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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Running against the Grain

How Opposition Presidents Win the White House

By David A. Crockett

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Saving the Reagan Presidency

Trust Is the Coin of the Realm

By David M. Abshire; Foreword by Richard E. Neustadt

“. . . required reading for all presidents and White House aides to come . . . ”—from the foreword by Richard E. Neustadt What did the president know, and when did he know it? Once again, only a dozen years after Watergate, the nation faced these troubling questions. Would we see another president forced to resign or be impeached? Could our democracy survive another presidential scandal so soon? As the Iran-Contra affair unfolded, the nation waited tensely for answers. At this crucial moment, advisors to President Ronald Reagan called home the Ambassador to NATO, David Abshire, to serve in the cabinet as Special Counselor. His charge: to assure that a full investigation of the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for freeing American hostages and the subsequent channeling of those funds to Nicaraguan rebels be conducted expeditiously and transparently, to restore the confidence of the nation in the shaken Reagan presidency. Two decades later, David Abshire for the first time reveals the full behind-the-scenes story of his private meetings with the president, how he and his team conducted this crucial process, his alliance with Nancy Reagan, the role of the Tower Board, and how the Reagan presidency was saved. Abshire’s efforts helped Reagan fill the credibility gap created by revelation of the Iran-Contra scandal and thus restored the president’s power to lead the nation and its allies toward the end of the Cold War. His unique recollections show the inner workings of the Reagan White House in this critical period: the conflicts with the powerful Chief of Staff Donald Regan, the politically astute First Lady, the involvement of CIA Director William Casey, and Reagan’s triumph of personal character to overcome his indiscretion, a feat unmatched by Clinton or Nixon. Abshire’s story casts new light on the episode and draws important lessons about how presidents should respond to unfolding scandals to limit the threat not only to their own reputations but also to national confidence in democratic institutions.

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Scripted for Change

The Institutionalization of the American Presidency

By Victoria A. Farrar-Myers

Without a doubt, the institution of the presidency today is quite different from the one that existed throughout the early part of the nation’s history, despite only minimal revisions to its formal constitutional structure. The processes by which the institution of the presidency has developed have remained largely unexamined, however. Victoria A. Farrar-Myers offers a carefully crafted argument about how changes in presidential authority transform the institution. Her analysis tracks interactions between the president and Congress during the years 1881–1920 in three policy areas: the commitment of troops, the creation of administrative agencies, and the adoption of tariff policy. Farrar-Myers shows that Congress and the president have in fact “created a coordinated script that provides the basis of precedent for future interactions under similar circumstances.” Changes in presidential authority, she argues, “are the residual of everyday actions,” which create new shared understandings of expected behavior. As these understandings are reinforced over time, they become interwoven into the institution of the presidency itself. Farrar-Myers’s analysis will offer theoretical guidance for political scientists’ understanding of the development of presidential authority and the processes that drive the institutionalization of the presidency, and will provide historians with a nuanced understanding of the institution from the period between the end of Reconstruction and the Progressive era.

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Taking the Measure

The Presidency of George W. Bush

Donald R. Kelley

Some of today’s most prominent experts on the American presidency offer their perspectives, commentary, and analyses in this volume of studies, commissioned by the Fulbright Institute of International Relations and the Blair Center of Southern Politics and Culture, both at the University of Arkansas.

With a shared focus on Bush’s decision-making style, the impact of increasing partisanship, economic issues—especially after the 2008 financial meltdown—and, of course, the cumulative impact of 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the contributors link their observations and conclusions to broader political and policy-related questions. They also take the opportunity to compare the Bush presidency with that of his successor, Barack Obama, through the latter administration’s experience of disappointment in the 2010 congressional elections.

The debate over the Bush legacy will not soon end, and this volume does not presume to offer the definitive, final commentary. It does, however, bridge the gap between dispassionate academic commentary written essentially for scholars and the sort of informed and unbiased analysis written for a larger public audience, contributing to the public understanding of our recent national experience. Taking the Measure: The Presidency of George W. Bush contributes significantly to the beginnings of careful, systematic consideration of the George W. Bush presidency.

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The Unitary Executive and the Modern Presidency

Edited by Ryan J. Barilleaux and Christopher S. Kelley

During his first term in office, Pres. George W. Bush made reference to the "unitary executive" ninety-five times, as part of signing statements, proclamations, and executive orders.  Pres. Barack Obama's actions continue to make issues of executive power as timely as ever.
Unitary executive theory stems from interpretation of the constitutional assertion that the president is vested with the "executive power" of the United States. In this groundbreaking collection of studies, eleven presidential scholars examine for the first time the origins, development, use, and future of this theory.

The Unitary Executive and the Modern Presidency
examines how the unitary executive theory became a recognized constitutional theory of presidential authority, how it has evolved, how it has been employed by presidents of both parties, and how its use has affected and been affected by U.S. politics. This book also examines the constitutional, political, and even psychological impact of the last thirty years of turmoil in the executive branch and the ways that controversy has altered both the exercise and the public’s view of presidential power.

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White House Politics and the Environment

Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

Byron W. Daynes and Glen Sussman

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.

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White House Politics and the Environment

Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

Byron W. Daynes and Glen Sussman

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.

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White House World

Transitions, Organization, and Office Operations

Edited by Martha Joynt Kumar and Terry Sullivan

When George W. Bush and his staff finally got word he had won the 2000 presidential election, they had only thirty-seven days left to shift from campaign mode to governing. Fortunately for the Bush team, a group of presidency scholars had gathered and provided them with a wealth of substantive analysis about presidential transitions and White House operations. The project was sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts and carried out by members of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association. With information covering six administrations and interviews with seventy-five former senior White House officials as well as with President Gerald Ford, the White House Interview Program proved an important resource for the new occupants of the West Wing. The White House World gathers and digests our material provided to incoming White House staff. Its individual chapters contain a veritable “how to” manual: information on the dynamics of White House operations; the functions of seven critical White House offices; and the actual transition of President Bush. This unique volume describes what it is like to work in the White House—details known to few working outside Pennsylvania Avenue. It also features organization charts for the offices analyzed, the first comprehensive look at how different administrations have structured these offices. Plus, in a final section, scholars and Bush Administration insiders provide brief views of George W. Bush’s unique transition into office. In addition to Professors Kumar and Sullivan, scholars contributing to the volume include: Peri E. Arnold, MaryAnne Borrelli, John P. Burke, George C. Edwards III, John Fortier, Karen Hult, Nancy Kassop, John H. Kessel, G. Calvin Mackenzie, Norman Ornstein, Bradley H. Patterson, Jr., James P. Pfiffner, Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, Charles Walcott, Shirley Anne Warshaw, Stephen J. Wayne. In the section on the Bush transition, we also have an essay by a transition insider. Clay Johnson, Executive Director of the Bush-Cheney Transition and now director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, provides a perspective on the transition of one who was there and involved in decisions relating to the start up of the administration. For those interested in the functioning of the Presidency—whether political actors, interested observers, or scholars-this book is a must-have. It tells the real story of who does what, who knows what, and how selected White House offices function.

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Woodrow Wilson, the Great War, and the Fourth Estate

Woodrow Wilson, the Great War, and the Fourth Estate

James Startt

James D. Startt previously explored Woodrow Wilson’s relationship with the press during his rise to political prominence. Now, Startt returns to continue the story, picking up with the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and tracing history through the Senate’s ultimate rejection in 1920 of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.

Woodrow Wilson, the Great War, and the Fourth Estate delves deeply into the president’s evolving relations with the press and its influence on and importance to the events of the time. Startt navigates the complicated relationship that existed between one of the country’s most controversial leaders and its increasingly ruthless corps of journalists.

The portrait of Wilson that emerges here is one of complexity—a skilled politician whose private nature and notorious grit often tarnished his rapport with the press, and an influential leader whose passionate vision just as often inspired journalists to his cause.

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