You Can't Be President

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

John R. MacArthur debunks the childhood myth that everyone's career possibilities are endless in his new book, You Can't Be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America.


John R. MacArthur

Comments [34]

Alice Crozier from Hoboken, NJ

I completely agree about the Clintons undermining Obama. They did it during the primary, at the convention, and have continued since the convention. I also agree that they sabotaged Howard Dean, which I've been saying to my friends for a long time. As for the third party as a solution, so far that has not produced results that benefit American politics. On the contrary, Nader is held up by many people as proof that third parties make a bad situation worse.

Sep. 10 2008 12:03 PM
Joel from Brooklyn

Firstly, kudos to the publishers: Harper's is a great magazine.

It is a sign of the deterioration of the two current parties that open and honest interpretation of historical facts invokes thoughts of subterfuge. I agree that neocons and Rove Republicans manipulate public perception with duplicitous statements (e.g. "Palin killed the bridge to nowhere"), but only a lack of intellect and sound judgment could burden someone enough to not hear that McArthur speaks the truth--a simple one at that.

Here's what I say: it's not a big club, but a rich club--join it!

Sep. 10 2008 12:01 PM
Larry from Bklyn

Now I know why Harpers got so boring that I let my subscription lapse...

Sep. 10 2008 11:59 AM
America Wins with Palin from NYorkistan


a refreshing thing about Palin is that she is not a product of elite institutions like we've had for a while

Yale: Bush1, Bush2, BClinton, HClinton, Kerry
Columbia: Obama
Harvard: Bush2, Obama, Gore

i am sure i missed some...

Sep. 10 2008 11:58 AM

in as much as people may feel that Hilary was betrayed by her party, the reason Obama won the nomination is that more Dems felt that the Clintons, together, had betrayed their own party in the pursuit of their own power. We were grateful to them for many things, but it was time to move on.

Sep. 10 2008 11:56 AM
Jamal from Manhattan

And I disagree with you O from Forest Hills, you can not be anything you want to be in America. ALso, this guy is absolutely right. Our political system is broken, we absolutely need a third, fourth or even fifth party. Why are we in the 21st century with an archaic system made for the 18th Century. It is ridiculous. My vote in NY is meaningless.

Sep. 10 2008 11:52 AM
Dorothy from Chelsea

So Obama assumed he'd get tons of money from Hillary supporters -- How stupid of him. Maybe if he weren't such a neophyte he'd have avoided that mistake. Funny how Obama supporters didn't help Hillary retire her debt but her supporters were supposed to dump bushels of money into Obama's lap. They're going to lose because they're running such an incompetent campaign (interview w/ Cohen yesterday) and they're going to blame it on Hillary.
You had the interviews about the new Director of the Met and questioned whether he has enough relevant experience. Funny how much that reminded me of Obama, but nobody can question his experience (actually lack thereof) because that would be racist.

Sep. 10 2008 11:51 AM

So who is this guy voting for? Ralph Nader? Not that there's anything wrong with Ralph Nader. But he'll never get elected and the few votes all the purists give him are just a waste. Obama's talking a different game. Give him a chance. he too can be voted out or impeached or whatever. . . Dick Morris, indeed!

Sep. 10 2008 11:50 AM

I thought the Bill endorsement/speech at the DNC was fantastic. Hilary's was good - but it didn't really endorse Obama, didn't speak to why people should vote for him, it just said, you shouldn't vote for McCain.
She needs to pull out all the stops. But I sense it may be too late.

Sep. 10 2008 11:49 AM
mc from Brooklyn

How is it that Slim Fast money is Hillary's money? Why is she held responsible for what her fundraisers do or not do? They are rich people with minds of their own and they will do what they do. Somw of them are still angry because they think she was betrayed by the party. That may be an unfair charge but that drives their behavior, not her dictates.

Sep. 10 2008 11:49 AM
Dan from Manhattan

I'm tired of identifying contributions made by individuals with the businesses they happen to work for. I have worked for an investment bank and a major law firm and no one ever suggested that I make a political contribution in one way or the other.

Sep. 10 2008 11:48 AM
S Shepherd from NYC


Third Party.....fourth parties...real conversations!

Sep. 10 2008 11:47 AM
peter from manhatten

looks like most commenters and callers missed the point

Sep. 10 2008 11:46 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Then, again, a stopped clock is right once a day (on military time--twice otherwise), so maybe it's not a total write off to agree with Morris...once.

And I do agree that Obama, as he presents himself to the electorate, is not going to be a reformer. What he will actually do, for me still, this late in the campaign, in mostly unknown.

His FISA vote makes me extremely uncomfortable. His handling of the Excelon radiation pollution of ground water in IL Link below this paragraph) makes me extremely pessimistic that he will be all that much different from, gasp, BushCo. Whose energy bill he voted for.

He will be degrees different from McCain, so I take some small comfort from that.

Sep. 10 2008 11:46 AM
K from Mamaroneck, NY


I understand that. I also understand that it was a bitter fight. I can set that aside. I don't think I'm so different from everyone else that I am alone in that regard. And that support from Clinton and then her husband pretty much settled the issue. I did not hear anything mealy-mouthed about her support. Good or not, they are very political beasts, and I've heard Clinton stumping for Obama it might be more support him because he's not McCain, but that's still support and if you're looking at issues, that's a lot.

Sep. 10 2008 11:46 AM
Chris from NYC

Why wasn't anyone highlighting these Clinton factoids around the Texas/Ohio primaries?

My only problem with this author is that his Clinton critique wasn't at the forefront of the debate during the Democratic race -really, the Clinton gang should have been put to sleep a long, long time ago.

Sep. 10 2008 11:45 AM
Lance from Manhattan

A book that says the obvious.
You can't be President if you are Muslim or atheist. You can't be President if you are gay.

Sep. 10 2008 11:45 AM
Paula Heisen from Manhattan

Could you possibly have a guest that says Obama's doing something right? He must have done something right to get where he is.

Sep. 10 2008 11:44 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

This sounds like a lot of unsubstantiate conspiracy theory. Always suspect.

Sep. 10 2008 11:44 AM
Zak from Brooklyn, NY

I am thoroughly tired of the use of "betrayal" of Hillary Clinton. Once again this bespeaks a sense of entitlement Hillary and her supporters felt. Look in the mirror PUMAs: your candidate ran a poor race, Obama ran an excellent one. There was no great conspiracy against Hillary.

Sep. 10 2008 11:43 AM
Owen from Rochester

Oy, what a caller ("I'm sick of this neo-con!"). I guess your screeners missed the ranter signs.

Sep. 10 2008 11:43 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Tell your guest to stop chuckling when he speaks. It undercuts whatever he's trying to say.

Sep. 10 2008 11:42 AM
peter from manhatten

the great george carlin echoed the sentiment of your guest when he said 'its a big club ... and you're not in it!'.

thanks for this rare honest segment.

Sep. 10 2008 11:42 AM

it's not what she's saying, or secret messages. It's what she's already said, and the support she's failing to provide. It's the mealy-mouthed support of Obama.

Sep. 10 2008 11:42 AM
S Shepherd from NYC

This is why people like S. Palin, at least topeople like my mother..(white middle class)....she makes that childhood myth seem real.

Sep. 10 2008 11:41 AM
dianna Ilk from nyc

please don't let people get away with saying things like,'look how much damage Hilary Clinton did to Obama during the campaign.' she is allowed to run as well and long as anyone else and it is a comment that continues to bash women. come on, stand up for women a little bit!

Sep. 10 2008 11:39 AM

This Republican Clinton basher has it all wrong, I was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton and vowed I would never vote for Obama I switched when I heard her speech asking if we voted for her personally or if we voted for that family that cant afford health insurance or the single mom unable to feed her child, she made a difference in her speech I now support Obama!

Sep. 10 2008 11:39 AM
Zak from Brooklyn, NY

There has been ONE reformer from Cook County: Harold Washington.

Sep. 10 2008 11:38 AM
K from Mamaroneck, NY

I'm so glad he can read Clinton's mind. It's not that I don't think Clinton wouldn't seize the opportunity should Obama lose (please, no), but to think that she's somehow sending out secret messages to her supporters?

Also, why is it that people are so sure she couldn't run in 2016? Because she'll be 68? Would this even be raised if she were a man?

Sep. 10 2008 11:38 AM
O from Forest Hills

I think Obama is soft and strong and he is my hero, I hope and pray he will be President.

Sep. 10 2008 11:36 AM

Wow, I can't believe this guy called it for what it is. He says Hilary will do anything for 2012? That's so politically incorrect. Doesn't he know we're supposed to work for unity with people who can't separate chromosomal identity from issues?

Sep. 10 2008 11:35 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Agrees with Dick Morris's evaluation of Hillary Clinton?

Like that's going to give me confidence in this person's ability to judge character and motive?

(Answer is it doesn't.)

Sep. 10 2008 11:34 AM
America Wins with Palin from NYorkistan

Hillary quote that guest cited:

“I know Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And, Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.” - Hillary Clinton

Sep. 10 2008 11:33 AM
O from Forest Hills

You can be whatever you want to be. Whether you think you can or can't, either way you are right.

You make your life what you want it to be and no one will stand in judgment of that now or ever.

I disagree with you Mr. McArthur.

Sep. 10 2008 11:27 AM

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