Great Moments from the Sunday Book Review: The Great Disconnect

Mark Lilla’s review of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism is something to behold.

Lilla starts with a quick evisceration of the conservative mythology surrounding Barack Obama. He moves on to a measured assessment of the expectations that reasonable people — “centrist Democrats like me” — have about the president, and expresses a genuine curiosity to hear measured assessments from reasonable people on the other side:

…when Kesler begins his book by dismissing those who portray the president as “a third-world daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim or undocumented alien,” the reader is relieved to know that I Am the Change won’t be another cheap, deflationary takedown.

Then he says this:

Instead, it is that rarest of things, a cheap inflationary takedown — a book that so exaggerates the historical significance of this four-year senator from Illinois, who’s been at his new job even less time, that he becomes both Alien and Predator.

That last emphasis is mine.

The rest includes an intermission, a reference to “Hegelian bacillus” and a Woodrow Wilson-Hegel love child, and a closing story about Maimonides. Read it all here.

– Michael Moats

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