By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Price of Politics
By Bob Woodward (Simon & Schuster, $35.00, hardcover, 428 pages)
There has been ample euphoria surrounding the inauguration of US President Barack Obama’s second term in office.
As he pledged reform and equality for all, foremost on the political agenda is the ongoing debate over raising the US federal debt ceiling.
It was in Obama’s first presidential term that the debt of the federal government increased by $5.8 trillion: more than it did during the combined 53 terms of the first 42 presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton.
The blame game continues and tales of failure and recriminations abound.
The Price of Politics looks into the deadlock and there’s not many surprises with facts in this myopic version.
However, it’s Woodward’s skilled penmanship that transports you into the room through anecdotal content as decision makers—President Obama, Speaker John Boehner and others—participate in the grand bargaining.
You feel like you are sitting inside the room as negotiations on the nation’s business are being conducted at the highest levels.
Explanation is given as to how the US got to the brink of the ‘fiscal cliff’ which is said to be the ‘Son of the Debt-Ceiling Debacle, an abomination born of the extended, fevered and largely fruitless negotiations between the Obama White House and congressional leaders during the summer of 2011’.
Woodward, whose name is synonymous with the 1972 Watergate scandal, retraces the discomfited actions of Obama and Boehner, entertains with irreverent correspondence from former White House chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel; relates the personal anguish of Congressman Eric Cantor; and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid emerges as a ‘combative figure’.
This is an interesting compilation derived from authoritative details of key meetings, phone calls and strategy sessions to expound decisions that have mapped America’s economic future.
Edition 399, 04 March 2014
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