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Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy By Charlie Savage
Back Bay Books | Pages: 448 | Date: 2008-04-28 | ISBN: 0316118052 | ISBN: 9780316118057 | PDF | 2,35 MB
Praised everywhere as a stunning work of reportage, TAKEOVER lays bare a hidden agenda, three decades in the making, to allow the White House to wield enormous powers, unchecked by Congres or the courts--an agenda that links warrantless wiretapping and Bush's judicial nominees, torture and Cheney's energy task force, the faith-based initiative and the imprisonment of citizens without trial. TAKEOVER tells the story of how a group of true believers, led by Cheney, set out to establish near-monarchical executive powers that, in the words of one conservative critic, "will lie around like a loaded weapon"for any future president.
Summary: The History of the Unitary Executive Theory.
"Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency" offers a view of American history and how various presidents have tested the Constitutional boundaries of executive power. Richard Nixon framed it well in these words-"When the president does it, that means it's not illegal."
One of the strengths of this book is the information about Dick Cheney and how integral a part he has played over the course of his career in the White House in his obsession with strengthening the presidency. With George W. Bush he has succeeded in making the presidency virtually free from oversight on the part of the legislative and judicial branches.
A disturbing pattern of behavior appears in the current administration; if the Constitution, a law, or Congress gets in their way, they simply ignore the obstacle and continue on.
Mr. Savage examines another intriguing aspect of the Bush administration that is secretive. That would be the conflicts in the White House involving an inner circle of people around Dick Cheney.
An interesting tidbit that Judicial Watch discovered about Cheney's secret energy task force- as early as March 2001, two years before the invasion of Iraq, the group was studying Iraqi oil fields and who owned the drilling rights.
On page 132 is a relevant quote on the quest for political power. "The rule of law is the enemy of the powerful. The essence of law is that everyone obeys the same rules regardless of weakness or strength, so the law chafes most keenly against those who, in a world without rules, have the power to simply impose their will."
George Sutherland wisely said "An informed public is the most potent of all restraints upon misgovernment."
Mr. Savage covers the president's signing statements as alternatives to vetoes. The use of this tool to more or less serve as a line-item veto is explained. He also does an excellent job on examining the judicial appointments of this regime. The unofficial criteria for a Bush appointee often get's missed amidst the buzz surrounding social issues like abortion.
I can't think of a better-written, more illuminating book about the subject of presidential power expansion, both from a current view as well as a historical standpoint. If you read just one book about the subject, this is the book to read!