Introduction: This being President's Day, the News Hour with Jim Leher aired as summarized: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/newshour_index.html It reminded me of ongoing discussion of balance of power between branches of government, comparison of presidents in our history, the role of the vice president, and so forth that we've had here in PF. According to the experts on the PBS program, historically presidential power is gained by landslide victory/popular majority support, control of both houses of Congress, or crisis such as war, depression, etc. In choosing which president has had the most power, both experts agreed upon Roosevelt. So how does the current president rate, and why? A brief overview: The U.S. presidential election of 2000 was one of the closest elections in U.S. history, which ended with an even more controversial and narrow 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in lieu of a recount in Florida. Only a slim Republican majority remained in Congress. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_v._Gore) The crisis of 9-11 occurred just eight months into Bush's first term. Bush's approval ratings surged to near 90%. Within a month, the forces of a coalition led by the United States invaded Afghanistan. The next strategic target was invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, bolstering Bush's approval rating in the month of May to 66%, and ensuring a war time environment during the 2004 election. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_U.S._presidential_elections#Background) Bush's popularity as a wartime president helped consolidate his base, and ward off any serious challenge to the nomination in 2004. However, Bush's high approval ratings did not last, and he has never enjoyed continual majority support. Though Bush was the incumbent and a "war president," he only won the 2004 election by 286 to 251 votes. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_U.S._presidential_elections) Nonetheless, in 2004 the Republican Party increased its majorities in both houses of Congress. Of course we now know the volume and direction of funds from K Street that was shifted to Republicans. This from a report in 2003: "Lobbyists in 2002 contributed $16.2 million to members of Congress; $6.8 million in 2003, with 52 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics." http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0829/p01s01-uspo.html My thesis statement is: Had it not been for the tragedy of 9-11, and further capitalization upon this tragedy to invade Iraq, Bush would not have retained, or been able to expand his presidential powers. In addition, had it not been for 9-11 fear-mongering and growing corruption, the Republican party would not control both houses of Congress, thus providing further support for the president. This will be the evaluation made on future President's Days. Looking back with hindsight, we can see it all unfold, beginning with legal maneuverings and claims about Article II of the constitution to win the election in 2000 (someone does have good legal counsel with an understanding of history)... Aside from the thesis statement, this OP opens up many topics of discussion. Has presidential power really diminished since the Vietnam War and Watergate? Is Cheney the strongest VP in history, and if so, why? Though Congress is Republican controlled, will it ultimately seek self preservation against the Executive power grab?