The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney

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Overview

The Bush administration is out but the American public continues to suffer from its disastrous domestic and foreign policies. In this excellently documented work, presidential scholar Shirley Anne Warshaw offers an in-depth analysis and exploration of the political maneuvering that got us into our current mess. Combining her study of the motivations of both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, knowledge of the spheres in which they operated, and personal interviews with White House staff and Washington insiders, ...

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The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney

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Overview

The Bush administration is out but the American public continues to suffer from its disastrous domestic and foreign policies. In this excellently documented work, presidential scholar Shirley Anne Warshaw offers an in-depth analysis and exploration of the political maneuvering that got us into our current mess. Combining her study of the motivations of both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, knowledge of the spheres in which they operated, and personal interviews with White House staff and Washington insiders, Warshaw demonstrates that these complementary conservatives were nothing less than co-presidents. Breaking with popular sentiment, she denies that Bush's authority was hijacked or stolen. Bush, rather, focused on building what he called a moral and civil society, anchored by a war on science and by the proliferation of faith-based programs, while allowing Cheney to lead in business and foreign policy. Warshaw highlights Cheney's decades-long career in Washington and his familiarity with its inner workings to present a complete picture of this calculating political powerhouse who continues to capture headlines. From Cheney's unprecedented merging of the vice president's office into the president's to his abhorrence of what he deemed congressional interference in the president's ability to do his job, Warshaw paints an intriguing, and at times frightening, portrait.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The author successfully argues that Cheney did not usurp the power of the presidency but rather reached an accommodation with Bush on a division of labor and responsibility with the executive office ... The work contains extensive notes and documentation. It is a must read for presidential scholars and all others trying to understand the Bush-Cheney relationship."—J. R. Hdetke, Choice.

"Shirley Anne Warshaw's masterful analysis demonstrates how George W. Bush ceded the most significant presidential powers to Dick Cheney. Warshaw's book provides strong evidence that Cheney was able to grab the levers of power that Bush had so casually yielded. The lesson is a stark one; the combination of a weak president, and a vice president who captured that power, took the country in dangerous directions the voters neither envisioned nor chose." —Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show"

"The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney chronicles Vice President Cheney's unprecedented role in helping to shape White House policy on energy, Iraq, assertions of presidential prerogative, and more. Shirley Anne Warshaw details and assesses the actions of the Bush administration—a provocative and valuable start in exploring the lessons that future presidents may take from the past eight years." —Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today

"In my view—an insider's view—Dr. Warshaw is too kind. Dick Cheney was not copresident, he was president. In all matters of great importance, that's the way he wanted it, that's the way it was. Dr. Warshaw's book brilliantly illuminates Cheney's shadow presidency, and for that reason alone should be read by everyone who cares about the fate of our Republic." —Lawrence Wilkerson, Former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Visiting Harriman Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary

"Warshaw lays out with commendable academic diligence the division of power in the Bush White House and how a new, untested president, surrounded by political aides, willingly ceded all the heavy lifting to his vice president. Dick Cheney commandeered economic, energy, environmental and national security while George W. Bush kept busy with his faith-based agenda. The irony is that Bush succeeded with his small share of the copresidency while Cheney became a human wrecking ball, taking Bush down with him, yet leaving a legacy of broadened executive power for future presidents." —Eleanor Clift, Contributing Editor, Newsweek

Publishers Weekly

In this critical investigation of former vice president Cheney's role in George W. Bush's administration, Warshaw (The Keys to Power) reveals how Bush and Cheney split the presidency, each using the office's power to advance agendas that rarely overlapped. This suited Bush's limited agenda and experience well; while he focused on education reform and faith-based initiatives, he was content to leave Cheney in charge of economic and foreign policy. As head of Bush's transition team, Cheney staffed virtually the entire administration with longtime associates who shared his vision of a strong-some have called it "imperial"-executive. He and his staff controlled political appointments and drafted most of the 800-plus signing statements affixed to bills that declared the president's refusal to enforce selected parts of laws passed by Congress. Warshaw rejects analyses that portray either Cheney or Karl Rove as puppet masters in favor of portraying Bush as capable in the spheres that mattered to him, where Cheney was careful not to interfere. Thoroughly researched and insightful into the complexities of both personalities, the book offers an engaging look at the most controversial presidency since Nixon's. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Warshaw (political science, Gettysburg Coll.; Powersharing) is not the first writer to refer to Dick Cheney's "copresidency" with George W. Bush. She is, however, the first to present the idea at length and to give as much weight to how this operated as to the results. With an early tacit agreement on division of labor, Bush would focus on what mattered to him-a domestic faith-based agenda-leaving Cheney to focus on energy, the economy, and foreign affairs. Given his knowledge of how the bureaucracy worked, penchant for secrecy, control over administration staffing, and lack of ambition to become president, Cheney was able to see that Bush "essentially rubber-stamped" his recommendations. More than that: after 9/11 Bush "abrogated his presidency and turned it over to Cheney." Warshaw traces Cheney's ideas on presidential power to his service in the Ford administration and is particularly good on how power was exercised in the Bush administration. Occasionally repetitive, this work of scholarship complements Barton Gellman's Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, a fine journalistic narrative. Because the Bush/Cheney literature is already substantial and no doubt will continue to grow, Warshaw's book is best for readers who can't get enough on the subject.
—Bob Nardini

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804758185
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirley Anne Warshaw is Professor of Political Science at Gettysburg College. An authority on the American presidency, the president's Cabinet, and organizational decision structures for presidential policymaking, Warshaw is the author of numerous books and is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and network radio and television.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 11 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2009

    Insight into the Bush White House

    Warshaw connects the dots in this book to give us an in depth and circumspect understanding of the inner workings of the Bush-Cheney relationship. A must read for anyone interested in better understanding how we've ended up where we are.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney

    Seems our outrage over Bush for that last eight years was misguided. Dr Warshaw helps us to correct our course in her latest book on the US Presidency. Each chapter is self contained and astounding in breadth and depth. I am still wondering how this could have happened. The American public needs to know just what took place. Everyone should read this book. Otherwise I fear we are susceptible to future power grabs in our supposedly, "checks and balances" government. This is the book to read. Excellent Job!

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  • Posted May 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    A timely insight into the Bush presidency which compels questions about the roles of our leaders. A fascinating subject for which this book serves as requisite reading. Anyone interested in the study of leadership or presidential politics would be well served by reading this book.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

    A Must Read

    Dr. Warshaw's latest book is an extremely insightful analysis of the remarkable role that Dick Cheney played in the past Administration. While it is academically rigorous and detailed in its description of how Cheney carved out and fully utilized his outsized sphere of influence, its lively and readable style makes this a fascinating and fun read for anyone interested in our governmental system.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    A Most Detailed and Provocative Analysis

    Presidential scholar Shirley Anne Warshaw has shown herself to be premier among her contemporaries in analyzing the administrative structures and processes used by Presidents from Eisenhower through Clinton to set policies, pursue agendas and administer the executive branch of our government. In this new work she combines that knowledge with keen insights into the character, personalities and ambitions of two men whom she concludes constituted the nation's first true "Co'Presidency". The result is a compelling and convincing portrait of the Bush - Cheney years.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney .excellent reading.
    The author did a superb job on her research of the Bush and Cheyney presidency. .. a must to read.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    First rate read

    Warshaw has done the hard work required for fully understanding the nature of presidential leadership. Here, she accurately portrays the work of two men, each operating in his own sphere of interest and expertise--not, as some commentators have suggested a Rasputinish Cheney pulling the strings for Bush. This is a must read for any serious student of presidential politics and for anyone who wants to know why the past eight years went as they did.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Riveting

    Warshaw's research and depth tell the world what I've suspected all along. The sources, the analysis, and the writing shine! Thank you for exposing the truth.

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    Posted April 30, 2009

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    Posted April 24, 2009

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    Posted April 24, 2009

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