"It's not because either of these men are overtly evil."

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J.D. Tuccile recently had a dual review of Gene Healy's The Cult of the Presidency and Dana Nelson's Bad for Democracy in the DC Examiner. It's a great read, though the topic isn't exactly cheery. And it's definitely hard to argue with his lede:

What kind of president will the winner of November's national popularity contest be? If history is any judge, the nation's next chief executive, whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, will be something of a monster.

Whole thing here. Healy on "the radical expansion of executive power" here.

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  1. If history is any judge, the nation’s next chief executive, whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, will be something of a monster.

    Yeah, but will he be History’s Greatest Monster

  2. What makes Jimmy Carter worse than George W. Bush again?

  3. Zoltan:

    Donkey not Elephant.

  4. Just like the Great Old Ones, good memes never die.

    Ia! Ia! Cthulhu F’taghn!!!

  5. Yeah, but will he be History’s Greatest Monster?

    If history is any judge, the nation’s next chief executive, whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, will be something of a monster.

    The problem with using hyperbole when you are an extremist is that nobody can tell.

    Oh, wait. You were serious?

    Heh.

  6. I really want that picture as a bumper sticker. Please?! Are they for sale anywhere?

  7. Hillary Clinton was not loyal to “Socks” the cat. That is being a real monster.

    None of ’em have that much wiggle room when it comes to spending, really reducing the size of government, etc. but how they treat their pets, that tells the story.

    At least Obama has cute kids.

  8. This particular quote caught my eye, emphasis mine:

    “In fact,” writes Healy about FDR’s expansion of presidential power, “Well before the war, it had become clear that increasing numbers of Americans looked to the president for personal help in a way that would have seemed peculiar — even dishonorable — to their fathers and grandfathers

    This dovetails with the role of POTUS as “daddy” and Congress as “mommy” that I have been chirping about (to anyone who would listen) for over 20 years. Not that I expect things to change. What was it that ole Benjie said about security and liberty?

  9. It’s disappointing that otherwise well-informed commentators confuse “unitary executive” with “unilateral executive”.
    The unitary theory is perfectly appropriate: there is only one executive branch of the federal government.
    That clearly constitutional fact does not in any way imply that the executive branch has any powers beyond enforcing the laws adopted by Congress.
    Any claim that the President has authority to create law – or ignore it – is the “unilateral” theory … which is nonsense.

  10. Hey Westmiller, thanks for the pedantry!

  11. I really want that picture as a bumper sticker. Please?! Are they for sale anywhere?

    Cthulhu For President Sticker (Bumper)

  12. C’mon people, it’s a Simpsons joke.

    History’s Greatest Monster

  13. If we were going for history’s greatest monster and we can use fictional characters, I belatedly nominate Eric Cartman (I don’t feel like posting a link, so just go to South Park Studios and watch the episode “Scott Tenorman Must Die” season 5, for reference. Other good evidence includes “The Passion of the Jew” and “Cartoon Wars, Parts I and II”).

  14. That clearly constitutional fact does not in any way imply that the executive branch has any powers beyond enforcing the laws adopted by Congress.
    Any claim that the President has authority to create law – or ignore it

    The president has the additional power to first veto, then ignore unconstitutional laws. In fact, it would be a violation of the oath of office to not do so — an oath which every president since at least Wilson has repeatedly broken. Congress has the power to remove the president if they dispute that interpretation of what is unconstitutional.

    For example, Congress could conceivably pass a law flatly outlawing all private guns. The president would be duty bound under their oath of office to veto it. If the veto were overridden, that oath would then require refusing to implement the law.

    This does not, of course, imply any support for the concept of using signing statements, which are not constitutional, and which are an impeachable offense.

  15. Vote Cobra Commander! Coooooobbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrraaaa!

  16. In fact, it would be a violation of the oath of office to not do so — an oath which every president since at least Wilson Washington has repeatedly broken.

    Just gonna throw that out there.

  17. prolefeed,
    hypohetical: McCain/Palin win, and John, while rubbin one out after seein Palins thong pokin out the top of her jeans on casual Friday, has a massive coronary and dies. Palin is now President. If the president is too stupid to grasp the constitution, how can she recognize unconstitutional laws and ignore them?

  18. brotherben,
    Are you seriously suggesting that any of the four major party candidates for prez or veep really cares enough about the constitution that they would ignore laws they found unconstitutional?

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