The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies (Hardcover)
From the bestselling author of The Promise, the thrilling story of one of the most momentous contests in American history, the Battle Royale between Obama and his enemies from the 2010 midterms through the 2013 inauguration. The election of 2012 will be remembered as a hinge of history. With huge victories in the 2010 midterm elections the Republican Party had blocked President Obama at every turn and made plans to wrench the country sharply to the right. 2012 offered the GOP a clear shot at controlling all three branches of government and repealing much of the social contract dating back to the New Deal. Facing free-spending billionaires, Fox News, and a concerted effort in 19 states to tilt the election by suppressing Democratic votes, Obama repelled the assault and navigated the nation back to the center. In The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter produces the first full account of America at the crossroads. With exclusive reporting and rare historical insight, he pierces the bubble of the White House and the presidential campaigns in a landmark election that marked the return of big money and the rise of big data. He tells the epic story of an embattled president fighting back with the first campaign of the Digital Age. Alter relates the untold story behind Obama's highs and lows, from the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound to the frustration of the debt ceiling fiasco to his unexpected run-ins with black and Latino activists. There are fresh details about the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Roger Ailes, and the online haters who suffer from "Obama Derangement Syndrome." Alter takes us inside Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's Boston campaign as well as Obama's disastrous preparation for the first debate. We meet Obama's analytics geeks working out of "The Cave" and the man who secretly videotaped Romney's infamous comments on the "47 percent." The Center Holds will deepen our understanding of the Obama presidency, the stakes of the 2012 election, and the future of the country.
“An elegant, intelligent, crisply constructed account … It will be required reading for any serious student of the Obama presidency, present or future. … One of America’s most highly respected political journalists, Alter … makes a singular contribution by capturing Obama’s famously inscrutable political persona and demystifying it in the context of his daily work as president. … Alter has gained access to key people within the president’s orbit, enabling him to create a rich portrait of [Obama].”
“Highly informed, energetically reported…. Alter gives us a lucid picture of the toxic, highly partisan political environment in which today’s controversies are occurring.”
“A calm, virtuoso work of journalism. Alter brings a clear eye to recognizing both the shortcomings and the victories of the 2012 Obama campaign and the administration before and after the election…. one of the best books about our befuddling, original, American version of democracy.”
“Alter's book abounds in such peeks inside the competing campaigns…excellent reporting.”
“Common-sense politics devolve into a season of craziness in this engrossing account of the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign. Journalist Alter follows up his bestselling The Promise: President Obama, Year One with a savvy dissection of the 2010–2012 election cycle and related political dogfights.…Lucid, entertaining, and alive to the reality behind the posturing, Alter’s report reveals the high stakes and far-reaching import of the 2012 decision.”