LOSING AMERICA: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency

Robert C. Byrd, Author . Norton $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-393-05942-7

Attacks on the Bush presidency have proliferated in recent months, but few critics bring to the argument the weight of Senator Byrd (D-W.Va.), who has served under 11 presidents. Few combine his scholar's understanding of constitutional government with the experience gained in his nearly half-century of Senate tenure. Of course, it must be noted that Byrd is a veteran Democratic leader now attacking a Republican president during an election year. In his view, Bush and his advisers—Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Perle and Cheney—are dangerous not merely because their policies are ill conceived, but because they are intent on usurping the powers of the "the People's Branch of Government," Congress—refusing, for instance, to let Tom Ridge testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the proposed Department of Homeland Security. To Byrd the Constitution's checks and balances and the powers of the legislative branch, including the power of the purse and the power to declare war, have kept America a safe and functioning democracy. He argues, offering a series of instances, that the Bush administration is systematically, relentlessly and with stubborn arrogance making a mockery of these constitutional mandates through subterfuge, warmongering and intimidation of a Congress that is "cowed, timid, and deferential." Byrd is forthrightly critical of President Bush, charging him with "political mendacity" and saying that, in comparison with the other presidents he has known, "Bush #43 was in a class by himself—ineptitude supreme." This volume is a searing criticism, informed by Byrd's knowledge of history, leavened with his vast experience and written with his legendary rhetorical flourish. (July 26)

FYI: Hillary Rodham Clinton will appear with Senator Byrd at an event in New York City on July 26, and Ted Kennedy will appear with him on July 27 at an event in Boston, during the Democratic Convention.

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-393-32701-4
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