Overall Themes Critique of the Cult of the Presidency by Gene Healy Book Report

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Cult of the Presidency

George Healy, author of the Cult of the Presidency, is Vice-President of the libertarian organization and think tank the Cato Institute. While he is clearly opinionated about executive power, the American Presidency in the 21st century has changed to reflect more of an imperial notion of power, and yet most Americans view the president as a central locus of political power as well as what it means to be American. Despite the seriousness of the material, Healy interjects facts with some humor -- which tends to make the book even more powerful a statement when he asks us to reflect on just how much power the people have given up since 9/11. As a scholar, Healy's material is well-cited and documented, enough to satisfy even the staunchest of critics. The book is well written and a relative entertaining read -- more like a conversation simply asking the reader to entertain an alternative point-of-view (Healy).

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The gist of the material is that Healy would like Americans to have a wakeup call regarding government. It was so clear during the debates during the framing of the Constitution that the Founding Fathers were quite leery of too much central power -- certainly the last thing they wanted was an imperial presidency. Healy's argument is that the American President's assumptions of power and authority should be limited and reined in -- checked even more by Congress and the Supreme Court, and authority for wartime or extraordinary powers and changes to legal structure should be in the hands of the Courts, not a Presidential Committee.

TOPIC: Book Report on Overall Themes Critique of the Cult of the Presidency by Gene Healy Assignment

The President did not make this happen out of thin air or by himself -- note the word President and not anyone specific. Instead, as early as the middle 1950s the public expected the American President to fill ten major roles, at least five which are nowhere to be found in the Constitution: 1) to be the world leader, not just the President, but the core voice for survival and freedom everywhere; 2) Protector of the Peace -- whether natural disaster or international war, the American President can fix things; 3) Chief Legislator -- the Constitution has the Congress taking the lead on domestic policy, the public sees the President as guiding the Congress; 4) Manager of Prosperity -- the President is responsible for the economic well-being of the nation and its citizens; 5) Voice of the People -- the modern president must be the moral spokesperson of all Americans -- the epitome of the general will of the populace.

Thankfully, this is not a Red/Blue argument- there really are no Republican or Democrat faults or favors -- instead, both camps hold that this one figure in American politics can grow the economy, ensure children are taught appropriately, protect the nation and citizens at home or abroad, and rescue the very moral fiber of the country -- wow! Indeed, as witnessed during the last election period, few Americans think it strange "when presidential candidates talk as if they're running for a job that is a combination of guardian angel, shaman, and supreme warlord of the earth" (267).

If this seems somewhat ironic, it is meant to. Regardless of the acumen, education,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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