Cover image for Losing America : confronting a reckless and arrogant presidency
Losing America : confronting a reckless and arrogant presidency
Byrd, Robert C.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, [2004]

Physical Description:
269 pages ; 22 cm
Changing the tone -- An unpatriotic act -- Worms in the wood -- Tough talk and Afghanistan -- Homeland insecurity -- Confronting the "Axis of evil" -- "Out of business" -- Selling the war.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E902 .B95 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E902 .B95 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E902 .B95 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E902 .B95 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E902 .B95 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In the months and years following September 11, Senator Robert C. Byrd has viewed with alarm what he considers to be a "slow unraveling of the people's liberties," when all dissenting voices were stilled and awesome power swung suddenly to the president to fight a "war on terror." This path violates historic American principles--it shows no regard for the balance of powers or the role of the Congress; it invades our privacy; and it eliminates public participation in and understanding of government. Swept along, we have entered a war without proper consideration and rushed dangerous legislation through Congress.  Now is the time to regain the Constitution, to return to the values and processes that made America great. Byrd does not shrink from speaking the truth to an ever more aggressive and imperial White House. Byrd has written a new postscript for the paperback edition.

Author Notes

Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia has served in the U.S. Congress for fifty-one years, forty-five of them as a senator. He is ranking member, and senior member, of the Senate Appropriations Committee and has twice been president pro tempore of the Senate -- third in line to succeed the president. He is also a former majority leader of the Senate

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As the subtitle suggests, Senator Byrd has clear contempt for both the foreign and domestic policies of the Bush administration. Of course, his opposition to the war in Iraq has been consistent. Here, his main concern is what he views as an attack on our constitutional liberties and on the separation of powers, led by an ideologically driven administration. His warnings about the potential, down-the-road threat implied by measures taken in the name of national security deserve consideration. Unfortunately, his zeal overwhelms his historical perspective. Our freedoms survived the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Red scare of the 1920s, and the McCarthy era. So his claim that our freedoms are under unprecedented attack is over the top. Most Jeremiahs' predictions are wrong. Yet we are compelled to listen to them because their most horrific visions occasionally come true. Had Bush or Rice paid closer heed to Jeremiahs in their own administration--well, who knows? Schell, who made his name as a prophet of doom in the Fate of the Earth series in the New Yorker, here warns us about inherent dangers in our war against terrorism. Apparently, he sees most of the dangers emanating from the American side. He absurdly blames the U.S. for destabilizing Pakistan (as if Pakistan was once an island of stability). He worries that our nation will lash out like an enraged blind giant . Still, he does correctly point out that some of the more grandiose foreign policy goals of Bush's advisors risk setting off chain reactions with incalculable consequences. --Jay Freeman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Attacks on the Bush presidency have proliferated in recent months, but few critics bring to the argument the weight of Senator Byrd (D-W.Va.), who has served under 11 presidents. Few combine his scholar's understanding of constitutional government with the experience gained in his nearly half-century of Senate tenure. Of course, it must be noted that Byrd is a veteran Democratic leader now attacking a Republican president during an election year. In his view, Bush and his advisers-Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Perle and Cheney-are dangerous not merely because their policies are ill conceived, but because they are intent on usurping the powers of the "the People's Branch of Government," Congress-refusing, for instance, to let Tom Ridge testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the proposed Department of Homeland Security. To Byrd the Constitution's checks and balances and the powers of the legislative branch, including the power of the purse and the power to declare war, have kept America a safe and functioning democracy. He argues, offering a series of instances, that the Bush administration is systematically, relentlessly and with stubborn arrogance making a mockery of these constitutional mandates through subterfuge, warmongering and intimidation of a Congress that is "cowed, timid, and deferential." Byrd is forthrightly critical of President Bush, charging him with "political mendacity" and saying that, in comparison with the other presidents he has known, "Bush #43 was in a class by himself-ineptitude supreme." This volume is a searing criticism, informed by Byrd's knowledge of history, leavened with his vast experience and written with his legendary rhetorical flourish. (July 26) FYI: Hillary Rodham Clinton will appear with Senator Byrd at an event in New York City on July 26, and Ted Kennedy will appear with him on July 27 at an event in Boston, during the Democratic Convention. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

What's happening to our liberties post-9/11? Musings from the longtime West Virginia senator. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Introduction: Losing Americap. 11
Chapter 1 Changing the Tonep. 17
Chapter 2 An Unpatriotic Actp. 37
Chapter 3 Worms in the Woodp. 56
Chapter 4 Tough Talk and Afghanistanp. 82
Chapter 5 Homeland Insecurityp. 98
Chapter 6 Confronting the "Axis of Evil"p. 121
Chapter 7 "Out of Business"p. 153
Chapter 8 Selling the Warp. 178
Epiloguep. 209
Eight Speeches from the Floor of the Senatep. 215
Black Thursday (May 17, 2001)p. 215
The Greatest Generations (October 18, 2001)p. 223
A Lesson from History (October 10, 2002)p. 230
America Unguarded (February 11, 2003)p. 236
We Stand Passively Mute (February 12, 2003)p. 244
A Troubling Speech (May 6, 2003)p. 250
The Emperor Has No Clothes (October 17, 2003)p. 254
A Budget of Gimmicks, False Promises, and Unrealistic Expectations (February 27, 2004)p. 261