The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the
Subversion of American Democracy
In 1789, the Founding
Fathers came up with a system of checks and balances
to keep kingly powers out of the hands of American
presidents. But in the 1970s and '80s, a faction of
Republican loyalists, outraged by the fall of the
imperial presidency after Watergate and the Vietnam
War, abandoned conservatives' traditional suspicion
of concentrated government power. These men hatched
a plot that would allow the White House to return
to, or even surpass, the virtually unchecked powers
that Richard Nixon had briefly tried to wield.
Congress would be defanged, and the commander in
chief would be able to assert a unilateral dominance
both at home and abroad.
Today, this plot is
coming to fruition. As Takeover reveals, the
Bush-Cheney administration has succeeded in seizing
vast powers for the presidency by throwing off many
of the restraints placed upon it by Congress, the
courts, and the Constitution.
timely book unveils the secret machinations behind
the headlines, explaining the links between
warrantless wiretapping and President Bush's Supreme
Court nominees, between the unprecedented
politicization of the Justice Department and the
torture debate, between the White House's use of
"signing statements" to assert a right to defy new
laws and its efforts to impose greater control over
career military JAG lawyers, and between the secrecy
surrounding Vice President Cheney's energy task
force and the holding of U.S. citizens without trial
as "enemy combatants."
It tells, for the
first time, the full story of a hidden agenda three
decades in the making, laying out how a group of
true believers set out to establish monarchical
executive powers that, in the words of one
conservative critic, "will lie around like a loaded
weapon" ready to be picked up by any future
president - liberal and conservative alike.
reported and deftly told, Takeover is a searing
investigation into how the constitutional balance of
our democracy is in danger of being permanently
altered. For anyone who cares about America's past,
present, and future, it is essential reading.
from Little, Brown & Company)