ABOUT THIS BOOK
Barack Obama’s galvanizing victory in 2008, coming amid the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s, opened the door to major reforms. But the president quickly faced skepticism from supporters and fierce opposition from Republicans, who scored sweeping wins in the 2010 midterm election. Here, noted political scientist Theda Skocpol surveys the political landscape and explores its most consequential questions: What happened to Obama’s “new New Deal”? Why have his achievements enraged opponents more than they have satisfied supporters? How has the Tea Party’s ascendance reshaped American politics?
Skocpol’s compelling account rises above conventional wisdom and overwrought rhetoric. The Obama administration’s response to the recession produced bold initiatives—health care reform, changes in college loans, financial regulation—that promise security and opportunity. But these reforms are complex and will take years to implement. Potential beneficiaries do not readily understand them, yet the reforms alarm powerful interests and political enemies, creating the volatile mix of confusion and fear from which Tea Party forces erupted. Skocpol dissects the popular and elite components of the Tea Party reaction that has boosted the Republican Party while pushing it far to the right at a critical juncture for U.S. politics and governance.
Skocpol’s analysis is accompanied by contributions from two fellow scholars and a former congressman. At this moment of economic uncertainty and extreme polarization, as voters prepare to render another verdict on Obama’s historic presidency, Skocpol and her respondents help us to understand its triumphs and setbacks and see where we might be headed next.
Skocpol's incisive account of the first two years of the Obama presidency's "new New Deal" begins by highlighting contrasts with the original New Deal era. She emphasizes significant contextual differences (economic conditions, media biases, public attitudes toward government) that would have daunted FDR himself, who, unlike Obama, enjoyed bipartisan support at the beginning of his administration…Informed by pathbreaking research on the Tea Party, Skocpol's provocative, original, and lively analysis is supplemented by contributions from Larry M. Bartels, Mickey Edwards, and Suzanne Mettler. Anyone who is passionately concerned about politics and prefers thoughtful discussion to polemic will find this book invaluable.
-- Publishers Weekly
Did America sweep into office a candidate promising to remake health care and then punish him a mere two years later for doing just that? More complicated factors were at work, and the Harvard sociologist and political scientist Theda Skocpol attempts to unravel them in Obama and America's Political Future...Whatever is happening with the Democrats, Skocpol's take-home message is that we need to recognize the substantial rightward slide of the Republican Party--a fact that she says has only been underscored by Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate...In the book, Skocpol homes in on the Tea Party, the members of which she and her colleagues have spent many hours interviewing. She's careful to draw a nuanced view of them, to explain that they are not the strict anti-government activists many make them out to be.
-- Jesse Singal Daily Beast
If you read only one book about Obama this electoral season, read Obama and America's Political Future, the slim volume that includes Skocpol's essay and three smart responses. Together, they rise above the tick-tocks and polemics that characterize too much of the United States' political writing.
-- Chrystia Freeland New York Times
A crisp, intelligent report card on Obama's domestic-policy record.
-- John T. McGreevy Commonweal
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword by Daniel Carpenter
1. Obama’s New Deal, Tea Party Reaction, and America’s Political Future - Theda Skocpol
2. A New Deal Fantasy Meets Old Political Realities - Larry M. Bartels
3. Obama’s Problem: Misreading the Mandate - Mickey Edwards
4. Obama and the Challenge of Submerged Policies - Suzanne Mettler
5. Making Sense of America’s Political Maelstrom - Theda Skocpol
About the Authors