Books Obama and McCain Have Daddy Issues
posted by August 21 at 11:00 AMon
I’d like to direct your attention to this week’s books lead, by Eli Sanders. It’s called “Who’s Your Daddy,” and it’s at once a great review of two similarly themed books and a fascinating analysis of the men who would be president and the men who made the men who would be president.
…If you thought you had issues with the man who brought you into this world, try being the man who grows up to believe he has what it takes to be leader of the free world.
Over the next two weeks, we will be introduced—at the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions—to two men who have come to believe just this and who, naturally, have had plenty of issues with their fathers. They’ve even put out similarly titled books on the subject: Dreams from My Father, in the case of Barack Obama, and Faith of My Fathers, in the case of John McCain.
I haven’t seen any other reviews of the two books done in quite this way, and Eli really finds some new insight into Obama:
Generally speaking, politically minded people lack the freedom (or the ability) to convey the subtleties and paradoxes of life as it is actually lived, which tends to make them terrible writers. Barack Obama, in Dreams from My Father, turns out to be all about the subtleties and paradoxes and weird private moments of life, and on top of that he is a talented writer, naturally skilled at constructing the interlocking narratives and interesting characters (many of them composites) that he relies on to tell his story.
If McCain had his father to thank for his somewhat above-average [prison] conditions, he also had him to thank for the B-52s that were sent late in the war to “rain destruction on the city where I was held a prisoner.” The lesson, evocative of Abraham’s Old Testament willingness to sacrifice his son for God’s will, was that McCain’s father would risk killing him to win a war.
McCain admired that devotion to duty.
It’s a great piece that I’m proud to have in the books section. You should read it.