Has Bush Made Obama The Most Powerful President Ever?

Nov 11, 2008 11:59am

Just what the legacy of the Bush presidency is will take years for the historians to work out.  But surely one of the hallmarks is the administration’s efforts to expand the power of the White House.  From surveillance, to interrogation of could be terror suspects, the Bush administration has pushed the bounds of executive power.  The New York Times Magazine this Sunday looked at how this will impact the incoming Obama administration.  “The next president will enter office as the most powerful president who has ever sat in the White House,” said one law professor.  From the piece:

"The assertion and expansion of presidential power is arguably the defining feature of the Bush years. Come January, the current administration will pass on to its successor a vast infrastructure for electronic surveillance, secret sites for detention and interrogation and a sheaf of legal opinions empowering the executive to do whatever he feels necessary to protect the country. The new administration will also be the beneficiary of Congress’s recent history of complacency, which amounts to a tacit acceptance of the Bush administration’s expansive views of executive authority. For that matter, thanks to the recent economic bailout, Bush’s successor will inherit control over much of the banking industry. “The next president will enter office as the most powerful president who has ever sat in the White House,” Jack Balkin, a constitutional law professor at Yale and an influential legal blogger, told me a few weeks ago."

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