Woodward did not disappoint. I am extremely impressed by how much tone he manage get out of close door discussions. As the book details the various discussions around the deficit and the various iterations, I was deeply impressed by the senators involved in the work. They were really committed in speaking for their electorate. The democratic leaders, the vice president and republican leaders seem a lot more hardworking, a lot more less mean to each other. They were trying to reach across the divide. Then as the book progresses I noticed that Obama didn’t do much work. He pontificated a lot and was in general hard to deal with. While he managed to capture the imagination of a nation, he seem to be dismissive and lack skills to handle Washington. The Speaker also seemed a decent moderate fellow who perhaps had trouble with his Republican colleagues.
It occurred to me that this book underlined the real difficulties of a democracy. Where there is a real divide due to strongly entrenched ideologies of both sides, it is impossible to bridge that divide. At the end of the book, my conclusion is surprising: it is more efficient to have a line party government. Given that we (in Singapore) are paying so much for the government to run, it is simply too expensive for anyone to spend time arguing about ideals.