Texas A&M University Press

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

Pfiffner, James P.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

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

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Policy by Other Means

Alternative Adoption by Presidents

By Steven A. Shull

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress bears responsibility for establishing national policy through legislation, but in recent years that power has often been eclipsed by presidents adopting public policy by other means. Steven A. Shull offers a systematic study of the relative importance of four tools presidents use to create policy without going through Congress: budgeting, executive orders, executive agreements, and commitment of troops. Using both statistical analyses of recent presidents= use of alternative policy means and case studies of each tool, Shull investigates the factors that affect whether and when the chief executive becomes, in effect, the chief policy maker, budgeter, or diplomat. He examines individual, institutional, and environmental variables, as well as several controls that may influence the choice of unilateral or alternative policy actions. Shull’s quantitative analyses help to illustrate not only the trends over time in the independent actions of presidents but also the complexity of the factors that influence those trends. His data and statistical techniques point toward confirmation of some hypotheses that have been held about the exercise of presidential powers and the disproof of others. Shull demonstrates the usefulness of applying quantitative methods, informed by theory and the literature, to the study of the office. Scholars of the presidency, of executive-legislative relations, and of public policy will gain important insight into previously under-studied aspects of presidential power from Shull=s careful analysis of unilateral and other alternative policy adoption.

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Politics of the President's Wife

MaryAnne Borrelli

As the West Wing has grown in power and organizational complexity during the modern presidency, so has the East Wing, office home to the First Lady of the United States. This groundbreaking work by MaryAnne Borrelli offers both theoretical and substantive insight into behind-the-scenes developments from the time of Lou Henry Hoover to the unfolding tenure of Michelle Robinson Obama. Political scientists and historians have recognized the personal influence the First Lady can exercise with her husband, and they have noted the moral, ethical, and sometimes policy leadership certain presidents’ wives have offered. Nonetheless, scholars and commentators alike have treated the personal relationship and the professional relationship as overlapping. Borrelli offers a compelling counter-perspective: that the president’s wife exercises power intrinsic to her role within the administration. Like others within the presidency, she has sometimes presented the president’s views to constituents and sometimes presented constituents’ views to the president, thus taking on a representative function within the system. In mediating president-constituent relationships, she has given a historical and social frame to the presidency that has enhanced its symbolic representation; she has served as a gender role model, enriching descriptive representation in the executive branch; and she has participated in policy initiatives to strengthen an administration’s substantive representation. These contributions have been controversial, as might be predicted for a gender outsider, but they have unquestionably made the First Lady a representative of and to the president and, by extension, the president’s administration.

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The Politics of the President's Wife

MaryAnne Borrelli

As the West Wing has grown in power and organizational complexity during the modern presidency, so has the East Wing, office home to the First Lady of the United States. This groundbreaking work by MaryAnne Borrelli offers both theoretical and substantive insight into behind-the-scenes developments from the time of Lou Henry Hoover to the unfolding tenure of Michelle Robinson Obama.
Political scientists and historians have recognized the personal influence the First Lady can exercise with her husband, and they have noted the moral, ethical, and sometimes policy leadership certain presidents’ wives have offered. Nonetheless, scholars and commentators alike have treated the personal relationship and the professional relationship as overlapping.
Borrelli offers a compelling counter-perspective: that the president’s wife exercises power intrinsic to her role within the administration. Like others within the presidency, she has sometimes presented the president’s views to constituents and sometimes presented constituents’ views to the president, thus taking on a representative function within the system. In mediating president-constituent relationships, she has given a historical and social frame to the presidency that has enhanced its symbolic representation; she has served as a gender role model, enriching descriptive representation in the executive branch; and she has participated in policy initiatives to strengthen an administration’s substantive representation. These contributions have been controversial, as might be predicted for a gender outsider, but they have unquestionably made the First Lady a representative of and to the president and, by extension, the president’s administration.

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Presidency, Congress, and Divided Government

A Postwar Assessment

By Richard S. Conley

Can presidents hope to be effective in policy making when Congress is ruled by the other party? Political scientist Richard Conley brings to this crucial discussion a fresh perspective. He argues persuasively that the conditions of divided government have changed in recent years, and he applies a rigorous methodology that allows the testing of a number of important assumptions about party control of the legislative process and the role of the president. Conley demonstrates that recent administrations have faced a very different playing field than those in the earlier post-war years because of such critical developments in electoral politics as decreasing presidential coattails and the lack of presidential popularity in opposition members’ districts. Moreover, he identifies several changes in the institutional setting in Congress that have affected both the legislative success rates of presidents’ programs and the strategies presidents pursue. These institutional factors include more assertive legislative majorities, changes in leadership structure, and increased party cohesion in voting. Conley uses both case studies and sophisticated time-series regression analyses to examine the floor success of presidential initiatives, the strategies presidents use in working with the legislature, and the use of veto power to achieve presidential aims. Scholars of the presidency and those interested in the larger American political process will find in this book both food for thought and a model of analytic sophistication.

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Presidency Upstaged

The Public Leadership of George H. W. Bush

Lori Cox Han

A president who distances himself from stagecraft will find himself upstaged.   George H. W. Bush sought to “stay the course” in terms of policy while distancing himself from the public relations strategies employed during the administration of Ronald Reagan, his predecessor. But Bush discovered during his one-term presidency that a strategy of policy continuity coupled with mediocre communication skills “does not make for a strong public image as an effective and active leader in the White House", as author and scholar Lori Cox Han demonstrates in A Presidency Upstaged.   Incorporating extensive archival research from the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University—including documents only recently available through requests made under the Freedom of Information Act—Han thoroughly examines the public presidency of George H. W. Bush. Han analyzes how communication strategies, relationships with the press, and public opinion polling shaped and defined his image as a leader. The research for this study also includes content analysis of press coverage (both print and television) and major public addresses during the Bush administration.   "Lori Cox Han skillfully uses archival materials, interviews and leading academic studies to present a thorough analysis of George H.W. Bush's public presidency. Her book is a valuable addition to the literature on presidential communications, media, and politics, and also stands as a very useful resource on the events of the first Bush presidency."-Mark Rozell, professor of Public Policy, George Mason University and author, Power and Prudence

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Presidential Term Limits in American History

Power, Principles, and Politics

By Michael J. Korzi

This study explains the importance of presidential tenure to the development of the American exclusive and political history and considers its saliency today. In it Michael Korzi lays out the major theoretical issues that frame the history and debates on this issue and traces them forward from the perspective of the founding generation, examining the tenures of royal governors and state governors after them, and then the debates over tenure at the Constitutional Convention. It is common knowledge that the decisions of Washington and especially Jefferson to step down after serving two terms as president, established the "two term" tradition. Korzi looks behind those decisions to consider the challenges to that tradition by those, on the one hand, who preferred a one term presidency and those, on the other, who advocated presidents serving more than two terms. He then recounts the "perfect storm" that allowed Franklin Roosevelt to shatter the two-term tradition in 1940. This election is critical not just because the two term tradition falls but because the arguments surrounding FDR’s election to a third term would reinforce tensions within the American political value system that have been prevalent since the founding. The Hamiltonian argument for leadership in a time of crisis would prevail, but Jeffersonian concerns about a consolidation of executive power would also strongly resonate. Korzi shows that in their quest to keep Roosevelt in office, FDR and his supporters made critical errors of judgment in 1943–44. Not only did Roosevelt pursue a fourth term against long odds that he would survive it, but he put little effort into the selection and policy education of Vice President Truman, who by his own admission was woefully unprepared to assume the presidency when the president died in April 1945. Korzi's analysis offers a strong challenge to Roosevelt biographers who have generally whitewashed this aspect of his presidency and decision making. In an extended analysis of one of the least-discussed amendments to the Constitution, Korzi situates the 22nd Amendment within the long history of debates and reservations about executive tenure. He shows that, while the amendment was indeed partly vindictive and political, Republicans were at the same time making arguments in keeping with a strong theoretical strain in American political thought, one to which they, as a party, had largely subscribed throughout their history. Finally, Korzi considers the implications of the 22nd Amendment for contemporary politics, addressing the conventional wisdom that presidents become "lame ducks" upon winning a second term, key reform proposals such as a six-year, one-term presidency, and the proposal for "rotation" (that is, a president being eligible to serve only two out of any four terms). The study concludes with an affirmation of the two-term rule, arguing that, despite some serious drawbacks, it offers a fitting balance for a nation with a conflicted history of restraining as well as enabling executive power.

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Presidents and Terminal Logic Behavior

Term Limits and Executive Action in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina

Genevieve M. Kehoe

Presidents of nations with constitutionally imposed term limits are often viewed as growing weaker as they approach the end of their time in office. However, in this important new study, political scientist Genevieve M. Kehoe argues that because such chief executives are free from reelection constraint and often still enthusiastic to create a legacy by pursuing bold projects, they may accomplish significant initiatives. Kehoe has developed a concept for this which she calls “Terminal Logic Behavior” (TLB).

Presidents and Terminal Logic Behavior: Term Limits and Executive Action in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina provides both case studies and quantitative evidence to show how US presidents of the last three decades have utilized decrees on foreign, domestic, and environment policy during their final months in office. She finds a systematic pattern of decree use consistent with the mark of TLB in a most unexpected place—presidents’ use of national emergency powers. In a careful comparative analysis, she also finds support for her argument in the Argentinean and Brazilian experience of the same period.

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Prosecution among Friends

Presidents, Attorneys General, and Executive Branch Wrongdoing

David Alistair Yalof

Can Justice Department officials effectively investigate wrongdoing within their own administration without relying on an independent counsel? In Prosecution among Friends political scientist David Alistair Yalof explores the operation of due process as it is navigated within the office of the attorney general and its various subdivisions. The attorney general holds a politically appointed position within the administration and yet, as the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer, is still charged with holding colleagues and superiors legally accountable. That duty extends to allegations against those who had a hand in appointing the attorney general in the first place: Even the President of the United States may be enmeshed in a Justice Department investigation overseen by the attorney general and other department officials.? To assess this fundamental problem, Yalof examines numerous cases of executive branch corruption—real or alleged—that occurred over the course of four decades beginning with the Nixon administration and extending up through the second Bush administration. All of these cases—Watergate, Whitewater, and others—were identified and reported to varying degrees in the press and elsewhere. Some garnered significant attention; others drew only limited interest at the time. In all such cases the attorney general and other officials within the executive branch were charged with initially assessing the matter and determining the proper road for moving forward. Only a handful of the cases resulted in the appointment of a statutorily protected independent counsel.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Prosecution among Friends

Presidents, Attorneys General, and Executive Branch Wrongdoing

David Alistair Yalof

Can Justice Department officials effectively investigate wrongdoing within their own administration without relying on an independent counsel?

In Prosecution among Friends political scientist David Alistair Yalof explores the operation of due process as it is navigated within the office of the attorney general and its various subdivisions. The attorney general holds a politically appointed position within the administration and yet, as the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer, is still charged with holding colleagues and superiors legally accountable. That duty extends to allegations against those who had a hand in appointing the attorney general in the first place: Even the President of the United States may be enmeshed in a Justice Department investigation overseen by the attorney general and other department officials.

To assess this fundamental problem, Yalof examines numerous cases of executive branch corruption—real or alleged—that occurred over the course of four decades beginning with the Nixon administration and extending up through the second Bush administration. All of these cases—Watergate, Whitewater, and others—were identified and reported to varying degrees in the press and elsewhere. Some garnered significant attention; others drew only limited interest at the time. In all such cases the attorney general and other officials within the executive branch were charged with initially assessing the matter and determining the proper road for moving forward. Only a handful of the cases resulted in the appointment of a statutorily protected independent counsel.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Provisional Pulpit

Modern Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion

By Brandon Rottinghaus

The cornerstone of the public presidency is the ability of the White House to influence, shape, and even manipulate public opinion. Ultimately, although much has been written about presidential leadership of opinion, we are still left with many questions pertaining to the success of presidential opinion leadership efforts throughout the modern presidency. What is still missing is a systematic, sequential approach to describe empirical trends in presidential leadership of public opinion in order to expand on important scholarly queries, to resolve empirical disputes in the literature, and to check the accuracy of conventional political wisdom on how, when, and under what conditions presidents lead public opinion. In The Provisional Pulpit, Brandon Rottinghaus develops a simple theory of presidential leadership, arguing that presidential messages are more likely to be received if there are fewer countervailing agents or messages to contradict the president’s message. He concludes, based upon the findings presented in this book, that the “bully pulpit” is largely provisional for modern presidents. The more the president can avoid the political echo chamber associated with partisan battles or communications, the better the chance the president has to lead public opinion. The Provisional Pulpit adds an important layer of understanding to the issue of how and under what conditions presidents lead public opinion. All modern presidents clearly attempt to lead public opinion; often, due to factors outside their control, they fail. This book is an exploration into how and when they succeed.

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