Barack Obama Had an ‘Iron Will’ to Succeed—but What Was at His Core?

Biographer David J. Garrow Explains How the 44th President Compartmentalized and Rewrote His Life

Historian David J. Garrow acknowledges that he’s “cynical” about Barack Obama, a conclusion that he reached while conducting 1,000 interviews and spending nine years researching the formation and political rise of America’s 44th president.

Garrow shared some of his reasons for what he called his “huge disappointment” with the Obama presidency at a Zócalo/KCRW “Critical Thinking with Warren Olney” event, “How Did Barack Obama Create Himself?”.

Hosted by Olney, the longtime KCRW radio personality and dean of Los Angeles news broadcasters, the evening echoed many of the thematic lines—and withering criticisms—that surface …

More In: Barack Obama

My Hometown’s Rush to Honor Obama Says More About Us Than Him

We're Fawning Over the Outgoing President—But the Feeling Isn't Mutual

I recently learned that, in the second grade, I was part of presidential history.

Every morning during the 1980-1981 school year, I walked the five blocks between my family’s home in …

Obama’s Unsung Legacy in the War on Income Inequality

As Clinton and Trump Try to Out-Populist Each Other, the Obama Administration Gets No Credit for Its Impressive Efforts to Boost Economic Equality

You’d never know, from this year’s presidential campaign rhetoric, that anyone in Washington has been paying any attention to economic inequality. Donald Trump has hijacked the Republican Party with his …

Will Globalization Be Obama’s Greatest Foreign Policy Legacy?

A President Who Came Into Office a Free Trade Skeptic Is Now on the Brink of Brokering Two Big Deals

Battered by crises and maligned by critics, globalization is regaining momentum. And this is good news for America’s global leadership. Negotiations for an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal involving …

Are Two Presidents Better Than One?

A Two-Person, Two-Party Presidency Could Temper Partisan Conflict and Fix Political Dysfunction

Does America need more than one president?

The question comes to mind as we watch Barack Obama abandon cooperation in favor of strategies that bypass Republican obstruction on Capitol Hill. Obama’s …

Do Hugs Work Better than Quarantines?

President Obama's Reassuring Embrace of a Recovered Ebola Patient Was the Best Way to Say the Virus Can Be Beaten

The Constitution stipulates that the president is the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces, but chief executives since Washington have accrued to the office a number of additional unstipulated “in-chief” …