Synopses & Reviews
In this searing indictment of current administration policy, Charles Tiefer, a distinguished scholar of national legal affairs and former solicitor of the House of Representatives, argues that President George W. Bush methodically manipulates the law to promote right-wing causes. The beneficiaries of these machinations range from frontline pro-weapon and anti-women's rights groups to major industries that profit from lax environmental standards and military intervention in resource-rich regions. Accessibly written, legally rigorous, and meticulously documented, Veering Right
demonstrates how the administration's already-ample arsenal for accomplishing ideological goals was expanded with weapons such as Attorney General John Ashcroft's social crusades and the polarizing 2004 election campaign. Tiefer lays out a compelling case for how the administration consistently erects barriers to media and congressional oversight that might expose covert motivations to public scrutiny. With an eye on the future, the White House is building a durable and potentially dominant machine for pursuing ideological goals by awarding lifetime judgeships and by exchanging favors for campaign funding. This book presents eye-opening evidence that ultra-conservatives could achieve previously unimaginable successes during a second Bush term.
As a former Solicitor of the House of Representatives, Tiefer possesses a wealth of insight gleaned from decades of no-holds-barred investigations and judicial struggles. His wide-ranging perspective takes into account cultural changes, constitutional issues, partisan and electoral developments, and political personalities. The most exhaustive analysis to date of the Bush administrations real agenda, this book provides a rare insiders view of the strategic, devious, and potentially overpowering ways that presidents make ideological use of the law.
Veering Right Documents How
* President Bush's secrecy and deception undermined the democratic process by misleading Congress and the public about international and domestic matters ranging from doctored Iraq weapons intelligence to covered-up drugmaker subsidies paid for by seniors
* Bushs first term lays the groundwork for even more extreme right wing policies if he is re-elected. This agenda includes tilting the nation's tax structure against the middle class in Democratic states, weakening traditional Medicare by concentrating rising costs on poorer and sicker seniors, and exporting jobs via the trade fast track
* John Ashcroft used religiosity and race-baiting to build his political career and, after 9/11, blocked questioning of his abusesranging from concealed undermining of the Bill of Rights to promoting the intolerance of the religious rightby labeling it as suspicious and even treasonous
* Bush turned the publics reaction after 9/11 away from the logical Saudi suspects and against Iraq in a spectacular double-play to push his agenda in the worlds oil patch
* Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton and her crew of lawyer-lobbyists ran the publics resources and its pollution controls like a candy store for pariah industries
* Bushs domestic legal gambits around big money paid off in 2004 with a historical gross campaign war chest as a quid pro quo for favors rendered
* The Bush Administration dismantled international legal regimes ranging from arms control and womens rights to global climate control and international tobacco regulation
* Bushs unilateralist alienation of potential support abroad hobbled both the Iraq occupation and the effort against terrorism
"Few have the knowledge, ability and credentials that Charles Tiefer does to explain to general readers (as well as scholars) how the Bush II administration has twisted and turned the law to support its radical political agenda. Veering Right
is a very important (not to mention timely) work because Tiefer has done it so lucidly and compellingly."John W. Dean, Former Nixon White House counsel and author of Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
"With this book, Charles Tiefer places the administration of George W. Bush under his experienced magnifying glass. Veering Right is a brilliant exposé of abuse of power at the highest levels. Tiefer understands that seemingly obscure legal maneuvering can have enormous political and policy ramifications. This book lays bare the questionable legal foundation on which Bush II constructed his signature domestic and foreign policies. Veering Right should outrage anyone who cares about the rule of law and the principle of open government."Representative Henry Waxman
"Veering Right is a wake up call for Americans who believe that today's intense political conflicts are no more than partisan squabbling with nothing at stake except the spoils of victory. Tiefer has seen the new 'Radical Conservatives' up close in Washington, and he is convinced what is at stake are the basic American values that have guided policies for generations. The critical question he poses for us all is whether we are ready for the sweeping consequences of the extreme rightward trend in both domestic and international policies."Richard C. Leone, President, The Century Foundation
"This book shines a piercing light into the veritable black hole of Bush Administration secrecy. Tiefer's documented exposure of unrelenting White House political point-scoring, with his deft uncovering of its radical ideological patterns, may just let in enough sunlight to awaken the media's scrutiny and criticism from its deep coma."John Podesta, President, Center for American Progress, Clinton White House Chief of Staff
About the Author
Charles Tiefer is Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore. As Solicitor of the House of Representatives from 1984 to 1995 and Assistant Senate Legal Counsel before that, he represented both houses of Congress and conducted investigations on domestic and foreign affairs under four presidents. He is the author of three previous books, including the classic 1,000-page manual of congressional procedure, The Semi-Sovereign Presidency (1994) about the previous President Bush, and dozens of respected legal articles.
Table of Contents
1. Getting Ready to Veer Right
2. Ashy”: The Social Conservative Agenda
3. Flouting Civil Liberties: Libraries or Weapons?
4. Domestic Affairs Veer Right
5. The Corruption
6. Going It Alone
7. Veering from Riyadh to Baghdad
8. Blindfolding the Public
9. If This Goes On