And “Commie Kerry” was “anti-Christian and
anti-American,” with suspicious connections to Jews. (7)

None of this
tr.v. dis·qual·i·fied, dis·qual·i·fy·ing, dis·qual·i·fies
a. To render unqualified or unfit.

b. To declare unqualified or ineligible.

 Corsi from respectful treatment on Fox
television or from attracting a prestige publisher for The Obama Nation.
Corsi actually boosted his stature in 2007 by charging that President
Bush secretly plotted to merge the United States with Canada and Mexico.
In the fevered atmosphere of the far right, some dramatic explanation
was needed for Bush’s inexplicable “sympathy” for
Mexicans. Corsi’s book, The late Great USA, offered an accusatory
explanation lacking any evidence. The following year, he wrote The Obama
Nation for a conservative imprint of
Simon & Schuster

 directed by

Mary Matalin

, a
1. A woman to whom secrets or private matters are disclosed.

2. A woman character in a drama or fiction, such as a trusted friend or servant, who serves as a device for revealing the inner thoughts or intentions
 of the Bush family and former aide to Dick
Cheney. In Corsi’s telling, an Obama presidency “would be an
abomination” because Obama is a lying, corrupt, anti-American
Socialist and
 or é·lit·ism  
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
 who covered up his commitments to radical causes,
plotting to subvert America with every waking breath. (8)

The Obama Nation pilloried Obama for employing a literary
imagination and for taking literary license in telling his story. The
Obama candidacy, Corsi argued, was nothing without Obama’s stoiy
and the campaign’s cult of personality, but Obama lied about his
story, which made him untrustworthy. Obama’s speech at Selma in
2007 laid Corsi’s foundation. Speaking to a commemorative gathering
at Brown Chapel a month after he launched his presidential candidacy,
Obama set up a climactic rhetorical run by mistakenly asserting that
President Kennedy financed the airlift that brought Obama’s father
to Hawaii: “This young man named Barack Obama got one of those
tickets and came over to this country. And he met this woman whose
great-great-great-greatgrandfather had owned slaves, but she had a
different idea, there’s some good craziness going on, because they
looked at each other and they decided that we know that in the world as
it has been it might not be possible for us to get together and have a
child. But something’s stirring across the country because of what
happened in
Selma, Alabama

, because some folks are willing to march
across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama, Jr., was born.
So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama.
Don’t tell me I’m not coming home when I come home to Selma,
Alabama. I’m here because somebody marched. I’m here because
y’all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Corsi, not exactly prizing the feeling of the occasion, belabored
the obvious literal impossibilities: Obama’s father came to Hawaii
in 1959; Kennedy took office in 1961; the Selma march occurred in March
1965, four years after Obama’s birth; the
Kennedy family

nothing to do with the first airlift of young Kenyans to America. Corsi
saw nothing but lying, lying, lying in Obama’s
intr.v. per·o·rat·ed, per·o·rat·ing, per·o·rates
1. To conclude a speech with a formal recapitulation.

2. To speak at great length, often in a grandiloquent manner; declaim.
, plus
presumption at linking himself to Kennedy: “So Obama is again lying
about history to claim JFK had anything to do with bringing his father
to the United States to study.” By the time that Corsi wrote his
book, there was an ample literature in the Right blogosphere on this
subject; often, critics added that Obama had never lived in Selma,
either, so he was lying again. But Obama’s
A lengthy or extravagant speech or argument usually intended to persuade.

intr. & tr.v. spieled, spiel·ing, spiels
To talk or say (something) at length or extravagantly.
 was a romanticized
riff on heroic continuity and “some good craziness going on.”
To his audience of
Civil Rights movement veterans

, it was a variation on
a stock biblical trope, “so great a cloud of witnesses”
(Hebrews 12:1), where chronology was not the point. As for his bit about
the Kennedy family, Obama confused the first airlift with the second
one, which the Kennedys did finance. (10)

Obama’s rhetorical shape-shifting at Selma established his
debased moral character for Corsi, who piled on for 300 pages.
Repeatedly, he complained that Obama’s memoir refigured characters
as composites and dispensed with chronology when it served his literary
purpose, exactly as Obama explained in the introduction. He blasted
Obama for withholding key information until late in the book, never mind
that the whole point was to tell the story of how Obama learned it. The
artistry meant nothing to Corsi, who saw only holes, deceit, and
distraction. He demanded a memoir that enumerated the faults of
Obama’s father and mother from the outset, so that readers could
feel superior to them and know where this story was going.

Corsi seized on Obama’s remembrance, during his
pre-adolescence in Indonesia, of being stunned by a Life magazine
picture of a black man “who tried to peel off his skin.” In
Obama’s telling, this experience “was violent for me, an
ambush attack,” one that conveyed to him that his race was a
problem. Reporters found no such issue of Life or any other magazine
picture of the time, and Obama suggested that perhaps it was an
advertisement for skin bleaching agents that had wounded him. That was
plausible, as skin bleaches have been marketed to African-Americans
since the 1850s. The incident occurred to Obama when he was eight or
nine years old; he was in his early 30s when he wrote about it; and he
was 47 when reporters queried him about it. Obama acknowledged that the
magazine part of the story was less vivid for him than the hurt it
produced. Corsi knew better, declaring that Obama had lied again; it was
only a question of determining the type of lie. Either Obama was a
hypothetical liar who imagined an invented memory so forcefully that it
became real for him, or he made up the story as a vehicle for delivering
a guilt-mongering point straight out of Frantz Fanon’s chapter on
“The Fact of Blackness” in Black Skin, White Masks. The second
option seems worse to Corsi’s fans in the Right blogosphere, so
they usually opt for it. (11)

Corsi could see no reason why Obama might have felt any racial
angst while growing up in Hawaii; thus, nearly everything that Obama
said on this topic fell into the category of “liar” or
doubtful, except for the Frank Marshall Davis factor. Corsi judged that
Davis probably did encourage Obama to think of himself as a victim of
racial injustice. That would explain how Obama came to admire
Malcolm X
 1925–65, militant black leader in the United States, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, b. Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. He was introduced to the Black Muslims while serving a prison term and became a Muslim minister upon his release in 1952.
came to believe his own childish fantasy about a black man ripping off
his skin, and
A past tense and a past participle of dwell.
 on Fanon’s fantasy about a serum that turned
black skin white. In any case, Corsi stressed, Davis was the first of
many anti-American radicals that Obama befriended over the years. (12)

Corsi had long chapters of guilt-by-association on the latter
theme, establishing the baseline for wilder speculation.
Saul Alinsky

Jerry Kellman, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn,
Jeremiah Wright

, and

 were the key players. In Corsi’s account, Obama perfected
Alinsky-style radicalism by working for Kellman. Ayers and Dorhn, the
Weather Underground revolutionaries of the 1960s who got respectable
later on, were neighbors and acquaintances of Obama’s in Chicago.
Obama absorbed black liberation theology from Wright; and Obama was
influenced by Columbia University professor Khalidi’s

In much of this discussion, Corsi explicated his material more
objectively than was often the case with his successors, stopping short
of wild theories about Obama’s foreign birth or Davis being his
real father. On the other hand, Corsi enabled some of the worst
anti-Obama material by roughing up Michelle Obama, describing her as
“the Angry Obama” who scared ordinary Americans. Michelle
Obama did not come as naturally to
 or é·lit·ism  
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
 as her husband, Corsi
allowed. However, she spouted snotty howlers about not being proud of
her country until her husband ran for president, and during her years at
Princeton, “she indulged in the luxury of experiencing alienation,
instead of being grateful for the opportunity.” Corsi shuddered at
picturing the arrogant, radical and ungrateful Obamas in the White
House, although he admonished readers not to say that Obama’s
Christianity was a fraud or that he was secretly a Muslim. Charges on
these topics already filled the Right blogosphere when Corsi wrote The
Obama Nation. Having come a bit late to the birther movement, Corsi did
not troll in this area in his first Obama book; later, he compensated
with a best seller titled Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case
that Barack Ohama Is Not Eligible to Be President. This book’s
moment of glory was brief, zooming to no. 1 on Amazon’s best seller
list before it was released in April 2011, the same week that Obama
unveiled his birth certificate. (13)

Although the wild stuff about outward conspiracies sells at high
volume, its reliance on outward claims makes it subject to
   also re·fut·al
1. The act of refuting.

2. Something, such as an argument, that refutes someone or something.

Noun 1.
Donald Trump, after losing the birther issue, tried to switch to a
race-baiting campaign centered on Obama’s admission to Columbia and
Harvard, but Trump’s polls plummeted and he spared Americans of a
spectacle presidential campaign. The best conspiracy argument, it turned
out, operates differently. It has all the usual Right-wing charges about

 radicalism and otherness, but it works from the
inside-out as a claim about his alienated psyche. Dinesh D’Souza, a
popular conservative writer and former Reagan staffer, ventured into
this area with typical boldness. A Dartmouth graduate and native of
Mumbai, India, D’Souza grew up as part of India’s first
post-colonial generation, and in his telling, he has a keener ear for
Obama’s post-colonial

 than do other conservatives.

Corsi caught some of it, arguing that “Obama’s black
rage” is closer to Fanon’s post-colonial experience than to
the urban African-American experience of racial discrimination, housing
segregation, and economic inequality. Obama seethes with racial
resentment, Corsi assured, but not because he has ever experienced
deprivation or oppression. Obama’s racial crisis during his youth
was a Fanon-like crisis of racial identity; it was primarily about
wearing a white mask in a world owned by whites. But Corsi did not
develop this insight, partly because he believed that Obama fabricated
most of his racial angst anyway. To the extent that Obama had a racial
crisis, it was a struggle for a self-determined racial identity, but
Dreams from My Father was filled with lies, so Corsi put it aside,
focusing on Obama’s attraction to white radicals and Jeremiah
Wright. The Obama Nation offered up a familiar stew of categories and
accusations. (14)

D’Souza goes whole hog for the postcolonial thesis. In
September 2010, he got the cover of Forbes magazine for a stunning piece
of race-baiting titled “How Obama Thinks.” The usual
Right-wing interpretations of Obama, D’Souza urged, are inadequate,
not wrong. To fit Obama into some strand or tradition of American
history is to misunderstand him, for Obama does not relate to American
history. Obama’s vision has nothing to do with the dream of the
American founders for a new order of the ages; it has no real affinity
with the Civil Rights Movement; and it is not even best understood as a
species of Euro-American Socialism. The key to Obama is African
anticolonial rage. D’Souza explained that Obama is a seething
anticolonialist dedicated to avenging the defeat of his father:
“Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a
Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering,
adj intoxicated.
socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization
of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda
through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.” (15)

This article electrified the sector of the Right that longed for a
better account of Obama’s obvious
 see bastard.

bend sinister

supposed stigma of illegitimate birth. [Heraldry: Misc.]

Clinker, Humphry

servant of Bramble family turns out to be illegitimate son of Mr. Bramble. [Br. Lit.
 as an American
leader. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Newt Gingrich heaped praise on
D’Souza’s brilliant insight and courageous truth-telling,
which helped the book version skyrocket to no. 4 on the best seller list
in its first week. The Roots of Obama’s Rage repeatedly admonishes
that Obama’s father was a raging, radical, drunken, philandering
Black Man from Africa. It claims that Obama’s positions are too
radical and bizarre to make sense as any kind of American progressivism.
And it disclaims any personal animosity. D’Souza explains that he
is darker-skinned than Obama, but not black, unlike Obama, and that he
liked Obama’s 2004 Democratic convention speech. There are two
Obamas, D’Souza says. “Obama I” is a sunny healer and
unifier who wowed the 2004 convention with a speech
v. re·sound·ed, re·sound·ing, re·sounds

1. To be filled with sound; reverberate:

conservative themes. “Obama II,” however, is arrogant,
controlling, and vengeful: “This is the Obama who lambasts the
banks and investment houses and forces them to succumb to federal
control; the Obama who gives it to the pharmaceutical and the health
insurance companies, bending them to his will; the Obama who demonizes
his predecessor and his opponents, portraying them as the source of all
the problems that only he can solve.” (16)

With so much arrogance at play, D’Souza explains, plus
wilHo-power and vengefulness, it makes sense that Obama supports
environmental regulations, wants the rich pay higher taxes, and plans to
withdraw American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. But D’Souza
cautions that the usual Right complaint that Obama is an anti-American
Socialist is slightly off. Obama has a twisted affection for his
country, even as he harms America at every turn, and Socialism
isn’t really the point for him, even though most of his policies
are Socialist. For D’Souza, the anti-colonial theory explains
everything that Obama does as president, including the moments when he
pretends to be a healer to keep the facade going. Obama is
“dedicated to a campaign of revenge” on behalf of his defeated
father: “Obama is on a systematic campaign against the colonial
system that destroyed his father’s dreams. With a kind of
suppressed fury, he is committed to keep going until he has brought that
system down. And according to his father’s anti-colonial ideology,
which Obama has internalized for himself, that system is the military
and economic power of the
United States of America

.” (17)

In D’Souza’s telling, Dreams from My Father is a
revelation of Obama’s commitment to destroy everything smacking of
Western colonialism. Thus, Obama gave it an unusual title, stressing
“from.” Obama’s mother, D’Souza says, taught Obama
tr.v. i·dol·ized, i·dol·iz·ing, i·dol·iz·es
1. To regard with blind admiration or devotion. See Synonyms at revere1.

2. To worship as an idol.
 his father, and she had anti-Amer-ican prejudices to match.
As a youth, Obama imbibed the anticolonial folklore of Hawaii and
Indonesia. The defining moment of Obama’s youth was the day that
his father explained anticolonialism to Obama’s 5th-grade class. As
a student, Obama consumed a diet of “oppression studies,”

 for American liberal arts education. Upon
making his pilgrimage to Kenya, Obama dedicated himself to fulfilling
his father’s dream, which filled him with hatred, “but it was
a calm hatred, an ideological hatred” of the system and social
hierarchies that Western colonialism created. This hateful dream
consumes Obama and his presidency, D’Souza contends: “It is a
dream that, as president, he is imposing with a vengeance on America and
the world.” (18)

As a domestic policy, D’Souza explains, post-colonialism is
always about humbling the
The upper social stratum of society, composed of wealthy and professional people, especially when viewed as controlling society’s economic power.
 by subordinating it to the power of
government. Obama is obsessed with sticking it to the rich, although,
admittedly, Obama is not as stridently anti-capitalist as his father
was. D’Souza notes that Obama’s father was a post-colonial
African Socialist–not a Communist–who wanted to use the power of the
state to take over the economy and to abolish everything that remained
of British rule in Kenya. The elder Obama clashed with Jomo Kenyatta
over Socialism versus capitalism, demanding a Kenyan state that
nationalized the
means of production

. In D’Souza’s telling,
Obama, like his father, wants to use the power of the state to bring
down the overclass. But for Obama, Socialist ideology is not
indispensable for this purpose. Obama is comfortable with corporate
capitalists, he persuaded the insurance companies to support health
reform, and he provided millions of new customers to them. D’Souza
reasons that Obama is happy to deal with the capitalist class as long as
it is willing “to succumb to a government leash and to being told
what to do by Big Daddy Obama.” (19)

In foreign affairs, in this telling, Obama-style anti-colonialism
is equally straightforward, though operating in reverse, seeking to
diminish American power. D’Souza claims that Obama does not want to
win the war in Afghanistan; in fact, Obama wants the United States to
lose in Afghanistan, to strike a blow for anti-colonialism: “His
only concern is how fast he can get America out.” The only reason
that Obama escalated in Afghanistan was to provide political cover for
his anti-imperial animus to get the United States out of the Muslim
world. Similarly, D’Souza contends, Obama does not care if Iran and
North Korea attain nuclear weapons; his only concern in this area is to
lesson the nuclear capability of the United States and its allies. (20)

That would seem to convict Obama of anti-Americanism too, but
D’Souza wants to be fair. Obama has an affection of some kind for
the country that lifted him to power, D’Souza allows. To be sure,
Obama does hate Republicans–“They are not just wrong; they are
evil.” Obama’s nice talk about civility and working together
are just for show; Obama regards Republicans as the enemy, the
neo-colonial party. Working with them would be pointless. But
D’Souza acknowledges that Obama does not hate his country. At
least, Obama does not hate his fantasy of what America should become–a
humbled, mediocre, post-colonial nation that does not think of itself as
an exception to history. D’Souza explains that Obama regards
himself as a defender of America’s interests, because he thinks
that America and the world would be better off if the United States lost
its great power. This vision of the United States is apparently
therapeutic for Obama’s twisted psyche, D’Souza observes,
“but it is a ridiculous one for America in the twenty-first
century.” (21)

The anticolonial thesis
Represented or appearing as such; ostensive:
 explains Obama’s
determination to expand government power at home and to diminish
American power abroad. According to D’Souza, it also explains why
Obama seems “so distant, detached, and even bored.” It is
draining enough to have to act white for the public, but Obama has an
extremely eccentric and advanced case of the “acting white”
problem. Obama is caught in a time machine, D’Souza contends. He
has no real connection to American history. Even his relationship to the
Civil Rights movement is totally contrived for a political purpose, not
something that he feels. At the level of feeling and imagination, Obama
reads himself into a different story, the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya,
which the British crushed with vicious brutality. For Obama,
D’Souza argues, the story that matters is the battle of African
guerilla movements against Europe’s
v. ma·raud·ed, ma·raud·ing, ma·rauds

To rove and raid in search of plunder.
To raid or pillage for spoils.
 colonial armies.
Obama yearns for the heroic grandeur and moral clarity of the black
Africans who stood up against their white oppressors. George Washington
pales by comparison, as does the “dull and thin” world of
global summits to which Obama drags himself as President of the United
States. (22)

Take a breath. Obama’s life and presidency are consumed with
rage and revenge? He does not think like an American or identify with
the United States? He is bored by the presidency? The Civil Rights
movement means nothing to him? He does not believe in American liberal
democracy? He escalated in Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to

 American power? He laments, daydreaming in the West Wing, that he
didn’t get to fight the British in Kenya in 1952? What is beyond

D’Souza says that Obama is crafty in spreading his
anti-colonial poison, such as, after the
Gulf of Mexico

 oil spill:
“Time and again he condemned ‘British Petroleum’–an
interesting term since the company long ago changed its name to
BP.” Fascinating, except that Obama never said “British
Petroleum” in the event that D’Souza describes, let alone time
and again. Straining to tag Obama, of all people, as an advocate of
racial revenge, D’Souza descends to a level of race-baiting that
would have embarrassed Lee Atwater or George Wallace. He misrepresents
Dreams from My Father to the point of standing the book on its head.
Somehow, in D’Souza’s telling, Obama absorbed anti-colonial
vengeance from a father that he idolized, never mind that Obama met his
father only once; he knew very little about him throughout his youth; in
his memoir, he described the pain that he felt upon learning about his
father’s life; and D’Souza has no theory about how Obama
internalized his father’s ostensible ideology. (23)

Above all, it is perverse to
tr.v. stig·ma·tized, stig·ma·tiz·ing, stig·ma·tiz·es
1. To characterize or brand as disgraceful or ignominious.

2. To mark with stigmata or a stigma.

 Obama as an obsessed
anti-colonialist on the evidence that his writings contain critical
remarks about imperialism. The United States was founded as an
anti-colonial rebellion, and Obama says nothing about empire or
colonialism that is not standard fare for liberal Democrats.
Obama’s most radical position is something that he shares with
Harry Truman and Richard Nixon–that the poor and vulnerable should be
provided with health coverage. Since Obama has the same ideology as John
Kerry and Hillary Clinton, what is the point of making him out as a
vengeful anti-colonialist who wants to put
 also Whit·ey  
n. pl. whit·eys Offensive Slang
Used as a disparaging term for a white person or white people.

Noun 1.
 down and take
whitey’s money?

But that question answers itself, and Gingrich embraced the answer
as a platform for a presidential candidacy. D’Souza’s account
was, to Gingrich, profound, brilliant, and utterly convincing. Gingrich
told National Review Online that to understand Obama, one has to
understand “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”; otherwise, Obama
is “outside our comprehension,” exactly as he likes it:
“This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the
world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of
which he is now president.” Gingrich charged that Obama is
“authentically dishonest,” a trick that he mastered as an
Alinsky-style community organizer: “He was being the person he
needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to
achieve.” For absurdity, it would be hard to top this particular
politician presuming moral superiority over this president.(24)

Things are not so bad that Donald Trump or Newt Gingrich can ride
naked race-baiting to the presidency. Mitt Romney and most of the
Republican contenders try to steer clear of it as they compete for the
Republican nomination. But they are competing for the favor of a
Republican base that wants to believe ludicrous things about Obama.

The good society

In 1985, a few years into the Reagan era, a group of academics led
by sociologist Robert Bellah tried to account for what was happening to
America morally, socially, and politically. Bellah’s coauthors were
Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton;
the book they wrote was Habits of the Heart: Individualism and
Commitment in American life. In the wake of Reagan’s massive
electoral victory over Walter Mondale, a symbol of New Deal liberalism,
the Bellah group disputed Reagan’s campaign slogan that it was

morning in America

.” (25)

The Bellah group countered that America was wracked with terrible
problems of economic injustice and moral cynicism. In the past, they
argued, the
 /an·ti·so·cial/ ()
1. denoting behavior that violates the rights of others, societal mores, or the law.

2. denoting the specific personality traits seen in antisocial personality disorder.
 ravages of American individualism were mitigated
by the influence of Biblical religion and civic republicanism in
American life. These moral languages taught an ethic of community
stewardship and provided a
litmus test

A test for chemical acidity or basicity using litmus paper.
 for assessing a society’s
moral health. The test was how society deals with the cluster of
problems pertaining to wealth and poverty. Scripture condemns inequality
and oppression, taking the side of the poor against the principalities
and powers that exploit them. Republican theory from Aristotle to the
American founders assumed that a free society could survive only if
there is an approximate equality of opportunity and condition among

The Bellah group acknowledged that these moral convictions had
always been contested in the United States. But now they were being
erased from America’s cultural memory. American youth no longer
knew or cared about the biblical sources of the American experiment or
the social gospel dream of a cooperative commonwealth. A new and largely
unchurched American generation voted for Reagan and cheered his
broadsides against liberalism, the welfare state, the feminist and peace
movements, the mainline churches, and the unions. The dominant trend in
American life, according to the Bellah group, was toward an atomized
society that reduced all moral and social issues to the languages of
possessive or expressive individualism. In national politics, the
triumph of Reaganism symbolized this trend, just as Reagan himself
mythologized it.

Habits of the Heart struck a cultural nerve. The book’s
portrait of an increasingly rootless and
   also nar·cism
1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See Synonyms at conceit.

2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in
 American middle
class was heralded as a telling critique of the loss of community in
American life. In the academy, the book fueled an upsurge of

A member or supporter of a small cooperative or a collectivist community.

 social theory, which began with Michael Sandel’s
landmark critique of the liberal ideology of the “unencumbered
self,” Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982). Communitarians
criticized the egocentrism of America’s dominant culture,
contending that American conservatism and liberalism were overly
preoccupied with individual rights and individual success. Both of
America’s dominant political traditions eroded the connections
between individuals and their families, communities, and nations. Both
traditions rationalized the assaults of global capitalism on
communities, mediating institutions, and the environment. Communitarians
resurrected John Dewey’s understanding of democracy as a
“great community” of shared values and his conception of
politics as the project of continually recreating the public. The more
progressive versions of communitarian theory followed the Bellah group
in stressing the wealth and poverty test of a society’s moral
health. (26)

To be sure, Habits of the Heart had many flaws and limitations. It
was decidedly focused on the moral condition of professionally oriented,
middle-class, mostly white Americans. The book lauded Martin Luther
King, Jr. as an exemplar of the U.S. best moral traditions, but it
offered no account of the African-American culture that produced him. It
took a liberal feminist perspective for granted without discussing
feminism or the implications of its argument for feminism. It could be
read as a nostalgic lament for a lost Christian America, even as the
Bellah group disavowed that reading. The book seemed strangely removed
from important debates of the time over racial, cultural, and sexual
politics. These drawbacks made the book ripe for

conservatives who waved off its animating concern with social justice.

With all its limitations in method and perspective, however, Habits
of the Heart portrayed the eclipse of moral community in the United
States in ways that reflected far beyond its focus on upwardly mobile
white professionals. The Bellah group stressed that many Americans no
longer took ethical instruction from character shaping communities of
any kind. Asked to explain their moral values, Americans increasingly
fell back on their society’s ethos of the sovereign consumer. The
religious and republican moral languages of America’s past were
being displaced by an individualistic pursuit of success or emotional
satisfaction that placed highly tenuous selves at the center of a
meaningless world.

Moreover, the Bellah group cautioned that this sorry picture
affected not only those who belonged to no community. Even for most
Americans who identified with some religious, cultural, or political
community, the ethic of individual rights and success provided the
primary operative frame of moral reference. For the Christian Right,
American capitalism folded seamlessly into the Christian gospel.
Mainline churches, on the other hand, struggling to stay in business,
took the therapeutic option, providing undemanding communities of care
for religious consumers and preaching an innocuous gospel that
threatened nobody.

Habits of the Heart called for a renewal of morally generative
communities of memory that cared about social justice. It warned that
the erosion of America’s religious and democratic traditions had
seriously weakened the force of the biblical/republican ethic in
American life. Many Americans claimed to believe that poverty could be
alleviated by private charity. This belief was closely tied to the
dominant American dream of becoming a star, a dream
1. Constant in application or attention; diligent:  See Synonyms at busy.

by commercial culture. The Bellah group contrasted two American dreams,
both deeply rooted in U.S. American history. In the dominant dream, one
attained enough success to stand apart from others, not have to worry
about them, and perhaps look down on them. The second dream was that of
living in a good society, “a society that would really be worth
living in.” (28)

A good society would subordinate private interest to the common
good, the Bellah group argued. It would reduce the punishments of
failure and the rewards of success. It would resist the relentless
capitalist drive to turn labor and nature into commodities. It would
expand opportunities for socially useful work and promote economic
democracy by expanding the cooperative and community-development
sectors. It would recognize that commercial society is at war with the
world’s natural ecology and its social ecology. Habits of the Heart
called for a new social ecology that strengthened the social ties that
bind human beings to each other.

That came right to the edge of saying, twenty-six years ago, what
must be said today–that American democracy and the world’s ecology
are being routed by the unsustainable demands of corporate capitalism.
The Earth’s ecosystem cannot sustain a U.S. American-level
lifestyle for more than one-fifth of the world’s population. The
economy is physical. There are limits to economic growth. Global warming
is melting the Arctic ice cap at a shocking pace, as well as large areas
 permanently frozen soil, subsoil, or other deposit, characteristic of arctic and some subarctic regions; similar conditions are also found at very high altitudes in mountain ranges.
 in Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, and destroying wetlands
and forests around the world. Everything on the planet that is frozen is
melting. We have to find alternatives to a system that constantly
demands more freedom for itself to pile up more wealth for the few while
treating the destructive aspects of its activity as somebody else’s

The Bellah group did not foresee
twenty years

 of unleashed greed in
the financial sector. It did not foresee the abolition of the
Glass-Steagall wall separating commercial banks and investment firms, or
Wall Street’s soaring traffic in derivatives. Yet it saw the
problem clearly enough to write a sequel, The Good Society (1991), that
stressed the necessity of creating structural alternatives to corporate
capitalism. The Good Society made a programmatic argument for expanding
the cooperative sector, reducing the anxiety and cynicism of economic
life, building a movement for economic democracy, and helping people to
be secure enough to make commitments to each other and pursue activities
that are good in themselves. (29)

Shrewdly, the Bellah group insisted that its social vision passed
Reinhold Niebuhr’s tests for realism. They appealed to
Niebuhr’s passion for justice, his commitment to democracy, his
emphasis on the limits of politics, and his commitment to recreating the
public. They portrayed Niebuhr’s work as an important corrective to
Dewey’s idealistic liberalism, suggesting that Niebuhr was right
about the inevitability of violence and collective

See also Arrogance, Conceit, Individualism.

Baxter, Ted

TV anchorman who sees himself as most important news topic. [TV: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in Terrace, II, 70]

. The Bellah
group accepted Niebuhr’s thesis that politics is about the struggle
of competing interests for self-promoting power. Movements based on
ethical concern for the common good or religiously inspired good will do
not change structures of power. In social arena, power can only be
challenged by power.

The Bellah group absorbed these lessons deeply enough to understand
that they could not simply return to a pre-Niebuhrian progressivism. The
social gospel movement mistakenly thought that a cooperative
commonwealth was literally achievable, partly because it refused to
accept that group egotism is inevitable. Any worthwhile social ethic had
to absorb Niebuhr’s point that every social gain creates the
possibility of new forms of social evil.

To the Bellah group, however, relinquishing the idea of a good
society on these grounds was a nonstarter, no matter what Niebuhr said
against it. The common good emerges from discussion and struggle. It is
never settled definitively. But some idea of it is necessary to provide
a vision of what is worth struggling for and to test the boundaries of
possibility. The Bellah group observed that in the dominant version of
the American dream, there is no such thing as a good society or the
common good. There is only the sum of individual goods. The sum of
individual goods, however, when organized only by capitalism, eventually
produces a common bad that destroys personal goods along with society.

We have accumulated a staggering common bad since the Bellah group
wrote its books on the common good. Celebrants of neo-liberal
globalization exaggerated the futility of political attempts to channel
economic forces. They were far too credulous about the self-correcting
capacities of the market, which supposedly made it unnecessary to
regulate banks and investment firms. They waved off the huge imbalances
between economies relying on debt-financed consumption and those
promoting over-saving and production-oriented exports. Above all, they
wrongly supposed that America’s widening chasm between productivity
and wages could be bridged with more and more borrowing. In 1955,
corporate taxes yielded 27 percent of federal revenue; by the end of the
Bush Administration, that figure was down to 9 percent, and giant
corporations like Boeing, General Electric, Verizon, and Citigroup paid
no taxes at all–erasing even the memory that it wasn’t always so.

Community and meaning

The progressive communitarian perspective I have just explicated
is, to be sure, well to the left of Obama’s. Some forms of
communitarian theory place a high value on authority, and some are
politically moderate forms of “third way” politics in which


 becomes a vague rationale for
“responsibility,” usually defined as the political middle
ground, wherever it happens to be. Obama is skilled at bending
communitarian thought to the latter purpose, aiming at the middle ground
where every national election is decided. But Obama is a communitarian,
mostly of a progressive-leaning type. His thought was shaped in the
1980s and early 1990s when debates over communitarian criticism
reenergized the field of political theory.

Obama is devoted to a
1. Assembled or organized for deliberation or debate:

2. Characterized by or for use in deliberation or debate.
 politics of the common good that
builds up new and old communities of memory to achieve a good society.
The civic republican language of identity, pragmatic engagement, civil
society, and communities of faith is second nature to him. It was the
basis of his work as a community organizer, which led him to join a
Christian community. It is the basis of eveiything that he says about
the optimum relationship between politics and religion. It is the basis
of his insistence that freedom, equality, and community go together in a
healthy society. It is the basis of his untiring insistence that common
solutions have to be found that mediate rival ideological positions.
Harvard intellectual historian James Kloppenberg aptly observes,
“Obama understands that the power of our principles of liberty and
equality depends not on the fervor with which they are proclaimed but on
the deliberative process from which they are developed. That process
requires us to debate, test, and revise the meaning of our ideals in
practice rather then genuflecting
1. Expressing reverence; reverent.

2. Inspiring reverence.

 before them.” (30)

Democracy is the work of practically and continually renewing
society. Obama had an astute and reflective grasp of it as an organizer,
as he showed in an article for Illinois Issues in 1988. This article,
“Why Organize? Problems and Promise in the Inner City,” had
some clunky sentences lacking noun-verb agreement that later evoked
sneers from anti-Obama bloggers. But those who claim that Obama was
incapable of writing his two books overlook that he never had a

One who writes speeches for others, especially as a profession.

 before he became famous, he wrote every sentence of the
2004 convention
n. Informal
An extremely impressive event or successful outcome: “ 
 that launched his fame, and his early article
on organizing bore the marks of his later thought and style. For Obama,
communitarian theory helped to make sense of long-running debates among
African-Americans over integration versus nationalism, accommodation
versus militancy, and Booker T. Washington versus W E. B. DuBois. By the
1980s, Obama observed, these historic debates usually played out as an
argument between advocates of economic self-development and electoral
politics. In Chicago, the black community was pretty much stalemated
over this binary choice until Harold Washington swept to the
mayor’s office in 1983, after which the party politics group had
four years of glory and pride. Then, Washington died, and the old
stalemate returned. (31)

Obama held out for the community-organizing alternative to a bad
choice between self-help and going political. There had to be a way to
hold together the strengths of the two predominant approaches, he urged.
The community-organizing strategy proposed that there are solutions to
the grinding problems of inner-city communities, that these communities
only lack the power that is necessary to solve their problems, and that
the only way to build up power that makes a difference is to organize
people and money around a common vision. Doing it requires building up
broad-based organizations that unite religious congregations, block
groups, parent associations, and similar groups. Obama implored that
every obstacle to building such organizations is a reason why they are
needed. To build one is to gain voice and power for the needs of
communities, breaking the “crippling isolation” that makes
poor and vulnerable people believe that there is no solution. Community
organizing, Obama concluded with a rhetorical flourish, brings out the
beauty and strength of ordinary human beings: “Through the songs of
the church and the talk on the stoops, through the hundreds of
individual stories of coming up from the South and finding any job that
would pay, of raising families on threadbare budgets, of losing some
children to drugs and watching others earn degrees and land jobs their
parents could never aspire to–it is through these stories and songs of
dashed hopes and powers of endurance, of ugliness and strife, subtlety
and laughter, that organizers can shape a sense of community not only
for others, but for themselves.” (32)

Eighteen years later, now as a U.S. Senator, Obama addressed a
conference on “Building a Covenant for a New America,”
sponsored by Jim Wallis’ “Call to Renewal” organization
and Sojourners magazine. Most of his keynote speech was straight out of
The Audacity of Hope, which was about to be published. In both places,
he expounded on the difference between being religiously faithful in an
open-ended way and claiming religious certainty in a publicly
problematic way. Obama stressed that he was “anchored” in his
faith, but not rigid or dogmatic about it. Here as elsewhere, he walked
a tightrope between saying more than one should say as a public official
and not saying anything to avoid controversy. Too many Democrats took
the path of saying as little as possible, even when they had a religious
faith to cover up. Obama admitted that he took that tack in his 2004
Senate race, which nagged at him. Faced with a far-out opponent who made
dramatic statements about how Jesus Christ would vote, Obama stayed off
the religious issue and waited for election day. (33)

But that ceded the religious issue to conservatives like Alan Keyes
and Pat Robertson. Obama realized that he needed to do better than that.
At the conference, though not in the book, he put it directly–in a
passage that echoed Habits of the Heart and Harvard sociologist Robert
Putnam’s research on the dwindling social capital of Americans.
Putnam reported that Americans were increasingly isolated, lacking vital
ties to social or community networks of any kind; in his arresting
image, “bowling alone” had become commonplace. Obama replied
that human beings need meaning and connection even when they behave
otherwise. Something terribly important is missing in the busyness and
materialism of modern American life, he argued. Busy materialism
violates the spiritual nature of human beings. Obama contended that most
people want a sense of purpose, “a narrative arc to their
lives,” even if they keep to themselves, numb themselves to the
world, and bowl alone: “They’re looking to relieve a chronic
loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans
have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before. And so they
need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening
to them–that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway
towards nothingness.” (34)

He acknowledged that he spoke from experience. He grew up with no
religious faith or community, and when he worked as an organizer with
Christians in Chicago, he sang their songs and shared their values:
“But they sensed a part of me that remained removed, detached, an
observer in their midst. In time, I too came to realize that something
was missing–that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment
to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain
apart and alone.” (35)

By then, heading into a presidential campaign, Obama had become
adept at talking about his spiritual sensibility. On the campaign trail,
he readily found his preacher voice. Later, running the country, it was
harder to find or, at least, it was harder to find occasions to use it.
There were notable exceptions. Obama’s audience at the
Nobel Prize
 award given for outstanding achievement in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, peace, or literature. The awards were established by the will of Alfred Nobel, who left a fund to provide annual prizes in the five areas listed above.
 speech was intently quiet through most of the speech, but near the end,
he jolted the secular Norwegians into an emotional standing ovation with
his peroration about reaching for the world that ought to be, “that
spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.” On
January 12, 2011, speaking to a grieving and polarized community and
nation, Obama the pastor reemerged.

Four days earlier, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had convened one
of her regular outdoor gatherings, which she called “Congress on
Your Corner,” outside a supermarket in Tuscan. A gunman, Jared Lee
Loughner, drew a pistol, shot Giffords in the head, and opened fire on
the crowd of approximately 25 people. Six people were killed and
thirteen were wounded; Giffords was critically wounded. A bitter
national controversy erupted over gun control and the toxic political
atmosphere surrounding immigration and health reform. Loughner had used
a 9-mm Glock-19 semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine that he
purchased legally, despite years of emotional turmoil, and Giffords had
received threats for taking liberal positions on immigration and health
reform. A few months earlier, Giffords had noted on

 that Sarah
Palin’s published target list for the 2010 election depicted the
crosshairs of a gunsight over Giffords’ district. Giffords
protested, “When people do that, they have got to realize there are
consequences to that action.” In the aftermath of the shooting,
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik declared at a press conference:
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the

 see sulfuric acid.
 that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the
government–the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this
country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I
think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice
and bigotry.” (36)

Loughner’s ability to buy a semi-automatic and fire over
twenty shots in a few seconds was one issue. The prevailing atmosphere
of hateful-ness and bigotry was another. Dupnik’s suggestion that
this massacre had some connection to Tea Party activism was something
else, and not helpful or true. Obama walked into a cauldron of grief and
anger in Tucson, acknowledging immediately that nothing he could say
would “fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts.” He applied
Psalm 46 to Tucson: “God is within her, she will not fail.” He
moved, in a pastoral fashion, through the roll of the slain, making
personal remarks about each victim, ending with a nine-year-old girl,
Christina Taylor Green. He reported that Giffords had opened her eyes
that day; in the manner of black church repetition, he said it four
times. (37)

And he spoke against the accusatory mode. “Scripture tells us
that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for
reasons that defy human understanding.” It was imperative not to
rush to simple explanations and accusations, he implored: “For the
truth is none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack.
None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these
shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of
a violent man’s mind. Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind
this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such
violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to
lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. But what we cannot
do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That
we cannot do. That we cannot do.”

When we suffer tragedies, Obama observed, we are awakened to our
mortality. We remember that we have only a little while on this Earth
and that in this fleeting time, “what matters is not wealth, or
status, or power, or fame–but rather, how well we have loved and what
small part we have played in making the lives of other people
better.” He had a black church “close,” a take-home
message about Christina jumping in rain puddles in heaven, but before
Obama got there, he had a quintessentially Obama pre-close: “We may
not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat
one another, that’s entirely up to us. And I believe that for all
our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the
forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.”

What kind of country?

What kind of country should the United States want to be? For two
centuries, Americans have given two fundamentally different answers to
this question. The first is the vision of a society that provides
unrestricted liberty to acquire wealth. The second is the vision of a
realized democracy in which democratic rights over society’s major
institutions are established. In the first vision, the right to property
is lifted above the right to self-government, and the just society
minimizes the equalizing role of government. In the second view, the
right to self-government is considered superior to the right to
property, and the just society places democratic checks on social,
political, and economic power. (38)

Both of these visions are ideal types, deeply rooted in U.S.
American history, that reflect inherent tensions between classic
liberalism and democracy. Both have limited and conditioned each other
in the U.S. American experience. But in every generation, one of them
gains predominance over the other, shaping the terms of political
possibility. From 1980 to 2008, the unleashed capitalist vision
prevailed in American politics. Now, we are in a national conversation
about whether capitalism or democracy should have the upper hand.

To the founders that wrote the U.S. constitution,
“liberal” was a good word, referring to the liberties of white
male property owners, while “democracy” was a scare word,
referring to the vengeance and stupidity of the mob. From the beginning,
democratic movements countered that liberty must be fused with
democracy. The building blocks of American liberal democracy emerged
from the early struggles between the parties of liberty and democracy:
an open society, checks and balances, enumerated powers,
consent of the

, due process, the republican safeguards of
1. An advocate of federalism.

2. Federalist A member or supporter of the Federalist Party.

1. Of or relating to federalism or its advocates.

separation of church and state

Separation of church and state is a political and legal doctrine which states that government and religious institutions are to be kept separate and independent of one another.
, and disagreements over who deserved
to be enfranchised, whether liberty could tolerate much democracy, and
whether the American idea included republican democracy or a strong
federal state.

In the nineteenth century, the Jeffersonian/Jacksonian party of
democracy prevailed about republican democracy; the Federalist/Whig
party of the state prevailed about a federal state; both parties
compounded the U.S. original sins against Native Americans and
African-Americans; the Republican Party emerged to challenge
 , in law, any property other than a freehold estate in land (see tenure). A chattel is treated as personal property rather than real property regardless of whether it is movable or immovable (see property).
 slavery; and the Progressive movement embraced the idea of a centralized
government. The latter development turned the party of democracy into
the party of the state, changing the meaning of “liberal” in
American politics. Before the Progressive era, the
Federalist/Whig/Republican tradition stood for the consolidation of the
national union, while Jacksonian and populist democrats stood for
decentralized power, small-town values, and farming interests. The
Progressive movement changed this picture by democratizing liberal
ideology. Progressives converted to national governance, laying the
groundwork for the New Deal, while Republicans became the party of
anti-government individualism and big business. (39)

The party of democracy, despite its racist and sexist history, made
gains for social justice by demanding that society recognizes the
and humanity

 of groups lacking privileged status. The logic of democracy
put the question to privileged groups: Why should only you have access
to education, property, wealth, health care, and other social goods?

Democracy and the common good go together. Obama did not exaggerate
when he spoke at Tom Harkin’s steak fry in 2006: The unleashed
capitalist vision of the Republican Party is about dismantling
democratic governance. It is about breaking up government piece by
piece, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, abolishing programs for
the poor and vulnerable, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy,
abolishing public schools, replacing police with private security
guards, letting Wall Street do whatever it wants, and turning public
parks into privately owned playgrounds. Obama rightly stressed that this
vision of a society favoring the interests of corporations and the rich
lies behind almost everything that Republicans do in Congress. It is the
view that America is at its best when Americans deny that they owe
obligations to each other.

Obama stopped putting it this starkly after he won the presidency,
because he had no chance of winning Repubhcan cooperation on anything if
he did not tell Republicans that he expected better than that. In his
State of the Union Address

, he told Republican leaders that if they
were going to insist that no business could get done in the Senate
without sixty votes, they had to take responsibility for governing:
“Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but
it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not
our ambitions. So let’s show the American people that we can do it
together.” (40)

He knows that cooperation across party lines to solve the
nation’s problems will not happen, yet he keeps calling for it.
Obama wants to be the Ronald Reagan of his party, a forward-looking
optimist who changes the course of history. He wants to do it by winning
independents and a significant minority of Republicans to his idea of
good government, just as Reagan won over independents and the Blue Dog
Democrats. But nobody doubted where Reagan stood ideologically, and
Obama has no chance of winning anything more than token Republican
cooperation. Reagan was the most ideologically defined president of the
past half-century and the only ideological movement leader to be elected
president. Obama doubts that his
n. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.

2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
 serves him as well. To
succeed, he believes, he must keep proving that he cares more about
civility and cooperation than about fighting for a principle.

He may, indeed, win a second term by sticking to this script But
the big issues that loom ahead will have to be fought over, because
America cannot build a clean energy economy, rebuild the nation’s
infrastructure, make massive investments in education, lift the cap on
Social Security, break the financial
  [Gr.,=rule by the few], rule by a few members of a community or group. When referring to governments, the classical definition of oligarchy, as given for example by Aristotle, is of government by a few, usually
, and scale back the
military empire on Republican terms. The big things that must be done
contradict Republican ideology. Even defending the financial and
healthcare reforms that Obama has achieved will require more fighting
than he put up to attain them. Obama wants to “win the future”
by inspiring Americans to believe that they can still do big things.
Surely, he implores, America can build new airports like the Chinese and
build fast trains like the Europeans and Chinese. (41)

But to win the future, the party of the common good must struggle
with conviction for a just society, telling a galvanizing story about
the struggle for it. The saddest irony of Obama’s presidency is
that he has fallen short on conveying what he believes in and is willing
to fight for. Campaigning in 2008, Obama was eloquent and inspiring,
using his story to paint a vision of America’s vibrant,
cosmopolitan, communitarian future. Governing afterward, he mostly coped
and adapted, leaving his supporters perplexed about where he wanted to
take the nation. Obama is still the most compelling human being to reach
the White House in decades and a figure of singular promise for the
progressive transformation of American politics and society. But to
fulfill that promise, he has to overcome his own cautious, accommodating
temperament, helping to mobilize a movement for social justice and the
common good.

Today, America’s super-wealthy either pay no income taxes at
all or pay very little while treating themselves mostly to the capital
gains rate–all perfectly legally, owing to the favors that Washington
showers on the super-wealthy. Investment managers earning billions of
dollars per year are allowed to classify their income as carried
interest, which is taxed at the same rate as capital gains. Constantly,
we are told that the investor class would lose its zeal for making money
if it had to pay taxes on its actual income or if the capital gain rates
were raised. But this assurance does not pass the laugh test, and there
is no evidence for it. Investment tycoon
Warren Buffett

, after 60 years
of working with investors, reports that he has never met one who shied
away from making a promising investment because of the tax rate on a
potential gain. (42)

A tax system that serves the common good would nave additional
brackets for the highest incomes, as the United States once did. It
would have a bracket for $1 million earners and a bracket for $10
million dollar earners and a bracket for $100 million earners and so on.
It would lift the cap on the Social Security tax, taxing salaries above
$102,000 per year, or at least, as Obama proposed in 2008, creating a
“doughnut hole” that adds a Social Security tax for
individuals earning more than $250,000. And it would facilitate creative
planning for economic democracy.

If we can spend trillions of taxpayer dollars bailing out banks and
setting up “bad bank” contraptions to eat their toxic debt, we
ought to be able to create good public banks at the state and federal
levels to do good things. A national infrastructure bank, once created,
would get serious money plowed into infrastructure rebuilding on an
ongoing basis. Public banks could finance start-ups in green technology
that are currently
intr.v. lan·guished, lan·guish·ing, lan·guish·es
1. To be or become weak or feeble; lose strength or vigor.

 and provide financing for cooperatives
that traditional banks spurn. They can be established at the state
level, following the leads of North Dakota and Washington, to create
state credit machines not dependent on Wall Street. They can be
established at the federal level by Congressional mandate or by claiming
the good assets of banks seized by the government, or both.

These would be very good projects for a second term, spurring a
realignment that is long overdue.


(1.) See V. O Key, “A Theory of Critical Elections,”
Journal of Politics 17 (1955), pp. 3-18; Walter Dean Burnham, 1970,
Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics,
New York
 Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
Norton; Burnham, ”

 Schemes and
adj. tart·i·er, tart·i·est
Of, relating to, or suggestive of a prostitute.

tarti·ly adv.
The ‘System of 1896’ as a Case in Point,” Social Science
History 10 (August 1986), 263-314; Paul Kleppner (Westport, CT:
Greenwood, 1981); Jerome M. Clubb, William H. Flanigan, and Nancy H.
Zingale, 1980, Partisan Realignment: Voters, Parties, and Government in
American History, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Parts of this
chapter adapt material from Gary Dorrien, “The Common Good,”
Christian Century (April 19, 2011), and Dorrien, Economy, Difference,
Empire: Social Ethics for Social justice (New York:
Columbia University

, 2010), pp. 145-152.

(2.) See Edward N. Wolff, 1996, Top Heavy, New York: New Press;
Wolf, “Recent Trends in Household
Wealth in the United States

Rising Debt and the Middle-Class Squeeze–An Update to 2007,”
Working Paper No. 589 (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY:
Levy Economics Institute

 of Bard College, 2010); Kevin Phillips, 1990, The Politics of Rich and
Poor, New York: Random House; Joseph E. Stiglitz, “Of the 1%, by
the 1%, for the IV Vanity Fair (May 2011);
G. William Domhoff

, 1990, The
Power Bite and the State: How Policy is Made in America (Hawthorne, NY:
Aldine de Gruyter).

(3.) See Eamonn Fingleton, 2003, Unsustainable: How Economic Dogma
Is Destroying American Prosperity, New York: Nation Books; Doug Henwood,
After the New Economy (New York: New Press, 2005); Barry
 common name for the blue, crystalline heptahydrate of cupric sulfate called chalcanthite, a minor ore of copper. It also refers to a fine-grained, light to dark colored blue-gray sandstone.
Bennett Harrison, 1982, The

A shift in an economy from producing goods to producing services. Such a shift is most likely to occur in mature economies such as that of the United States.
 of America: Plant
Closings, Community Abandonment, and the Dismantling of Basic Industry,
New York: Basic Books;
Michael J. Piore

 and Charles E. Sabel, 1984, The
Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity, New York: Basic

(4.) Thomas L. Friedman, 2000, The Lexus and the Olive Tree:
Understanding Globalization, New York: Anchor Books; Friedman, 2005, The
World Is Rat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, New York:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Jagdish Bhagwati, 2004, In Defense of
Globalization, New York: Oxford University Press.

(5.) Congressional Budget Office, ”

 Report: Estimated
Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and
Economic Output from April 2010 through June 2010,” (August 2010),
Washington, DC.

(6.) Brad O’Leary, 2008, The Audacity of Deceit: Barack
Obama’s War on American Values, Los Angeles:

WND Will Not Disclose
WND Waving Not Drowning
WND Why Not Design  
 Books; Aaron
Klein, The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists,
Socialists, and Other Anti-American Extremists (Washington, DC: WND
Books, 2010); Michelle Malkin, 2009, Culture of Corruption: Obama and
His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, Washington, DC: Regnery;
Pamela Geller (with Robert Spencer) The Post-American Presidency: The
Obama Administration’s War on America (New York: Threshold
Editions, 2010); Webster Griffon Tarpley, Obama: The Postmodern Coup
(Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive Press, 2008); Jack Cashill, 2011,
Deconstructing Obama, New York: Threshold Editions, Simon &
Schuster; see Max Blumenthal, “Queen of the Birthers,” The
Daily Beast (July 30, 2009),; Cashill,
“Is Khalid al-Mansour the Man Behind Obama Myth?”
WorldNetDaily (August 28, 2008),

(7.) Jerome R. Corsi, 2008, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and
the Cult of Personality, New York: Threshold Editions; John E.
O’Neill and Jerome R. Corsi, 2004, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat
Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, Washington, DC: Regnery;


MMFA Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
MMFA Manitoba Minor Football Association  
 Investigates: Who is Jerome Corsi, coauthor of Swift Boat
Vets Attack Book?” Media Matters (August 6, 2008),; quotes; Kenneth P. Vogel,
“Wild Theories of’Obama Nation’Author,” Politico
(August 13, 2008),

(8.) Jerome R. Corsi, 2007, The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger
with Mexico and Canada, Los Angeles: WND Books; Corsi, The Obama Nation:
leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, quote x.

(9.) Barack Obama, “I’m Here Because Somebody
Marched,” Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, Selma, Alabama (March 4,

(10.) Corsi, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of
Personality, quote 33.

(11.) Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Stoiy of Race and
Inheritance (1995; New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004), 51; Corsi, The
Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, 65-6, 82-3;

, “Obama’s Back Story,” Washington Post
(March 27, 2007); Kristen Scharnberg and Kim Barker, “The
not-so-simple story of Barack Obama’s youth,” Chicago Tribune
(March 25, 2007); Frantz Fanon, 1967, Black Skin, White Masks, New York:

(12.) Corsi, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of
Personality, 70-91.

(13.) Ibid., quotes 230, 233; Jerome R. Corsi, Where’s the
Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be
President (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2011).

(14.) Corsi, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of
Personality, 80-84.

(15.) Dinesh D’Souza, “How Obama Thinks,” Forbes
(September 27, 2010).

(16.) Dinesh D’Souza, The Roots of Obama’s Rage
(Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2010), quote 19.

(17.) Ibid., quote 199.

(18.) Ibid., quotes 127, 35.

(19.) Ibid., quote 172.

(20.) Ibid., quotes 52. 55.

(21.) Ibid., quotes 170, 218.

(22.) Ibid., quotes 198, 199.

(23.) Ibid., quote 47.

(24.) Robert Costa, “Gingrich: Obama’s ‘Kenyan,
anti-colonial Worldview,” National Review Online (September 11,

(25.) Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann
Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and
Commitment in American Life (Berkeley:
University of California Press

1985; third edition, 2008).

(26.) Michael Sandel, 1982, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice,
Cambridge University Press

; see William Sullivan, 1982,
Reconstructing Public Philosophy, Berkeley: University of California
Press; Michael Walzer, 1985, Spheres of justice A Defense of Pluralism
and Equality, New York: Basic Books; Alasdair Maclntyre, 1984, After
Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame;
Amitai Etzioni, 1993, The Spirit of Community: Rights, Responsibilities,
and the Communitarian Agenda, New York: Crown Publishers.

(27.) See Vincent Harding, “Toward a Darkly Radiant Vision of
America’s Truth: A Letter of Concern, An Invitation to
Re-Creation,” in Community in America: The Challenge of Habits of
the Heart (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 67-83.

(28.) Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, and Tipton, Habits of the
Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, quote 285.

(29.) Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann
Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton, 1991, The Good Society, New York: Alfred
A. Knopf.

(30.) James T. Kloppenberg, 2011, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and
the American Political Tradition, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, quote 265.

(31.) Barack Obama, “Why Organize? Problems and Promise in the
Inner City,” Illinois Issues (1988), republished 2008,

(32.) Ibid.

(33.) Barack Obama, “Barack Obama Speaks out on Faith and
Politics: ‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address,” June 28,
2006,; Barack Obama, 2006, The Audacity of Hope:
Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, New York: Three Rivers Press,
pp. 195-226; see Kloppenberg, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the
American Political Tradition, 141-144.

(34.) Obama, “Barack Obama Speaks out on Faith and Politics:
‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address”; Robert Putnam,
“Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital,”
Journal of Democracy 6 (1995), pp. 65-78.

(35.) Obama, “Barack Obama Speaks out on Faith and Politics:
‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address.”

(36.) Michael Falcone, Amy Walter, Z. Byron Wolf, “Arizona
Shooting Touches Off Fierce Debate Over Political Rhetoric,” ABC
News: The Note, (January 9, 2011),, quotes;
Peter Grier, “Jared Lee Loughner: What is Known About Tucson,
Arizona Shooting Suspect,”
Christian Science
 religion founded upon principles of divine healing and laws expressed in the acts and sayings of Jesus, as discovered and set forth by Mary Baker Eddy and practiced by the Church of Christ, Scientist.
 Monitor (January 10,

(37.) The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks
by the President at a Memorial Service for the Victims of the Shooting
in Tucson, Arizona,” January 12, 2011,

(38.) This section adapts material from Gary Dorrien, “Beyond
State and Market: Christianity and the Future of Economic
Democracy,” Crosscurrents (Summer 1995), pp. 184-204.

(39.) See Michael J. Sandel, 1996, Democracy’s Discontent:
America in Search of a Public Philosophy, Cambridge:
Harvard University

, pp. 3-24; Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 1986, The Cycles of American
History, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, pp. 23-49; Robert Dahl, 1985, A
Preface to Economic Democracy, Berkeley: University of California Press;
Howard Zinn, 1995, A People’s History of the United States,
1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins; Gary Dorrien, 2009, Economy,
Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice, New York: Columbia
University Press, pp. 143-144.

(40.) Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President in Sate of the
Union Address,” The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
(January 27, 2010),

(41.) Barack Obama, “State of the Union Address, 2011”
(January 25, 2011),

(42.) Warren E. Buffett, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,”
New York Times (August 15, 2011).