More featuring presidents of the United States

This comprehensive two-volume guide is the definitive source for researchers seeking an understanding of those who have occupied the White House and on the institution of the U.S. presidency. Readers turn Guide to the Presidency and the Executive Branch for its wealth of facts and analytical chapters that explain the structure, powers, and operations of the office and the president’s relationship with Congress and the Supreme Court.

The fifth edition of this acclaimed reference completes coverage of the George W. Bush presidency, the 2008 election, and the first 3 years of the presidency of Barack Obama. This includes coverage of their handling of the economic crisis, wars abroad, and Obama’s healthcare initiatives. The work is divided into eight distinct subject areas covering every aspect of the U.S. presidency, and all chapters in each subject area have been revised and updated:

Origins and Development of the Presidency, including constitutional beginnings, history of the presidency and vice presidency, and presidential ratings

Selection and Removal of the President, including the electoral process, a chronology of presidential elections, removal of the president and vice president, and succession

Powers of the Presidency, including the unilateral powers of the presidency and those as chief of state, chief administrator, legislative leader, commander in chief, and chief economist

The President, the Public, and the Parties, including presidential appearances, the president and political parties, the president and the news media, the presidency and pop culture, public support and opinion, and the president and interest groups

The Presidency and the Executive Branch, including the White House Office, the Office of the Vice President, supporting organizations, the cabinet and executive departments, presidential commissions, and executive branch housing, pay, and perquisites

Chief Executive and Federal Government, including the president and Congress, the president and the Supreme Court, and the president and the bureaucracy

Presidents, their Families, and Life in the White House and Beyond, including the daily life of the president, the first lady, the first family, friends of presidents, and life after the presidency

Biographies of the Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies

This new volume also features more than 200 textboxes, tables, and figures. Major revisions cover the supporting White House organizations and the president’s role as chief economist. Additional reference materials include explanatory headnotes, as well as hundreds of photographs with detailed captions.

Helen Thomas has covered the administrations of ten presidents in a career spanning nearly sixty years. She is known for her famous press conference closing line, "Thank you, Mr. President," but here she trades deference for directness. Thomas and veteran journalist Craig Crawford hold nothing back as they use former occupants of the White House to provide a witty, history-rich lesson plan of what it takes to be a good president.

Combining sharp observation and dozens of examples from the fi rst presidency through the forty-fourth, the authors outline the qualities, attitudes, and political and personal choices that make for the most successful leaders, and the least. Calvin Coolidge, who hired the fi rst professional speechwriter in the White House, illuminates the importance of choosing words wisely. William Howard Taft, notorious for being so fat he broke his White House bathtub, shows how not to cultivate a strong public image. John F. Kennedy, who could handle the press corps and their questions with aplomb, shows how to establish a rapport with the press and open oneself up to the public. Ronald Reagan, who acknowledged the Iran-Contra affair in a television address, demonstrates how telling hard truths can earn forgiveness and even public trust.

By gleaning lessons from past leaders, Thomas and Crawford not only highlight those that future presidents should follow but also pinpoint what Americans should look for and expect in their president. Part history lesson, part presidential primer, Listen Up, Mr. President is smart, entertaining, and exceedingly edifying.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution divided the federal government's powers among three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. Their goal was to prevent tyranny by ensuring that none of the branches could govern alone. While numerous presidents have sought to escape these constitutional constraints, the administration of George W. Bush went farther than most. It denied the writ of habeas corpus to individuals deemed to be enemy combatants. It suspended the Geneva Convention and allowed or encouraged the use of harsh interrogation methods amounting to torture. It ordered the surveillance of Americans without obtaining warrants as required by law. And it issued signing statements declaring that the president does not have the duty to faithfully execute hundreds of provisions in the laws he has signed.

Power Play analyzes the Bush presidency's efforts to expand executive power in these four domains and puts them into constitutional and historical perspective. Pfiffner explores the evolution of Anglo-American thinking about executive power and individual rights. He highlights the lessons the Constitution's framers drew from such philosophers as Locke and Montesquieu, as well as English constitutional history. He documents the ways in which the Bush administration's policies have undermined the separation of powers, and he shows how these practices have imperiled the rule of law.

Following 9/11, the Bush presidency engaged in a two-front offensive. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the administration aggressively prosecuted the "war on terror." At home, it targeted constraints on the power of the executive. Power Play lays bare the extent of this second campaign and explains why it will continue to threaten the future of republican government if the other two branches do not assert their own constitutional prerogatives.

The period from Election Day to Inauguration Day in America seems impossibly short. Newly elected U.S. presidents have less than eleven weeks to construct a new government composed of supporters and strangers, hailing from all parts of the nation. This unique and daunting process always involves at least some mistakes—in hiring, perhaps, or in policy priorities, or organizational design. Early blunders can carry serious consequences well into a president's term; minimizing them from the outset is critical. In What Do We Do Now? Stephen Hess draws from his long experience as a White House staffer and presidential adviser to show what can be done to make presidential transitions go smoothly. Here is a workbook to guide future chief executives, decision by decision, through the minefield of transition. You'll have to start at the beginning, settling on a management style and knowing how to "arrange all the boxes." Something as seemingly mundane as parceling office space can be consequential—hence the inclusion of a proposed White House organizational chart and floor plans of the West Wing. What qualities are needed for each job, and where are the best candidates for those positions most likely to be found? How can you construct a cabinet that "looks like America"? What Do We Do Now? is your indispensable guide through the thicket of these decisions. There are small decisions, too. You'll have to pick a desk—photos of the choices are included. Which presidential portraits should hang in the Oval Office? Which ones have previous presidents chosen? And when it comes time to write an inaugural address, what should be the content, theme, and tone? It's all here in the presidential transition workbook—don't leave for Washington without it. This concise volume is sure to be a valuable resource for the president and team of advisers as they attempt to herd cats into an effective government. o W e Do Now? is alsis also a delightful read for anyone interested in exactly how one goes about being the president of the United States.
Trace the opening rounds of the Trump administration: highlighting the 2016 election, transition, inauguration, and first one hundred days.

Never losing sight of the foundations of the office, The Politics of the Presidency maintains a balance between historical context, the current political environment, and contemporary scholarship on the executive branch, providing a solid foundation for any presidency course. In addition to offering you a comprehensive framework for understanding the expectations, powers, and limitations of the executive branch, the Revised Ninth Edition uses the most up-to-date coverage and analysis of the 2016 election and Trump administration to demonstrate key concepts.

New to the Revised Ninth Edition:

A new chapter dedicated to the Trump transition and first one hundred days examines important topics such as the immigration ban and other executive orders; efforts at deregulation; the targeted military strikes in Syria; and the war on the intelligence community and the deconstruction of the administrative state. Recent congressional relations analyzed, including the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch after Senate Republicans employed the “nuclear option” and took away the opportunity to filibuster Supreme Court nominees; efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare; fiscal 2017 and 2018 budget negotiations; and congressional investigations of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, his firing of FBI director James Comey, and the appointment of a special counsel in the matter. An assessment of the public presidency reviews Trump’s approval ratings, communications strategies, and media coverage. Discussions of Trump’s leadership challenges in a polarized age explain the difficulties of unifying a nation after a bitter election, launching an administration, and structuring the executive branch.
As the 2016 election campaign attests, the Grand Old Party—once moderate and even magnanimous—has fallen into a prison of its own making when it comes to presidential politics. After the debacle of the George W. Bush presidency and the rout of the Romney candidacy, Republicans said they must broaden their base, become more inclusive, and return to the warmth of Reagan idealism. Instead, what we have is a bitter, backbiting, and race- and gender-baiting campaign with a candidate more exclusive than any before him. How did we get here and how do we get out? This book tracks the modern history of the Republican Party and shows its decline, even while shining a light on its high points and urging it back in a positive direction. Every reader interested in the US presidential election, the primary process, and the clash of politics and culture will find something enlightening in John White’s exposition. Above all, he puts the Age of Trump into perspective, looking back as well as forward in his analysis.

Who is this book for?

Students of American government, political parties, campaigns & elections

Scholars in political science and political history

General readers interested in the current presidential campaign and the health of American democracy

Features

1. Current.

Anticipates the current state of the Republican Party, at odds with itself as much as with the American public. Includes 2014 midterm election data with an eye toward the 2016 presidential contest.

2. A broad historical sweep. Covers a broad historical period from the 1950s (Eisenhower era) to the present, with a strong emphasis on the Reagan years which represent the GOP at its zenith.

3. Efficient use of polling and demographic data. Takes a broad swath of historical data (including polling data) and presents it in a condensed, readable format. At the same time, the reader is not inundated by polling and demographic data.

4. Bold. Any reader will come away from this book understanding that the GOP predicament is likely to last for some time to come. The problems Republicans face are both intellectual and political. They are not likely to be solved by any one candidate or election and will be compounded and confounded by the events of 2016.

The Presidency has always been an implausible—some might even say an impossible—job. Part of the problem is that the challenges of the presidency and the expectations Americans have for their presidents have skyrocketed, while the president's capacity and power to deliver on what ails the nations has diminished. Indeed, as citizens we continue to aspire and hope for greatness in our only nationally elected office. The problem of course is that the demand for great presidents has always exceeded the supply. As a result, Americans are adrift in a kind of Presidential Bermuda Triangle suspended between the great presidents we want and the ones we can no longer have.

The End of Greatness explores the concept of greatness in the presidency and the ways in which it has become both essential and detrimental to America and the nation's politics. Miller argues that greatness in presidents is a much overrated virtue. Indeed, greatness is too rare to be relevant in our current politics, and driven as it is by nation-encumbering crisis, too dangerous to be desirable.
Our preoccupation with greatness in the presidency consistently inflates our expectations, skews the debate over presidential performance, and drives presidents to misjudge their own times and capacity. And our focus on the individual misses the constraints of both the office and the times, distorting how Presidents actually lead. In wanting and expecting our leaders to be great, we have simply made it impossible for them to be good. The End of Greatness takes a journey through presidential history, helping us understand how greatness in the presidency was achieved, why it's gone, and how we can better come to appreciate the presidents we have, rather than being consumed with the ones we want.

The relation of White House assistants to the president, their appropriate role in the governmental process, and the most effective means for organizing and managing the White House have been subjects of both public concern and academic dispute. White House Operations addresses these and related questions by providing the first thorough analysis of how the thirty-sixth president managed his staff. By grounding their study in original documents from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, the authors lift the veil of secrecy that clouds the inner workings of the White House. The result is an insightful elaboration of the complex, extensive, and diverse roles of White House aides—and av fascinating look at such key White House figures as McGeorge Bundy, Joseph Califano, Bill Moyers, George Reedy, Walt Rostow, Lawrence O’Brien, and Johnson himself.

This exploration of Johnson’s highly personalized White House operations provides far-reaching implications for the nature of effective presidential management. The comprehensive analysis of the range of work done under Johnson and the unique nature of White House assistance leads the authors to a strong and vigorous assertion for a positive role for the White House staff that clashes sharply with the thrust of many recommendations for reorganizing the presidency. Redford and McCulley convincingly demonstrate that management of the White House staff and other parts of the president’s advisory system will remain crucial for successful presidential performance.

The book is the fifth volume in a series designed to provide a comprehensive administrative history of the Johnson presidency. The book will be of interest to the informed general reader, presidential scholars, political scientists, U.S. historians, and students of public management and will be an important addition to academic library collections.

There is no shortage of opinions on the legacy that George W. Bush will leave as 43rd President of the United States. Recognizing that Bush the Younger has been variously described as dimwitted, opportunistic, innovative, and bold, it would be presumptuous to draw any hard and fast conclusions about how history will view him. Nevertheless, it is well within academia's ability to begin to make preliminary judgments by weighing the evidence we do have and testing assumptions. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the initially successful military campaign in Afghanistan, Bush and his administration enjoyed nearly unprecedented popularity. But after failures in Iraq and in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Bush's approval ratings plummeted. Guided by a new framework, Judging Bush boldly takes steps to evaluate the highs and lows of the Bush legacy according to four types of competence: strategic, political, tactical, and moral. It offers a first look at the man, his domestic and foreign policies, and the executive office's relationship to the legislative and judicial branches from a distinguished and ideologically diverse set of award-winning political scientists and White House veterans. Topics include Bush's decision-making style, the management of the executive branch, the role and influence of Dick Cheney, elections and party realignment, the Bush economy, Hurricane Katrina, No Child Left Behind, and competing treatments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Contributors include Lara M. Brown, David B. Cohen, Jeffrey E. Cohen, Laura Conley, Jack Covarrubias, John J. DiIulio, Jr., William A. Galston, Frederick M. Hess, Karen M. Hult, Lori A. Johnson, Robert G. Kaufman, Anne M. Khademian, Lawrence J. Korb, Patrick McGuinn, Michael Moreland, Costas Panagopoulos, James P. Pfiffner, Richard E. Redding, Neil Reedy, Andrew Rudalevige, Charles E. Walcott, and Shirley Anne Warshaw.
A governor's mansion is often the last stop for politicians who plan to move into the White House. Before Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, four of his last five predecessors had been governors. Executive experience at the state level informs individual presidencies, and, as Saladin M. Ambar argues, the actions of governors-turned-presidents changed the nature of the presidency itself long ago. How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency is the first book to explicitly credit governors with making the presidency what it is today.

By examining the governorships of such presidential stalwarts as Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, political scientist Ambar shows how gubernatorial experience made the difference in establishing modern presidential practice. The book also delves into the careers of Wisconsin's Bob La Follette and California's Hiram Johnson, demonstrating how these governors reshaped the presidency through their activism. As Ambar reminds readers, governors as far back as Samuel J. Tilden of New York, who ran against Rutherford Hayes in the controversial presidential election of 1876, paved the way for a more assertive national leadership. Ambar explodes the idea that the modern presidency began after 1945, instead placing its origins squarely in the Progressive Era.

This innovative study uncovers neglected aspects of the evolution of the nation's executive branch, placing American governors at the heart of what the presidency has become—for better or for worse.

Ideas and the presidency flirt with each other, but can they really get along? President Clinton had a romance with big ideas. He intently cultivated intellectuals, seducing them with his characteristic charm and with the promise of real influence on the political stage. Yet most often he disappointed the big thinkers whose advice he sought.

Benjamin Barber was first invited to Camp David in 1994, along with other prominent members of the academic community, to participate in a "seminar" with President Clinton on the future of Democratic ideas and ideals. Afterwards, he became a steady informal adviser to the White House. For a politically committed professor like Barber, the opportunity was exhilarating—here was an opportunity to put ideas into action, to link ideas to power. The result was enlightening, if unexpected. The most unpredictable factor was the president himself: a man of astonishing intellectual gifts, a consummate listener and synthesizer of ideas, who nonetheless failed to present a stirring progressive vision or even to craft a memorable speech.

With great perceptiveness, wit, and élan, Barber provides a startling meditation on truth and power—and the truth of power, which is the responsibility of the elected not to an idea but to the electorate. He identifies the fault lines that future progressive candidates must straddle if they are to win—and the gift they must have, if they are to be great, of calling forth the best in their fellow citizens. In the end, Barber give us a unique portrait of our compelling and maddening ex-president, and the hopes and disillusionments he represents.
It’s one of the hallmarks of American democracy: on inauguration day, the departing president heeds the will of the people and hands the keys to power to a successor. The transition from one administration to the next sounds simple, even ceremonial. But in 2009, as President George W. Bush briefed President-elect Barack Obama about the ongoing wars and plummeting economy he’d soon inherit, the Bush team revealed that they were grappling with a late-breaking threat to the presidency: U.S. intelligence sources believed that a terror group with links to Al Qaeda planned to attack the National Mall during the inaugural festivities. Although this violence never materialized, its possibility made it clear that well-laid contingency plans were essential.

Political scientist Martha Joynt Kumar uncovered this secret peril while interviewing senior Bush and Obama advisers for her latest book. In Before the Oath, Kumar documents how two presidential teams—one outgoing, the other incoming—must forge trusting alliances in order to help the new president succeed in his or her first term.

Kumar enjoyed unprecedented access to several incumbent and candidate transition team members, and she combines in-depth scholarship with one-on-one interviews to put readers squarely behind the scenes. Using the Bush-Obama handoff as a lens through which to examine the presidential transition process, Kumar interweaves examples from previous administrations as far back as Truman-Eisenhower. Her subjects describe in vivid detail the challenges of sowing campaign ideals across a sprawling executive branch as Congress, the media, and external events press in. Kumar’s lively account of lessons learned and pitfalls encountered during past presidential transitions provides an essential road map for presidential aspirants and their advisers, as well as campaign workers, federal employees, and political appointees.

-- Dan G. Blair, National Academy of Public Administration
We still imagine ourselves a nation of laws, not of men. This is not merely an article of faith but a bedrock principle of the United States Constitution. Our founding compact provides a remedy against rulers supplanting the rule of law, and Andrew C. McCarthy makes a compelling case for using it.

The authors of the Constitution saw practical reasons to place awesome powers in a single chief executive, who could act quickly and decisively in times of peril. Yet they well understood that unchecked power in one person’s hands posed a serious threat to liberty, the defining American imperative. Much of the debate at the Philadelphia convention therefore centered on how to stop a rogue executive who became a law unto himself.

The Framers vested Congress with two checks on presidential excess: the power of the purse and the power of impeachment. They are potent remedies, and there are no others.

It is a straightforward matter to establish that President Obama has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a term signifying maladministration and abuses of power by holders of high public trust. But making the legal case is insufficient for successful impeachment, leading to removal from office. Impeachment is a political matter and hinges on public opinion.

In Faithless Execution, McCarthy weighs the political dynamics as he builds a case, assembling a litany of abuses that add up to one overarching offense: the president’s willful violation of his solemn oath to execute the laws faithfully. The “fundamental transformation” he promised involves concentrating power into his own hands by flouting law—statutes, judicial rulings, the Constitution itself—and essentially daring the other branches of government to stop him. McCarthy contends that our elected representative are duty-bound to take up the dare.
Few predicted the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the US presidency, a development with a huge impact on international relations, trade, environmental policy, and the very possibility of liberal democracy itself. Those of us committed to democratic values, truth, and human rights, feel compelled to resist. And yet the fight against Trump is hardly a united front.

In this collection of essays, Jeffrey C. Isaac argues that the threat posed to liberal democracy by illiberal forces today, from Trump and his authoritarian counterparts in France, Hungary, Poland, and Turkey, warrants a strong democratic response, centered on both defending and extending the core commitments of liberal democracy. Isaac articulates a politics that bridges the gap between liberalism and leftism, pointing the way toward more productive disagreements and more meaningful, effective alliances.

To acknowledge the challenges of globalization, to confront fear of the foreign and the foreigner, and to defend truth and the deep meaning of words: that is to be for liberal democracy and #AgainstTrump.

Published with Public Seminar. Public Seminar is an online publishing project of The New School. PS publishes articles that provide useful, constructive, illuminating or thought-provoking contributions to the conversation of the times. Using the broad resources of social research, PS seeks to provoke critical and informed discussion by any means necessary in order to confront the fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day.

Jeffrey C. Isaac is James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of many books, including Arendt, Camus, and Modern Rebellion, Democracy in Dark Times, and The Poverty of Progressivism, and is a Contributing Editor at Dissent and Public Seminar.

Pres. Jimmy Carter issued last-minute rules immediately before leaving the White House, creating frustration for the incoming Reagan Administration. As George W. Bush prepared to cede the Oval Office to Barack Obama almost three decades later, he ordered more than thirty last-minute policy changes, quickly finalizing the rules before the Obama Administration could overturn them.

Presidents are able to bypass Congress and quietly initiate significant policy changes by using the executive branch’s authority to alter existing statutes. In Eleventh Hour: The Politics of Policy Initiatives in Presidential Transitions, David M. Shafie analyzes how and why five successive presidents have done so at the end of their administrations, offering important new insights for the growing study of the administrative presidency.

After assessing transcripts of speeches and staff communications, such as memos from the White House Domestic Policy offices, memos from selected regulatory agencies and the Office of Management and Budget, as well as records in the Clinton, Reagan, George (H. W.) Bush, and Carter Presidential Libraries, Shafie also conducted in-depth interviews with administration personnel charged with formulating and implementing the executive rule changes. Based on his research, Shafie explains end-of-term rulemaking as an instrument of presidential prerogative power by mapping its evolution through five recent presidential transitions and exploring its effectiveness, consequences, and implications.

Giving consideration to recent efforts to limit interregnum rulemaking and to overturn specific late-term rules, as well as evaluating the prospects for future presidents to favor this instrument to advance their unfinished domestic policy priorities, Eleventh Hour offers groundbreaking research into the uses of executive power.
Shrouded in anonymity, protected by executive privilege, but with no legal or constitutional authority of their own, the 5,900 people in 125 offices collectively known as the "White House staff" assist the chief executive by shaping, focusing, and amplifying presidential policy. Why is the staff so large? How is it organized and what do those 125 offices actually do? In this sequel to his critically appraised 1988 book, Ring of Power, Bradley H. Patterson Jr.—a veteran of three presidential administrations—takes us inside the closely guarded turf of the White House. In a straightforward narrative free of partisan or personal agendas, Patterson provides an encyclopedic description of the contemporary White House staff and its operations. He illustrates the gradual shift in power from the cabinet departments to the staff and, for the first time in presidential literature, presents an accounting for the total budget of the modern White House. White House staff members control everything from the monumental to the mundane. They prepare the president for summit conferences, but also specify who sits on Air Force One. They craft the language for the president to use on public occasions—from a State of the Union Address to such "Rose Garden rubbish" as the pre-Thanksgiving pardon for the First Turkey. The author provides an entertaining yet in-depth overview of these responsibilities. Patterson also illuminates the astounding degree to which presidents personally conduct American diplomacy and personally supervise U.S. military actions. The text is punctuated with comments by senior White House aides and by old Washington hands whose careers go back more than half a century. The book provides not only a comprehensive key to the offices and activities that make the White House work, but also the feeling of belonging to that exclusive membership inside the West Wing.
“What did the president know and when did he know it?” takes on a whole new meaning in Presidents and Political Thought. Though political philosophy is sometimes considered to be dry and abstract, many of our presidents have found usable ideas embedded within it. In this first comparative study of presidents and political theory, David Siemers examines how some of them have applied this specialized knowledge to their job. Presidents and Political Thought explores the connection between philosophy and practical politics through a study of six American chief executives: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton. Writing at the intersection of politics, history, and philosophy, Siemers combines his extensive understanding of political philosophy with careful research and analysis of individual presidents to produce provocative and astute judgments about how their understanding of political theory affected their performance. Each chapter examines a particular president’s attitude about political theory, the political theorists he read and admired, and the ways in which he applied theory in his activities as president. Viewing presidents through the lens of political theory enables Siemers to conclude that Madison and Adams have been significantly underrated. Wilson is thought to have abandoned his theoretical viewpoint as president, but actually, he just possessed an unorthodox interpretation of his favorite thinker, Edmund Burke. Often thought to be so pragmatic or opportunistic that they lacked any convictions, FDR and Clinton gained their orientations to politics from political theory. These and other insights suggest that we cannot understand these presidencies without being more aware of the ideas the presidents brought to the office. Siemers’s study takes on special relevance as the United States experiences regime change and a possible party realignment because, as he notes, Barack Obama has read and learned from political theory, too. Avoiding much of the jargon that often accompanies political theory, this book demonstrates the relevance of political theory in the real world, chronicling both the challenges and potentially rich payoffs when presidents conceive of politics not just as a way to reward friends and punish enemies, but as a means to realize principles.
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