Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency – Senator Robert C. Byrd


 Losing America

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. (April 25, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0393327019
ISBN-13: 978-0393327014
Order from here:

Having grown up in WV, I’ve known Senator Byrd as a senator my entire life.   While much of his past is quite controversial, and many things I disagree with, one thing I do feel is true is his knowledge of the history of America.  This book was written in 2004 just as we were in the beginnings of our war with Iraq.  Senator Byrd looks at the events leading up to this war.  He also provides a lot of behind the scenes details on things that went on, and the people involved.

Senator Byrd admits to being quite impressed when President Bush 43 was first elected.   What concerns him was the reckless nature Bush showed himself to have.  President Clinton left us with a $2.5 trillion budget surplus.  Bush, according to this, quickly spent it.  The spending however wasn’t the problem Senator Byrd had, but how the money was spent.  He states that the Congress is responsible for controlling the purse strings.  This country in the last few years has begun on the dangerous path of allowing the President to overrule that control. 

With the Reagan tax cuts for example, Senator Byrd states that there was much debate among congress.  However, when Bush came along and made tax cuts, there was no debate.  But he doesn’t just blame Bush.  During the Clinton administration, he writes, there was the Line Item Veto act.  This act allowed the President to amend legislation after it became law.   Essentially this act, allowed the President to control Congress.  If you needed to pay for new roads in your district, and a law was passed allowing this, the President could veto this unless you did what he wanted  regarding a peace treaty.  This act was used 3 times by President Clinton before it was ruled unconstitutional. 

Other issues Senator Byrd had involved the Patriot Act.  Under that Act, a person could be denied bail for suspected terrorism.  He feels it went against our laws, because a man is “innocent until proven guilty”, but the Patriot Act made a man Guilty until proven otherwise.  He also goes briefly into the Valerie Plame Spygate affair. 

Now you might think, being a Democrat, that Senator Byrd is just biased.  However, I didn’t find this to be a biased view, but genunine concern.

He had this to say about former presidents:

  • “John Kennedy knew his subject and appealed to reason gently.”
  • “Johnson was the consummate tour de force, coy, sly, bullying if need be.”
  • “Nixon was deadly serious and always well prepared.”
  • “Jimmy Carter was a good listener with a facility for great detail”
  • “Ronald Rean, a joke teller, a charmer, who read from three-by-five cards and usually turned the substance over to staffers.”
  • “George Herbert Walker Bush, Serious, intent, well-informed.”
  • “Bill Clinton, likable, jovial, and with a vast knowledge of policy on a wide array of topics which he liked to display.”
  • “George W.  Bush – Ineptitude Supreme”.

I found the book very interesting.  I think regardless of your personal political persuasion that reading this would shed a lot of light on many of the things that went on.  In this day, where many people protest about how our country is being destroyed, this book seems to back that up with facts.  It wasn’t a bash of Republican or Democrat, but only about the problems that occurred 5 years ago, where he thought the resulting solutions would take us, and his concerns for our future.  I’d say pick this up, or go to your local library and check this book out.  Regardless of who you are, I think you might learn something from this elder statesman.

You can discuss it here

1 people like this post.