Two Presidents Are Better Than One: The Case for a Bipartisan Executive Branch

David Orentlicher. NYU, $29.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8147-8949-0
In his latest book, law professor Orentlicher (Matters of Life and Death) proposes a two-party, two-person presidency as a cure for what’s ailing the U.S. government. As unlikely as the thought may sound, Orentlicher makes a surprisingly persuasive case for this radical change. With partisanship at a fever pitch, Orentlicher thinks that our political system is badly in need of moderation and compromise. Voters and lawmakers would have less to bicker about, in his view, if they knew there was at least one chief executive representing their beliefs. Moreover, his proposal would push policy and legislation toward a middle ground by requiring both presidents to agree before taking any executive action. Orentlicher delivers a compelling explanation of how such a system would better align with the framers’ original conception of the executive branch. However, he too readily discounts the many hurdles, from essential legislation being fatally hamstrung by compromise, to ideological impasse arising between mismatched chief executives. Though the author has an incisive eye for the problems of contemporary government, the solutions he offers are too idealistic to ring convincingly. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 03/11/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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