A chapter called “Speak, Money” is a good example of the dysfunction. In the section, Hodge talks about the historical definition of freedom, criticizes the new health care law, ponders the meaning of slavery, describes Members of Congress as rulers, not Representatives, and writes about a class struggle in this country. Then he cites a barrage of statistics about income inequality since the 1970s before moving to a discussion on campaign finance reform, which is actually the point of the chapter. It is dizzying to try to keep up with Hodge, and Obama is only a bystander.
In fairness to the author, this text could have some value in the classroom. Hodge’s historical interpretations are clearly something that he is very passionate about, and any connection that exists between our president and our nation’s founders is one worth exploring. But that doesn’t make it valid to blame Hamilton for Obama’s flaws as a liberal president, and the link between banking in the 1700s and corporate influence on politics today is a flimsy one.
“The Mendacity of Hope” reads like a cultured, liberal version of a Tea Party Express script. Hodge does a lot of shouting about taking back our country from a broken political system, but the solutions that he suggests — such as prohibiting private campaign contributions and abolishing private lobbying — are pipe dreams, and bitterly calling Obama the archangel isn’t helping.
Like it or not, the American political system isn’t going anywhere, and that’s no lie.