The Cult of the Presidency

The Cult of the Presidency

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The Bush years have given rise to fears of a resurgent Imperial Presidency. Those fears are justified, but the problem cannot be solved simply by bringing a new administration to power. In his provocative new book, The Cult of the Presidency, Gene Healy argues that the fault lies not in our leaders but in ourselves. When our scholars lionize presidents who break free from constitutional restraints, when our columnists and talking heads repeatedly call upon the a€œcommander in chief a€ to dream great dreams and seek the power to achieve thema€”when voters look to the president for salvation from all problems great and smalla€”should we really be surprised that the presidency has burst its constitutional bonds and grown powerful enough to threaten American liberty? Interweaving historical scholarship, legal analysis, and trenchant cultural commentary, The Cult of the Presidency traces Americaa€™s decades-long drift from the Framersa€™ vision for the presidency: a constitutionally constrained chief magistrate charged with faithful execution of the laws. Restoring that vision will require a Congress and a Court willing to check executive power, but Healy emphasizes that there is no simple legislative or judicial a€œfixa€ to the problems of the presidency. Unless Americans change what we ask of the officea€”no longer demanding what we should not want and cannot havea€”wea€™ll get what, in a sense, we deserve.106 As the president strutted the deck of the USS Lincoln, clad in a naval aviatora#39;s flight suit and bathed in the adulation of the ... who, a€œby attacking problems frontally and aggressively, and interpreting his power expansively, can be the engine of change to move this nation forward. ... In September 2003, KB Toys introduced a flighta€” suited Bush action figure, the a€œElite Force Aviator, a€ celebrating a€œGeorgeanbsp;...

Title:The Cult of the Presidency
Author:Gene Healy
Publisher:Cato Institute - 2009-05-01


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