Obamas Time: A History

Hardcover | December 10, 2014

byMorton Keller

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Barack Obama swept into office in 2008, capitalizing on his fresh and compelling political persona, the appeal of his "Hope and Change" campaign, the pre-election financial crisis, and a wave of popular discontent with his predecessor. The nation's first African-American president stirredunusually high expectations, and his first term saw the passage of a substantial economic stimulus package, a large-scale expansion of financial regulation, a drawdown in Iraq, and his signature health care reform. But a stagnant economy persisted. His personal popularity had no effect on thepersistent disapproval of his program. The Democrats suffered a severe electoral setback in the 2010 Congressional election. But Obama's exceptional campaign organization, his strong personal appeal, and a weak Republican opponent won him a second term in 2012. Now his presidency is in its final stage. In Obama's Time, eminent historian Morton Keller has written the first historical assessment of Barack Obama's presidency. Drawing on a lifetime of scholarship on American history and politics, Keller examines Obama's presidential persona and governingstyle, his domestic and foreign policies, and his place in the broader history of American politics. Obama is deeply committed to active federal government, in the tradition of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society. But his ambitions have been tempered by the heavy weight of existing institutionsand past precedents, strong Republican opposition, and unforeseen events. Keller concludes that this is a time when the centralized bureaucratic state faces a deep crisis of legitimacy. He ascribes the intense party polarization to a political culture in which the media, advocacy groups, andideologically-driven donors have outsize influence. Historians will continue to debate the Obama presidency for decades to come. Keller's account of how Obama governed, the larger political context in which he functioned, and why he was unable to close the gap between expectations and reality, will be invaluable to that debate.

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Barack Obama swept into office in 2008, capitalizing on his fresh and compelling political persona, the appeal of his "Hope and Change" campaign, the pre-election financial crisis, and a wave of popular discontent with his predecessor. The nation's first African-American president stirredunusually high expectations, and his first term ...

Morton Keller is Spector Professor of History emeritus at Brandeis. He has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Oxford. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy. Among his books are Affairs of State and America's Three Regimes.

other books by Morton Keller

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:December 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199383375

ISBN - 13:9780199383375

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Obama1. The Content of His Character2. The Orbit of His Presidency2. Governance: The Obama Administration1. The Obama Style2. President and Congress3. Cabinet and Staff4. The Bureaucracy5. Politics and Principle3. Governance: the American State1. The Regulatory State2. The Judicial Battleground3. Federalism4. Rough Waters: Finance and the Economy1. The Economy and the Polity2. Fixing Finance: TARP and Dodd-Frank3. The Trial of Jobs4. Debt and Taxes5. Home Fires Burning: Social Policy1. Obamacare: A Noble Experiment2. Climate, Energy, and Transportation3. Muffled Fire Bells: Education and Immigration6. Living in the World1. Foreign Affairs2. The US and the EC: Comparative Perspectives7. The 2012 Overture1. Setting the Stage: The Political Culture2. Advocacy, Money, and the Media3. Ideology8. 20121. The Contest2. Examining the Entrails9. Looking Ahead1. Into the Second Term: Governing2. Into the Second Term: Politics3. Status and State4. History's Lessons

Editorial Reviews

"This analysis of Barack Obama's first term reflects the broad vision and deep learning of one of the Wise Men of American political history. Morton Keller fluently details the tempestuous partisan controversies of the President's first four years while establishing a larger perspective thatlays bare the ideological and institutional deadlock of our democracy." --Alonzo L. Hamby, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio University