A Presidential Nation

A Presidential Nation

A Presidential Nation

A Presidential Nation

Excerpt

The final decades of the twentieth century may be the best of times for the enhancement of presidential power—and the worst of times for regeneration of the constitutionally inspired checks on the exercise of that power.

The modern presidency stands in a contemporary jungle of degenerating social and economic compacts, floundering governments and religions, splintering elemental units of society (like the American family), and agnostic, if not despairing, civilizations. Strong leadership is sought—and needed—not only to redress the maldistribution of fewer resources among more expecting people at home and abroad, but also to lift the spirit of our nation and draw the best from its citizens. Economic problems effectively resist the politics of self-interest. The technology of war persistently maintains its pace at least a few steps beyond the ability of man to find enduring peace. Communications, particularly television, rivet our attention on the president and the most desperate problems he seems unable to solve. It is in an environment of unprecedented social and institutional Darwinism that we bear witness to the manifestations of presidential power. No perspective on the exercise of that power can be informed in an ahistorical time capsule that is in-

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