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The Cult of the Presidency: America's…

The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive… (2008)

by Gene Healy

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911193,768 (3.91)3
  1. 10
    Reassessing the Presidency : The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom by John V. Denson (Cascadian)
    Cascadian: A collection of essays by writers associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, "Reassessing the Presidency" offers a great deal of analysis that compliments that in "The Cult of the Presidency," but from an even stronger pro-freedom, anti-state standpoint.… (more)
  2. 00
    Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg (gjn)
    gjn: Both books describe the increasing power the american government gathered over the 20th century and that his power increase is in deep contrast with the founding fathers ideas and the american constitution. Both are very interesting reads.

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Reviews: We Americans like to think our republic is unique, that our Constitution has for the most part preserved a form of government that's stacked with checks and balances, representative, and morally superior to the despots, tyrants, and authoritarian regimes that have ruled over most of humanity for most of human history. That's all true. The most important moment in American history is arguably when George Washington declined to run for a third presidential term, despite calls for him to be crowned king, or to serve for life. What's odd, though, is that since then we've come to venerate as "great men" those American presidents who have behaved most like tyrants, and denigrate the few who approached the office with some humility. Gene Healy's book The Cult of the Presidency is scholarly, acerbic, sometimes witty, and ultimately pretty depressing. Healy not only documents and damns the presidents most guilty of expanding the power and influence of the executive branch, he looks at why and how we've come to expect so much of—and invest so much faith in—the occupant of the Oval Office, and why that isn't healthy for our democracy. As we transition from an administration that believed the president has near-plenary powers to one that's promising to lower ocean levels and cure of us cynicism, Healy's book couldn't be more timely, or more important. Historians adore presidents who fought big wars, grew their own power, and broadened the size and scope of the federal government—think Wilson, Lincoln, or either Roosevelt. They have little respect for men like Calvin Coolidge, Grover Cleveland, or Rutherford B. Hayes, men who, as Healy puts it, were content to merely preside over periods of peace and prosperity. Healy's book cautions that it's time to change the way we think about the office of the presidency. There's nothing "great" about aspiring to power, then consolidating, broadening, and wielding it. Kings, tyrants, and politicians have been doing that for all of human history. It's time to define great as the willingness and ability to leave power on the table. –reasonArticles: Excerpt (reason), George Will
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  MightyLeaf | May 25, 2010 |
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On the morning of January 28, 2007, Mike Huckabee went on NBC's "Meet the Press" to announce that he was running for president of the United States.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"The Cult of the Presidency cakes a step back from the ongoing red team/blue team combat and shows that, at bottom, conservatives and liberals agree on the boundless nature of presidential responsibility. For both camps, it is the president's job to grow the economy, teach our children well, provide seamless protection from terrorist threats, and rescue Americans from spiritual malaise, Very few Americans seem to think it odd, says Healy, "when presidential candidates talk as if they're running for a job that's a combination of guardian angel, shaman, and supreme warlord of the earth."""Interweaving historical scholarship, legal analysis, and trenchant cultural commentary, The Cult of the Presidency traces America's decades-long drift from the Framers' 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 "fix" to the problems of the presidency. Unless Americans change what we ask of the office - no longer demanding what we should not want and cannot have - we'll get what, in a sense, we deserve."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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