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Showing 1-10 of 42 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 65 reviews
on April 18, 2017
This was great. Hayward has certainly gone more highbrow than PIG books. But the book was done with great taste. It scores each president on being a Constitutionalists, from Wison (bad grade) through Obama (also bad grade). But they're not alone. Hayward is a bright historian and not a bomb thrower, so the book. I agreed with most of his assessments. Though I didn't agree with finding one of President Ford's redeeming qualities is that he vetoed the Freedom of Information Act. Congress overrode the veto. Overall, very solid history and very solid writing that you won't have to be a history buff or a political junkie like me to devour.
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on April 7, 2017
A fresh look at what actually happened in the administrations of these presidents.
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on February 13, 2017
Book was received in a timely secure fashion and am looking forward to the informational read.
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on February 19, 2012
This interesting book provides an evaluation of U.S. Presidents from Wilson to Obama specifically regarding their fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. There is a separate chapter on each President, with discussion of major issues in which an aspect of the Constitution was involved in the President's approach and decisions, and then an evaluation of his appointments to the Supreme Court.

The author clearly is interested in the long-term impact of the Presidents, even for recent ones such as Clinton, Bush43 and Obama, for whom one cannot provide a regular grade or rank as yet since at least a couple of decades must pass before the ordinary impact of a President begins to be evident. The evaluation of fidelity to the Constitution however can be done quite soon, provided one has a set of criteria that are applied consistently to each President. The author does this very well.

The most interesting evaluation in the book for me was that of Warren Harding. The author makes a strong case that Harding was a better President than John F. Kennedy, both on Constitutional grounds and in an overall assessment of their Presidencies. Harding has notable domestic and foreign successes (including the first modern world-wide arms control treaty). He made a remarkable start to reversing the extreme racial bigotry of the previous administration with a noteworthy speech in Birmingham, Alabama in favor of civil rights for blacks and strong advocacy of anti-lynching legislation.

The book is well-written and will retain your interest throughout.
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on February 9, 2012
Lefties are always looking for racist dictators. Steven Hayward suggests that they take a closer look at Woodrow Wilson, Ph.D., possibly the most overt racist ever to occupy the White House, and a professor who held the U.S. Constitution in contempt.

But that's just for openers. What I found most thought-provoking in this book was the way we Americans fail to recognize our greatest Presidents. Eisenhower, for example, was long regarded as some sort of bumbling grandfather joke. If you stop to think about it, this is very odd, because Eisenhower was the military & managerial genius who managed to make D-Day happen and win WWII in Europe. So I guess he became a bumbling idiot a few years later, upon assuming the Presidency?

Not at all. Eisenhower rather enjoyed the "bumbling idiot" image, because it caused his enemies, both foreign and domestic, to underestimate him. He never admitted to working as hard as he actually did, but preferred to let the world see him as a "What, Me Worry?" golfer. In fact, he was one of the smartest and most effective Presidents we ever had. He just preferred the "hidden hand." Even Tricky Dick, a highly intelligent man, was sometimes in awe of Eisenhower's multiple-tracking of a problem.

The same thing (or worse) apparently happened to Reagan. I can remember lefties who were still frothing at the mouth during Reagan's second term, STILL regarding him as a brainless tool of the Republican right wing. It is only now, many decades later, that the knowledge sinks in: Reagan had to overthrow that Republican establishment to win -- and he did do that -- and proceeded to unprecedented successes on the domestic and foreign fronts. By now, even some lefties are trying to drape themselves in the robes of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

There is much more in this book: a re-assessment of Harding (?!) and more details on Reagan's favorite President, Calvin Coolidge.

Not only that, the book is funny and makes its points in clear & lucid terms.

A very high recommendation, indeed!
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on March 20, 2012
This is the second "pig" book I've read in the series (the first being the pig book on u.s. history) and I was quite pleased with the book; I even learned something. I read the book like a novel, from beginning to end, though it doesn't have to be read that way of course. The author grades the presidents listed in the book by his dedication to the constitution. How loyal was the president to the constitution? Did he carry out the presidency according to how the founders intended the office to be?

While the author could not give an exhaustive treatment of each president in this medium size book, he did give objective overviews of each president graded and there is also a recommended reading list in the back of the book to explore the mentioned presidents further.

I highly recommend reading this book for two reasons. One, so you can learn what the president's actual job is and two, so you can learn how close the presidents listed followed the constitution. It's a good read.
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on February 5, 2012
From the ratification of the Constitution in the late eighteenth century until the early years of the twentieth century, proposed new legislation was actually measured against the Constitution (what a concept, right?) and presidents routinely vetoed measures that they thought did not pass constitutional muster.

In this Politically Incorrect Guide, author Steven Hayward asserts that "the Founding Fathers would be appalled by the modern presidency," in that it has changed so much since the early days of the republic--chief executives now have to make expensive promises that in many cases are impossible to fulfill.

In possibly the best example of how much we have moved away from originalism, Hayward cites the example of James Madison, the author of the Constitution, rejecting in 1794 the idea that the U.S. government should provide funds for French refugees. This explicitly refutes the mistaken belief of today's liberals that the General Welfare Clause empowers the government to establish programs that rip money from Peter to give to Paul.

Hayward believes that the presidency of Woodrow Wilson was the time when the Constitution began to be undermined seriously and looks at each president since then--he briefly reviews each presidency, looks at the presidents' court appointments, and assigns each chief executive a letter grade representing his degree of fealty to the Constitution. The author even slips in a brief but robust defense of the Electoral College.

The author does an outstanding job of cataloging the contempt that President Obama has shown for the Constitution, and in 2009 when Speaker Pelosi was asked how a mandate to carry health insurance was constitutional, she replied, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" Let us hope that in nine months that is the question that the voters ask in response to this administration's request for four more years.
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on April 21, 2012
This book is organized very well with a chapter on each president from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. Each chapter starts with one or two quotes by or about that president, some little known facts, and the author's letter grade, ranging from A+ to F-, based on how well the president followed the Constitution.

The author then explains why that particular president earned that particular grade. Reasons are explained, are well thought out, and are, for the most part, excellent. Some important issues, like the Patriot Act, were missed. The president's Supreme Court appointments are discussed and make up a significant portion of the president's grade.

Grades given: 1 A+, 1 A-, 2 B+, 1 B, 4 C+, 2 C-, 5 F, and 1 F-

While not perfect, this is an excellent work and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in their liberty, in history, or just curious about how we got here from the constitutional republic we once were.
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on April 19, 2016
one of the most insightful books as to what the Presidents did or didn't do in accordance with the Constitution. It exposes questionable decisions and actions which never made the mainstream media. and as pointed out, most biographies of Presidents were written by liberal authors or members of the academic world which tend to have a liberal slant. I'm not saying this author is right and the others wrong, he makes his case and documents sources for concluded what he writes and how he grades the Presidents vis a vis the Constitution. Must reading if interested in politics and where the USA is headed because of 'backroom decisions".
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on January 31, 2015
A true look at the actions and character of the presidents. This book inspired me to look further into each action based on Supreme court cases, the factual laws and acts passed by them. Although the book presents accurate information, it's always encouraged to compare the facts with true events. Takes all the information from revisionist history and puts it to shame. A must read for proper insight to modern presidents.
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