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The book’s dialogue defines the Taft administration as having been “sandwiched between” Teddy Roosevelt’s and Woodrow Wilson’s in the same sense that tiny Luxembourg is sandwiched between Belgium and France.

In fact, history has been much kinder to the “sandwiched” president’s later years as chief justice. Moreover, in his capacity as chief justice and president, Taft said the president could exercise no power that could not be fairly traced to some specific grant of power by the Constitution or Congress. On occasion, Roosevelt and Wilson (sometimes with much disdain) evaded restraints on their powers.

At best, “Taft 2012” is beach reading. Someday, one hopes, there will be a book (fiction or not) that accurately portrays Taft versus 21st-century American culture.

Wes Vernon is a veteran journalist whose career included 25 years with CBS Radio. His column appears regularly at