George Packer (born August 13, 1960) is an American journalist, novelist, and playwright. He is best known for his writings for The New Yorker about U.S. foreign policy and for his book The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq. Packer also wrote The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, covering the history of America from 1978 to 2012. In November 2013, The Unwinding received the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
"Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish" (2018)
- "Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish" by George Packer, The New Yorker, June 18, 2018.
- Barack Obama was a writer before he became a politician, and he saw his Presidency as a struggle over narrative.
- Barack Obama was always better at explaining the meaning of democracy than at fighting its opponents.
- After Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the burden of proof is on anyone who would make the case for military action as a force for good.
- It’s hard to build a narrative around actions not taken, disasters possibly averted, hard realities accommodated. The story of what didn’t happen isn’t an easy one to tell.
- More than any modern President, Barack Obama had a keen sense of the limits of American power—and of his own.
- At the heart of Obama’s narrative was a belief that progress, in the larger scheme of things, was inevitable, and this belief underscored his position on every issue from marriage equality to climate change. His idea of progress was neither the rigid millennial faith of Woodrow Wilson nor Bush’s shallow God-blessed optimism. It was human-scale and incremental.
- Progressives find it hard to imagine that there are others who in good faith don’t want the better world they’re offering and will fiercely resist it.