Over the course of the last year, we've heard an awful lot of horseshit about President Obama.
He's been accused of being a socialist, compared to Adolf Hitler and Batman's arch-nemesis The Joker; and even had that fat fascist Glenn Beck accuse him of having: "a deep-seated hatred for white people."
It's clear that the right wing don't really have a clue who Barack Obama really is, or where he's coming from. They'd do well to read the second of Obama's books, The Audacity of Hope. It might fill them in a little.
Written several years after debut autobiography, Dreams from my Father, this book was penned shortly after Obama was first elected to the U.S. Senate. For that reason, it's an out and out political manifesto; very different to the touching, introspective and totally non-political memoir that Dreams from my Father turned out to be.
The Audacity of Hope outlines Obama's political opinions, aspirations and the direction he'd like to see America move in. It's a fascinating read; written fluently and thoroughly by a startlingly intelligent man who's clearly utterly cognizant of the intricacies of America's political system.
It's a surprising read, too, and will no doubt challenge every political preconception you have about Obama; no matter where you lie on the political spectrum. This is because one of the most fascinating facets of Obama's political physiognomy has always been how he mirrors our own opinions, rather than projecting his own.
The right-wing think of him as a socialist, a racial agitator and a far-left extremist. Likewise, many Democrats paint him as a champion of their own agendas; whether those agendas concern health care, welfare, equal rights or the war in Iraq. Both sides ultimately ignore what his positions actually are.
To that end, The Audacity of Hope will come as a big surprise. It reveals Barack Obama to be an unflinching centralist on all but a few political issues. He's divided the book into a series of sections on the biggest issues in politics (Values, The Constitution, Faith and Race) and coolly outlines a direction he'd like to see the country go in regarding each; a direction that's unequivocally bipartisan.
This bipartisanship is most notable in his section on Foreign Policy. Although Obama's always been a staunch opponent of the war in Iraq, he nevertheless takes time to lift several important policies from Republican strategists.
"The objectives favored by liberals hardly constitute a coherent national security policy," he argues aggressively. "If we pulled out of Iraq tomorrow, the United States would still be a target." Obama is equally quick to remind fellow Democrats that "the threats facing the United States are real, multiple and potentially devastating." It won't sit well with the anti-war crowd who tout a policy of American isolationism.
His chapter on Faith would also be an eye-opener for Christian conservatives; those who were quick to condemn him as 'Godless' during the election, or continue to criticize his connection to the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
They'll be surprised - and possibly delighted - to read his personal journey of faith and self-discovery; and skeptics like myself will ultimately be slightly disappointed!
Ultimately, The Audacity of Hope is fascinating because it reveals Obama to be closer to the center of the political spectrum than either the left wing or right realize. It's a real pity that pundits like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly are probably never going to pick up a copy of this amazing book, because it reveals that Obama's not the enemy they've built their careers on.
In fact, even those on the right wing will find a lot to respect and appreciate about the man.