Scott Horton interviews Roger D. Hodge regarding his book The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism for Harper’s:
1. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recently derided liberal critics of the Obama Administration as the “professional left.” Was he talking about you? What do you make of this line of attack?
I’m not sure Gibbs has a coherent idea of what he means by the “left,” but if opposition to permanent war, extrajudicial assassination of American citizens, boundless state secrecy, and unlimited corporate bailouts constitutes “leftism,” then so be it. True to their Clintonian principles, President Obama and his advisors have spurned the Democratic Party’s liberal base and have sought to govern by appropriating the policies of the Republican right. Just as Bill Clinton enacted NAFTA and destroyed welfare, Barack Obama has pushed through a health-care program that was inspired by the Heritage Foundation and largely written by the insurance lobby—and he shows every sign of being willing to vandalize Social Security in the name of deficit reduction even though the program has nothing to do with the federal budget deficit.