'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

King George 

Frequent commenter and mercurial provocateur from across the pond, James brings to our attention a BBC News article about Professor Stephen Graubard's The Transformation of the American Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to George W Bush (called Command of Office in the US) which basically argues that Bush now has the power of a king:

The US president is now as powerful as a monarch, according to a new book by an American professor published to coincide with the start of George W Bush's second term.

Even powerful mid-century presidents such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognised checks on their authority, says Stephen Graubard, who is old enough to have attended Roosevelt's last inauguration in 1945.

But since Ronald Reagan, the powers of a president and his "courtiers" have become increasingly untrammelled, Professor Graubard told BBC News.

"He is not totally unchecked but his power is immense," he says of recent presidents, several of whose closest advisers - including Donald Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger, McGeorge Bundy and Zbigniew Brzezinski - he has known personally.

Bush is not the only president Graubard criticises
"FDR worried all the time about other authorities who might try to inhibit his plans. This man [George Bush] knows nobody is going to check him.

"He has been made ridiculous by certain films, but does Bush really give a damn what the New York Times thinks of him? Roosevelt did.

"A king claims certain prerogatives. He is under the law but he has immense discretion in what he can do, especially in foreign affairs."

Interesting reading in light of what Seymour Hersh has been saying lately.

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