I know, it’s a cliché, that every politician running for president has to write a book, but I heard Colorado Senator Michael Bennet on a podcast and thought his book might be worth reading. It is.
Bennet covers dark money, explains the causes of the destructive partisanship crippling American governance, outlines the history of Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, and gives us a recent history on immigration reform. This is a two-term, US senator’s point of view. His take on Citizens United is clear, cogent, and ferocious, and connects Citizens United, the Koch Brothers, and climate change denial in an incontrovertible, devastating indictment of everyone concerned. If you ever doubted that the Supreme Court exists in an ivory tower far from the rest of us peons living ordinary lives, Bennet’s account will utterly obliviate that doubt.
Bennet is extremely well read, able to pull supporting quotes from Lincoln, the Founders, and Thucydides and employ them as sober and sometimes biting commentary on actions (or inactions) in present day. It’s kind of a relief to know at least one person in high office in the US still reads that broadly and that deeply. He lets himself off the chain with his footnotes, some of which are pretty funny.
p133/11 The Bush administration encouraged the idea that the war in Iraq would cost nothing. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised that “the bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction will come from Iraqis.” His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, assured Americans that “we’re really dealing with a country that can finance its own reconstruction.” One wonders if these two officials advised Donald Trump on getting Mexico to pay for his border wall.
One of the first things Bennet says in his first chapter is the one I took most to heart.
Among us are people whose politics is aimed at stripping some citizens of their rights and opportunities, who despise pluralism, who succumb to fearful hatreds like racism, or who care for nothing but themselves. My own experience in politics tells me this: such people are small in number.
Emphasis mine. I wish this guy had a hope in hell of becoming the Democratic nominee for president. We could do a lot worse.
Well informed, well written, recommended.
Read more of my Goodreads reviews here.