Read: December 2020

Inspiration: Saw the press around the release of the book and wanted to learn more detail on Obama’s career and presidency


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“A Promised Land”, published in 2020 by author and former President of the United States Barack Obama, covers Obama’s life from his childhood to the end of his first term as President, and provides a personal and candid look at his experiences and reflections during this time. Obama discusses his upbringing, his early political career, and the challenges he faced as the first African American President. He also provides insight into his thoughts and decision-making process on key issues, including the financial crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The book offers a unique perspective on modern American politics and history, and reflects on the personal and professional challenges that Obama faced during his time in office.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Important to frame white people as allies when it comes to race issues, be blunt about it but don’t pit people against each other, Obama 08 primary v Clinton focus on winning Super Tuesday red states by huge margin instead of mitigating losses in NY/CA and paid off as had delegate edge by end of day, tech and social media play huge role to turnout youth and get millions of small donors, Palin’s reception by conservatives foreshadow Trump (lack of knowledge depicted as liberal conspiracies, said to have good instincts despite struggle with basic questions, represent true American conservative like), partirs rarely rewarded for cooperation and giving into other side in midterms (houses of congress flip when resist incumbent majority—why Dems won after turning against Bush and why Republicans refuse to work with Obama), Republicans and Santelli on CNBC say Obama bailout 08 helping “losers” and those who took on too much (stupid people) and take from hardworking smart people, Bank of America and Citigroup doing worst in crisis (after Lehman), Goldman and JPM pretend manage well when really would collapse if others did too (and GS offloaded subprime assets just before crisis), Ford better than GM and Chrysler bc luckily restructured debt just before but all common suppliers so can’t survive without each other, Obama’s plan succeed in quicker rebound than europeans, stable again, TARP repaid in full plus profit, long period of growth ensue, any diff approach would have hurt exactly the people want to help even more (rich fine either way), Bush had deal with Iraq PM Maliki so withdrawal plan easier, Afghan exit not easy as fight Taliban there (al-qaeda is more iraq) bc US focus on Iraq made Afghan worse as Taliban gain and weaken Karzai gvt (request more troops to stablize in 09), need focus on Afghan and Pakistan bc Pakistan shelter Taliban while still get US aid (Af-Pak strategy), Medicare and Medicare introduced 1970ish by LBJ, 20% of US still uninsured though and not go to get care til really bad (and expensive) so this jack up costs for all in the end, individual mandate originally a Romney idea for Mass that worked to drive down uninsured rate, pitch to bend HC cost curve via indep board set reimbursement rates for Medicare based on comparative effectiveness of treatments, Public Option=can buy from gvt exchange not just Aetna and Blue Shield but insurance companies mad bc can’t compete since gvt not care about profits (dems think pub option would show single payer merits bc thats the point), Greece criss 2010 reignite global concerns—huge deficits above expected and no one want to loan (also tied to EU so no indep MonPol to fix), EU demand austerity in exch for loan to Greece bc not want to help and blame Greek gvt for spending (EU break down bc not want to bailout foreigners, economic fates tied together though), EU agree to greek austerity package but mkts tank bc still uncertain, 09 Wall Street reform increase capital requirements for systemically important banks to weather storms (on top of stress tests), then add Warren’s consumer protection agency to stop schemes/fees/high rates that fool people, Volcker Rule prohibit fdic-insured banks from trading on own accounts and own hedge funds/PE shops (Glass-Steagall inspired), became Dodd-Frank in July 2010, increase in deporting under Obama not his fault instead an 08 congress mandate give increase cooperation between ICE and local police to find criminal record immigrants

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