Michael Wear’s Reclaiming Hope is a fascinating read — in large part because the author is one of the few surviving members of the Obama 2008 campaign. Not that many of the other members have died, of course, but the vast majority either (a) revealed subsequently that they had never believed the unifying, third-way rhetoric that featured in the famous 2004 DNC Convention speech and the Obama 2008 campaign, or (b) ceased to believe it. Michael Wear is a true believer, and the best kind of true believer: a chastened one. He can see expedient shifts, cynicism, and outright treachery, and still believe.
One of Mr. Wear’s most helpful statements in the book, about the contrast between a healthy political party and an unhealthy one, is badly needed today: a healthy party seeks converts, while an unhealthy one hunts heretics. And heresy-hunting — which gunks up political discourse as few gunks can — is now a thoroughly bipartisan phenomenon.