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The prominent liberal syndicated radio and television host concisely explains the many ways President Obama has failed to live up to either his promises or his progressive potential, leaving Democrats disillusioned on the issues that matter most. Bill Press—a progressive champion and former chair of the California Democratic Party, a one-time co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, and The prominent liberal syndicated radio and television host concisely explains the many ways President Obama has failed to live up to either his promises or his progressive potential, leaving Democrats disillusioned on the issues that matter most. Bill Press—a progressive champion and former chair of the California Democratic Party, a one-time co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, and the popular nationally syndicated radio and television host of The Bill Press Show—reflects back on what for many progressives has been a disappointing presidency and comes to a depressing conclusion: Obama grossly misunderstood the mandate of the enthusiastic crowds that swarmed him on the campaign trail. Instead of recognizing their burning desire for strong progressive leadership, Obama tried to be a “post-partisan” president. The tragedy of Barack Obama is that, in trying to become the great uniter, he has instead become a grave disappointment. From climate change to gun safety to, yes, even health care, Obama’s legacy on important issues falls far short of what could have been. Time and again, he let down his most impassioned supporters—the ones who used their powerful voices to vote for change—neglecting their priorities and wasting his potential by either not doing enough or, worse, repeating the errors of his predecessor. President Obama rode into office on a celebratory tide of liberal jubilation, but as his typically centrist presidency comes to a close, he leaves his supporters haunted by what might have been.


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The prominent liberal syndicated radio and television host concisely explains the many ways President Obama has failed to live up to either his promises or his progressive potential, leaving Democrats disillusioned on the issues that matter most. Bill Press—a progressive champion and former chair of the California Democratic Party, a one-time co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, and The prominent liberal syndicated radio and television host concisely explains the many ways President Obama has failed to live up to either his promises or his progressive potential, leaving Democrats disillusioned on the issues that matter most. Bill Press—a progressive champion and former chair of the California Democratic Party, a one-time co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, and the popular nationally syndicated radio and television host of The Bill Press Show—reflects back on what for many progressives has been a disappointing presidency and comes to a depressing conclusion: Obama grossly misunderstood the mandate of the enthusiastic crowds that swarmed him on the campaign trail. Instead of recognizing their burning desire for strong progressive leadership, Obama tried to be a “post-partisan” president. The tragedy of Barack Obama is that, in trying to become the great uniter, he has instead become a grave disappointment. From climate change to gun safety to, yes, even health care, Obama’s legacy on important issues falls far short of what could have been. Time and again, he let down his most impassioned supporters—the ones who used their powerful voices to vote for change—neglecting their priorities and wasting his potential by either not doing enough or, worse, repeating the errors of his predecessor. President Obama rode into office on a celebratory tide of liberal jubilation, but as his typically centrist presidency comes to a close, he leaves his supporters haunted by what might have been.

30 review for Buyer's Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    “Yet, despite his best efforts and intentions, Barack Obama, unlike George W. Bush, will leave office without having found a way to persuade Congress to raise the minimum wage for all workers nationwide. Thus, as of this writing, the federal minimum wage remains $7.25—which, in terms of purchasing power, is lower than it was in 1968. Little wonder that so many working Americans are struggling.” ― Bill Press, Buyer's Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down I tried. I really did. At the end of the “Yet, despite his best efforts and intentions, Barack Obama, unlike George W. Bush, will leave office without having found a way to persuade Congress to raise the minimum wage for all workers nationwide. Thus, as of this writing, the federal minimum wage remains $7.25—which, in terms of purchasing power, is lower than it was in 1968. Little wonder that so many working Americans are struggling.” ― Bill Press, Buyer's Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down I tried. I really did. At the end of the day though,, for me anyway, this book read like one big laundry list of things Obama did wrong or ways he let us down. There were so MANY things though I could not keep up with it all. I realize everyone has their own opinion when it comes to everything, particularly politics. I enjoy reading political non fiction from ALL points of view. Whether or not Obama was a great, good or awful president wasn't the point for me. I wanted to read this to study the opinions but there was so much info on virtually everything Obama did at the end of the day that it felt..for lack of a better word..whiny. I mean reading this you would think Obama was the worst president we'd ever had. I felt like I'd read three books a quarter of the way in. I just could not get into this book. Sorry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Athan Tolis

    My voting record is Dukakis ’88, Obama ’08. I cried like a baby when Obama won. I’ve kept my copy of the following Wednesday’s NYT. I cried even more when he gave his acceptance speech. There may be people out there who were even happier than me when he won, but I could not have been any happier. Hell, I was balling during his ’12 acceptance speech, when I already knew him to be useless… With that said, this book lies well to my left. Now, I fully appreciate half his job was done when he walked up My voting record is Dukakis ’88, Obama ’08. I cried like a baby when Obama won. I’ve kept my copy of the following Wednesday’s NYT. I cried even more when he gave his acceptance speech. There may be people out there who were even happier than me when he won, but I could not have been any happier. Hell, I was balling during his ’12 acceptance speech, when I already knew him to be useless… With that said, this book lies well to my left. Now, I fully appreciate half his job was done when he walked up to the podium to give that first acceptance speech. Perhaps more. The results of a mediocre presidency come and go. The symbolism remains forever. Especially in light of that fact, I’m convinced that a totally underappreciated part of his job description is that 8 years must elapse with “no drama,” as they say. Regardless, there is no getting around the fact that Obama has been a very disappointing president and “Buyer’s Remorse” is a concise compendium of how he disappointed liberal America. If you are like me, you won’t care for some of these disappointments and if you are a Republican you might be extremely relieved that these failures occurred, but as a manual that lists how Obama’s results stack up against his promises this book is exhaustive. To wit: 1. On the Economy: • He hired Bill Clinton’s market-oriented economic team of deregulators to supplement some of George Bush’s appointees (though Bill Press does not say it in so many words) • He did not dare go for the necessary amount of stimulus (one has to agree: I remember the argument being made that you can always ask for more) • He took the advice that the bond market would care about the size of the deficit and went along with the lionization of Simpson-Bowles (I personally think these proposals were very sensible, and would be happy to see most of them implemented, even now, but then I’m no total leftie) • He pursued an economic Grand Bargain with Boehner, who was never going to deliver • He was outmaneuvered during both the Sequester and the Government Shutdown • He’s better friends with Jamie Dimon and the Wall Street establishment than with the likes of Elizabeth Warren (again, you really really have to agree with Bill Press on this) • HAMP was a disaster for homeowners, and it turns out it was a disaster by design, because its role was to help “foam the runway” for the banks, in the words of Timothy Geithner 2. On Obamacare: • No Single-Payer Healthcare system was delivered or considered • Romneycare (a republican idea and a bonanza for insurance) was delivered instead • The Public Option / “Medicare for all” was killed in an Obama backroom deal, as revealed by Tom Daschle • Obama made a disastrous deal with Big Pharma to get its support for Obamacare • The law itself was drafted by Baucus, Fowler and… Wellpoint • The Website fiasco • The "you can keep your plan" fiasco could have been easily avoided if Obama had bothered to understand how his own healthcare plan works • Delays were allowed, that favored small employers, for no good reason 3. On Human Rights: • Amnesty was granted to the CIA torturers, runners of black sites etc. • Guantanamo is still open • Extrajudicial killings via drones have gone wild and he actually picks the targets himself! • NSA eavesdropping has gone, if anything, even wilder • Snowden and Manning are being treated as criminals, rather than the whistleblower heroes they are. • Journalists are blocked out and persecuted for breaking news like under no president before 4. Foreign Policy is Rudderless • The avowed driving principle of foreign policy is "Don't do Stupid Sh*t" • p. 141 "You hit singles, you hit doubles, every once in a while we may hit a home run. But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world" • p. 150 we now think we can ignore requirements of the War Powers act because there are no boots on the ground • Obama totally underestimated ISIS (JV team analogy, page 157) With that said, the author salutes the enormous progress made by bringing Iran into the fold and by finally recognizing Cuba. Ah, and the word “Benghazi” does not appear in the book. Tsk tsk tsk. 5. On Immigration • Obama has sold immigration reform down the river. The immigration bill that had been promised for 2009 was put to one side to make room for Obamacare • Deporter in Chief: about as many deportations in his first term as Bush 43 in both his terms • Obama lied to the Latinos ahead of 2012 election • Obama let an immigration reform bill die in the House in 2013 • His post November 2014 executive order was “too little too late” 6. Obama has totally given up on gun control, despite gun crime and gun hate-crime incidents that have held the front pages for days. 7. Nuclear arms spending has ballooned under a President who had fought an election with the promise of one day getting rid of nuclear weapons and won the Nobel Peace Prize partially thanks to that promise. 8. Climate change has disappeared from Obama’s agenda, even though he is the first President to acknowledge the relevant science and at the beginning of his presidency personally attended climate change conferences on behalf of the US 9. Obama has done next to nothing for African Americans, except for closing the gap between what the punishment is for using cocaine and crack cocaine. 10. On Labor • Obama is sponsoring Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is “even worse than NAFTA” (which I think is A-OK, but obviously the left to which Bill Press belongs and the populist right both disagree) • The Employee Free Choice Act (that made it easier to start a union) was allowed to fail in 2008 • Federal Reauthorization Act of 2012 is a retrograde step for labor • Taft-Hartley multiemployer plans don’t fit with Obamacare • No federal increase has happened in Minimum Wage under Obama 11. Finally, Obama has been monumentally bad at getting his fellow Democrats elected And that’s the whole book! Bill Press has one big message here: Obama has repeatedly made the same list of errors and in the same sequence: in every case, from the Stimulus to Obamacare he starts by making a major concession to the Republicans, hoping they will recognize this gesture, do the “bipartisan” thing and meet him halfway. Next, the Republicans don’t budge and then Obama either (i) meets them halfway between his first concession and their unchanged starting point or (ii) he gives up altogether. At this point, of course, I see it differently. I think he’s a lightweight establishment figure, a Harvard educated lawyer who likes to party and a major disappointment to those who were entranced by his speechwriting team, but he’s still better than either McCain or Romney would have been. On the other hand, moving the economy and our society forward is a bit like small children moving heavy furniture; you push a bit from the left and then you push a bit from the right and little by little you move forward. With both Clinton and Obama not having done any pushing from the left, the furniture has been going round in a circle and society down the drain. We should not expect Reagan and Bush to fight inequality or invest in schools or public infrastructure, it's not what their supporters voted them in for. And now it seems like we’re left with either a Mussolini-quoting egomaniac (from whom I reckon the world will recover, same way it’s recovering from Bush 43, disastrous as he was) and the candidate who personifies in America the legitimization of selling influence to the highest bidder. To the extent that I don’t want America to adopt the potentially irreversible Modern Greek political structure, I suspect my voting record is at risk of becoming Dukakis ’88, Obama ’08, Trump ’16. Forget Trump or Mussolini, I’d probably give the nod to the unmentionable German dictator before I cast my vote for the influence-peddling nouveau billionaires, their quarter million dollar speaking honoraria and their billion dollar “global initiatives.” At a terrible cost, admittedly, democracy as a system survived the horrors visited upon us by the most despicable 20th century dictators. These sold-out faux Democrats, on the other hand, could actually move us to the post-democratic future my parents are already living in Greece, where the main aim of participating in government is self-enrichment. I don’t want democracy to be a phase… So, yeah, where was I? Bottom line, Obama failed the left is what this book says. And you don’t need to come from the left to conclude that in doing so he failed you too.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    In the months following the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump I eventually found myself doing something I had been putting off for years: picking up a book and figuring out the issues of our times. I defiantly learned a lot, but a lot of what I read was not flattering to the Democratic party from the 90's onward . That they had been crucial to deregulating Wall Street. They had totally written off Universal Healthcare as either good policy or even a possibility (a lack of support that fe In the months following the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump I eventually found myself doing something I had been putting off for years: picking up a book and figuring out the issues of our times. I defiantly learned a lot, but a lot of what I read was not flattering to the Democratic party from the 90's onward . That they had been crucial to deregulating Wall Street. They had totally written off Universal Healthcare as either good policy or even a possibility (a lack of support that fed into their conclusions). They became more like Republicans and rejected and dismissed Progressive policy as unrealistic and impractical to winning elections (and on that theory saw two periods of brutal electoral defeat) . Despite this I ultimately chose the Democrat party as my own, but was immensely critical of the party and its very real faults. Naturally, when I saw that there was a book criticizing Obama written by a liberal progressive I was immediately curious. I feel that the most productive and honest criticism comes not from your opponents but from your allies and the book does not disappoint. It covers just about everything done or not done by the Obama Administration that left progressives disappointed: economic Policy, healthcare policy, civil liberties, guns, climate change, immigration reform, labor relations, and more. Its depressing at times: so much potential was wasted during the Obama years.....so much sacrificed for so little............ Despite that, Sometimes the Author is unfair. A lot of its criticisms boil down to Obama not tackling the issues more aggressively or not putting it high enough on his priority list. That's a easy Criticism to make and in a way the author knows this (and does not ultimately does not press Obama for these issues too hard). And while he does not get any specific facts wrong, he does omit some information to help make his case stronger*. This is a forgivable offense (I do the same from time to time). Id still rate this book as highly factual and well sourced, but requires an active reader to identify when the author is stating the facts and when he is giving out his opinions. This is a well written, entertaining, and factual book that unfortunately has its flaws and weaknesses..... but probably delivers the best liberal criticisms of the Obama Administration you will find in your typical Library/Bookstore. A solid 4/5 stars * I found myself disagreeing with Bill Press over Simpson-Bowles of all things. We agree that most of the suggestions of the report where terrible, but we diverge on its tax suggestions: the tax plan suggested by SB is essentially very close to the ones I favor myself. Its heavy focus on destroying almost all tax deductions is something I feel very strongly about. I did not like that Press gave the Mortgage interest deduction a free pass or didn't recognize the problems with the preferred tax status of workplace provided health insurance. I'm not 100% on the SB tax plan. Id prefer a lower minimum rate and a collection of new tax credits to replace some of the lost tax deductions (and Ill be honest, I'd even support a LOWER maximum tax rate then they suggested). Its crazy what you find out about yourself sometimes ehh?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Twain

    Incredibly fair and honest review of the Obama administration. Details Obama’s idea to become the first “post-partisan president” which was really just him trying to capitulate to conservatives in order to “get stuff done” Goes over the many shortfalls of economic recovery post recession , Obama siding with finance over everyday people, not asking for a big enough stimulus. On Obamacare it details how Obama spiked the public option for a Super PAC and how he basically passed a conservative health Incredibly fair and honest review of the Obama administration. Details Obama’s idea to become the first “post-partisan president” which was really just him trying to capitulate to conservatives in order to “get stuff done” Goes over the many shortfalls of economic recovery post recession , Obama siding with finance over everyday people, not asking for a big enough stimulus. On Obamacare it details how Obama spiked the public option for a Super PAC and how he basically passed a conservative healthcare bill with only democratic votes Details the expansion of the security state, deportations and drone warfare Talks about how Obama constantly let down labor movements and his incredibly mixed record on climate change Ultimately it shows that Obama was either a completely ineffective president or a president who was only able to deliver (at best) a half loaf when America needed a full loaf

  5. 5 out of 5

    John Bohnert

    I was very disappointed with Obama before I read this interesting book. Now, I know exactly why I feel that way.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marcus E. Huffman

    A megaphone for future progressives! Obama fans, beware! Bill Press hurt my feelings as I read his honest approach to the cautious presidency of Barack Obama. This is certainly a politician's guide to progressive politics, and a bullhorn for the future of the Democratic party.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Very detailed. Lots of valid points made about President Obama disappointing the left. Basically, he promised change, but did not push very hard to achieve it too frequently, particularly in his first term. Implied was that he was beholden to corporate donors, but that was not made very clear.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Hernandez

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric Dodd

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Glueck

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Trechter

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Morrow

  14. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert R Mason

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bill E. Morrison

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  19. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  20. 5 out of 5

    Craig Hurley

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donald

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Larose

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ken Roebuck

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert H Hunter

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ken Derr

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eli Patten

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