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Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush Hardcover – April 6, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
Dean does a good job at the outset of describing his purpose and motivation in writing the book; it started out as a concern that the current administration was either "blissful or naive" in its reliance on- bordering on obsession with- secrecy. As he realized that he couldn't even keep pace with reporting the administration's stonewalling, refusals to share information, and terminations of Freedom of Information rights, it dawned on him that this was not naivete, but purposeful and intentional.
Dean makes no bones or excuses for his participation in the Watergate fiasco, but brings to bear the insights one might hope a participant in that scandal had gained from the experience. Indeed, reflections on then versus now are a persistent and pervasive theme throughout. And as the title makes clear, Dean's conclusion is that the behaviour of this administration is worse than Nixon's following the Watergate break-in.
The central topic is the use and abuse of secrecy. Dean makes a compelling case that an over-reliance on secrecy is corrupting in and of itself, and that secrecy begets still more secrecy. In a number of places and in a number of ways, he contends and argues that secrecy is anathema to the democratic process, the democratic system, and to the functioning of democratically elected officials.Read more ›
Dean argues that in asking Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American force in Iraq, President Bush made a number of "unequivocal public statements" regarding the reasons this country needed to pursue military force in pursuit of national interests. Dean, now an academic and noted author, shows how through tradition, presidential statements regarding issues of national security are held to an expectation of "the highest standard of truthfulness". Therefore, according to Dean, no president can simply "stretch, twist or distort" the facts of a case and then expect to avoid resulting consequences. Citing historical precedents, Dean shows how Lyndon Johnson's distortions regarding the truth about the war in Vietnam led to his own subsequent withdrawal for candidacy for re-election in 1968, and how Richard Nixon's attempted cover-up of the truth about Watergate forced his own resignation.Read more ›
That said, here is my review (forgive its length!):
"Worse than Watergate" is an insightful look at the Bush administration's obsession with secrecy, and an ongoing comparison with the Nixon "imperialist" presidency that resonates at many levels. Dean, having been Nixon's counsel during his presidency and instrumental in the Watergate hearings, draws upon his vast experience and knowledge to first introduce the reader to both administrations before sketching his parallels. The title of the book is profoundly accurate, underscoring that as devious and ruthless as Nixon had been in his time, he is an altar boy in comparison to the Bush administration. For those without a decent knowledge of political players in the '70s, it will be a bit of a shock to see that Cheney and Rumsfeld featured prominently in Nixon's administration. Dean gives the impression that Cheney, as chief of staff then and maligned by the press as incompetent, grew preoccupied about controlling information. This has culminated into the present obsession that defines this presidency. Dean also portrays Cheney as a "co-president" rather than vice president, and supplies ample proof to make the label stick. Humorous passages reinforce this idea: one analogy states that if Bush is the equivalent of a chairman of the board, then Cheney is certainly the CEO; another remarks that if Cheney's health condition ever becomes fatal, then Bush might become president.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John W. Dean seems to have nothing better to do than to write books on the scandals of Presidents who had little to no scandals. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Russe Johnston
Enjoy John Dean's book...a lot of information on the GWB administration that we peons never know about!! It was a bit scary to read, but full of interesting information!Published 7 months ago by Michele Deady-paano
Anyone who has questions about our political system should definitely read this book.Published 7 months ago by David J. Koch
The Bushes in general are the opposite from the public image they work hard to portray. Nothing surprising in this book for someone who knows the inside story of how they really... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ann H.
Regarding Bush, something of an eye opener relative to his business dealings prior to the presidency. Read morePublished 18 months ago by S. Kent Campbell