A Nice Look at How the Metaphorical Sausage is Made
- Length: 380 pages
- Published: Sept 11, 2012
- Read It: Fall 2012.
- Rating: 4 of 5, very hard to keep up with the names of all the characters involved, specially the less famous ones.
I am someone who watched the US government’s debt ceiling debate in 2011 closely. As a fan of President Obama, I always found it intriguing to read about the way he operates. I’m always curious to hear about what went on behind the scenes. Bob Woodward accomplishes just that in his books. This book, like the previous ones, reads like a thriller novel. Woodward brilliantly narrates events that took place in a way that made me feel like a fly on the wall of the White House.
As fo the substance of the book, it always astonishes me whenever I realize that the President, his administration, and members of congress are all humans just like the rest of us. They all have their motives, ambitions, ideologies and emotions. Navigating all that between the President of the US, his team of experts, 535 members of congress, is not an easy task. This is especially true in 2011 when the majority in congress were not from the same party of the president. Actually, the relationship between congress and the president gave the republicans the nickname as the “party of no”.
While reading Woodward’s previous book, Obama’s Wars, I was awed by Obama’s though process and disciplined leadership style in trying to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this book, however, Obama is portrayed differently. He seemed inexperienced in his dealing with congress to fix the country’s fiscal problems. His negotiations with congress were less of an intellectual debate of ideas and more of haggling over resources and playing game of chicken. I guess this is the metaphorical sausage making process.
In the end, this book leaves the reader with a sense of apprehension about how the US is run. These petty arguments and ideologies have cost the US its triple-A credit rating and brought it to the edge of default. The end conclusion, as Woodward puts it, is that America’s fiscal situation is currently stuck in a “world of status quo”. Funny enough, this was also the result of the 2012 general election–the status quo. Nothing changed.
All in all, for anyone interested in Politics and finance, this is the book to read. It is a nice look at how the metaphorical sausage is made. The only reason I gave it four stars is because it was very hard to keep up with the names of all the involved, specially the less famous ones.