“Nine Presidents Who Screwed Up America: And Four Who Tried to Save Her” by Brion T. McClanahan

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. I don’t read a lot of political books, and it’s been awhile since I’ve been into history books. But I’m attempting to expand my horizons. The title led me to believe it would be more dynamic than it was.

The title of the book really should be 11 Presidents that Screwed Up America, since one chapter, that I thought was supposed to be on Barrack Obama, also included George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

But I digress. The author claims that adherence to the Constitution of the United States should be the ultimate metric we use to judge the success of a President. If a President enacts policy (even a truly moral policy) but does so in a way that circumvents the Constitution, then he has harmed the United States as a Republic. Basically, the ends do not justify the means.

So all kinds of Presidents end up on his bad list. This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat argument. This is a constitutional vs. non-constitutional argument: Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Barrack Obama (with a shout-out to Clinton, and both Bushes) all, in the authors estimation, trampled on the constitution. It doesn’t matter if they also did good things, they hurt the office of the Presidency by expanding it’s powers beyond what is given in the Constitution.

The book is BORING! I was so bored. But, there was tidbits of interesting information. The author does a good job of explaining exactly what each President did to violate the constitution, and how it laid the groundwork for further abuses by the office of the president. I think it helped me better understand how the founders intended for the three branches of the government to work together.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The writing is adequate. The information is good. The subject matter is so boring.


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