The former White House counsel faults Republican mismanagement for the current state of the government
John Dean has become one of the most trenchant and respected commentators on the current state of American politics and one of the most outspoken and perceptive critics of the administration of George W. Bush in his New York Times bestsellers Conservatives Without Conscience and Worse Than Watergate.
In his eighth book, Dean takes the broadest and deepest view yet of the dysfunctional chaos and institutional damage that the Republican Party and its core conservatives have inflicted on the federal government. He assesses the state of all three branches of government, tracing their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Unlike most political commentary, which is concerned with policy, Dean looks instead at process-- making the case that the 2008 presidential race must confront these fundamental problems as well. Finally, he addresses the question that he is so often asked at his speaking engagements: What, if anything, can and should politically moderate citizens do to combat the extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and increasing focus on divisive wedge issues of so many of today's conservative politicians?
With the Democrats now in control of both the House and Senate, the stakes for the 2008 presidential election have never been higher. This is a book for anyone who wants to return government to the spirit of the Constitution.
In his latest anti-Republican polemic, ex-Nixon White House counsel and Watergate whistle-blower Dean (Conservatives Without Conscience) moves from policy to process--how necessary government functions are corrupted and hobbled by Republican politicians and their ethos of authoritarianism, secrecy, partisanship and dogmatic contempt for the public sphere. It's a long indictment. The last Republican Congress, Dean contends, rubber-stamped Bush's policies, shut Democrats out of the legislative process, neglected pressing issues and made a shambles of government finances. Meanwhile, the Bush administration--the worst presidency ever--has sought to replace constitutional checks and balances with a unitary executive that brooks no congressional interference and undermines civil rights. All of this is enabled by the swelling ranks of fundamentalists on the federal bench and Supreme Court (some of whom, he insists, committed perjury to get confirmed). The author, a former Republican, bolsters his procedural analysis with insights from political scientists, but doesn't offer procedural reforms; the cure he prescribes is to stop voting Republican. (He hails the new Democratic Congress for repairing much of the damage done by the GOP.) Dean's take on process--mainly a conventional reverence for the Constitution and bipartisanship--isn't acute, but he presents a vigorous critique of the Republican machinery. (Sept. 11)
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September 11, 2007
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