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White House Politics and the Environment

Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

Byron W. Daynes and Glen Sussman

Publication Year: 2010

Presidents and their administrations since the 1960s have become increasingly active in environmental politics, despite their touted lack of expertise and their apparent frequent discomfort with the issue.

In White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, Byron W. Daynes and Glen Sussman study the multitude of resources presidents can use in their attempts to set the public agenda. They also provide a framework for considering the environmental direction and impact of U.S. presidents during the last seven decades, permitting an assessment of each president in terms of how his administration either aided or hindered the advancement of environmental issues.

Employing four factors—political communication, legislative leadership, administrative actions, and environmental diplomacy—as a matrix for examining the environmental records of the presidents, Daynes and Sussman’s analysis and discussion allow them to sort each of the twelve occupants of the White House included in this study into one of three categories, ranging from less to more environmentally friendly.

Environmental leaders and public policy professionals will appreciate White House Politics and the Environment for its thorough and wide-ranging examination of how presidential resources have been brought to bear on environmental issues.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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p. v-v

Table and Figure

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p. vi-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

Several years ago in our book American Politics and the Environment, we stated that “environmental policy is largely a composite of contributions and input from elected and appointed officials operating in political institutions at every level of government.”1 The first question any reader might ask us, then, is why we took several years to focus on presidential politics and the environment. Our response is that we recognized the ever-increasing ...

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Introduction The Modern Presidency and the Environment

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pp. 1-26

During the first half of the twentieth century, the United States under-went periods of sudden growth and industrial development, as well as foreign involvement in two world wars. Accompanying this growth and development was a serious exploitation of natural resources both at home and abroad to meet the wartime defense needs and the demands of the post-war period. In addition, there was a decided increase in air and water...

Part One: Presidents Having a Positive Impact on the Environment

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Chapter 1 Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman

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pp. 29-45

Conservation and the environment once again became a primary focus of attention in the White House with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt—our thirty-second president and fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, our twenty-sixth president. As the nation’s first modern environmental president, Franklin Roosevelt expressed an interest in conservation well before he became president. Anna Lou Riesch Owen pointed out that “in ...

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Chapter 2 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

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pp. 46-65

Even though John Kennedy is not the first president most people think of when considering the preeminent environmental presidents, a speech he gave in 1963 indicated that he did feel a part of the conservation legacy. Kennedy asserted, “ I want those Americans who live here in 2000 to feel that . . . those of us who inherited it [the country] from Franklin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt will have something to pass on to those who ...

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Chapter 3 Richard Nixon

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pp. 66-83

There is an urgency in this message from Richard Nixon’s 1970 State of the Union address that is rarely heard today. Policy makers, as well as the lay public, were in total agreement in the 1970s regarding the need to improve the environment. This decade was unusual in that it was one of the most ...

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Chapter 4 Jimmy Carter

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pp. 84-100

Jimmy Carter campaigned for the White House as an “outsider” who intended to use the power of the presidency to bring change to Washing-ton politics. He began his administration in 1977 by developing a list of nine-teen water projects that he felt were “environmentally unsound and fiscally unjustified,” and which he believed should be deleted from the federal budget.1 His failure to understand the need to consult congressional leaders and ...

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Chapter 5 Bill Clinton

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pp. 101-120

In the 1992 election, the public put into office a president and vice president who had a great deal of support from environmentalists. Environ-mentalists had been quite frustrated during the twelve years of Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush; thus their expectations were very high as they saw Bill Clinton and Al Gore come into office despite Clinton’s rather uncertain record as an environmentalist during his years as governor of ...

Part Two: Presidents Having a Mixed Impact on the Environment

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Chapter 6 Dwight D. Eisenhower

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pp. 123-138

When Dwight Eisenhower became president, he exhibited what Fred Greenstein called a “hidden hand” political style where he preferred to work behind the scenes rather than get directly involved in partisan politics.1 As the leader of the Republican Party, he emphasized a commitment to what he called the “New Republicanism,” indicating early on that he would not further expand the role of the federal government. Among the character-...

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Chapter 7 Gerald Ford

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pp. 139-154

Gerald Ford could in many ways be thought of as a balancer, weighing the need to respond to environmental concerns, on the one hand, against the necessity to seek additional energy resources and to stabilize the economy, on the other. Yet more often than not, Ford would allow those other concerns to outweigh environmental needs. As he pointed out, “Even with a strong conservation program, we will still have to mine more coal, ...

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chapter 8 George H. W. Bush

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pp. 155-170

After serving two terms as vice president, George H. W. Bush1 vigorously campaigned in 1988 as the Republican Party nominee who intended to carry forward the Reagan agenda. However, he chose a different course regarding the environment. Bush 41 made a concerted effort to distance himself from Reagan’s environmental policies, since President Reagan had earned a reputation for being the only modern “anti-environmental” ...

Part Three: Presidents Having a Negative Impact on the Environment

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Chapter 9 Ronald Reagan

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pp. 173-188

Ronald Reagan entered office with an anti-environmental, prodevelopment orientation. Here was a president who could be characterized as acting contrary to bipartisan efforts to support the environment. As Shirley Anne Warshaw informs us, “Reagan had promised business and industry ‘regulatory relief’ during the campaign, asserting that federal regulation permeated every facet of communications, transportation, the workplace, ...

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Chapter 10 George W. Bush

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pp. 189-209

George W. Bush, like his father, began his quest for the presidency suggesting that he would be “eco-friendly.” Unlike his father, Bush 43 identified closely with Ronald Reagan, who pushed a decidedly prodevelopment, antiregulatory, probusiness agenda. He equated the environment with energy resources while downplaying the importance of other issues such as air and water quality, conservation, protection of wildlife, and global...

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Conclusion Comparing the Modern Presidents’ Environmental Policies

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pp. 210-240

We travel together, passengers in a little spaceship . . . preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.As one of the three major pillars of the U.S. political system, the American presidency is expected to fulfill public expectations in performing domestic and foreign policy making. Over the years, the American presidency has been concerned primarily with the economy, jobs, and foreign ...

Notes

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pp. 241-290

Index

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pp. 291-302


E-ISBN-13: 9781603442541
E-ISBN-10: 1603442545
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442039

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership