America was founded in rebellion against nobility and inherited status. Yet from the start, dynastic families have been conspicuous in national politics. The Adamses. The Lodges. The Tafts. The Roosevelts. The Kennedys. And today the Bushes and the Clintons.
Longtime presidential historian Stephen Hess offers an encyclopedic tour of the families that have loomed large over America's political history.
Starting with John Adams, who served as the young nation's first vice president and earned the nickname "His Rotundity," Hess paints the portraits of the men and women who, by coincidence, connivance, or sheer sense of duty, have made up America's political elite. There are the well-known dynasties such as the Roosevelts and the Kennedys, and the names that live on only in history books, such as the Bayards (six generations of U.S. senators) and the Breckinridges (a vice president, two senators, and six representatives).
Hess fills the pages of America's Political Dynasties with anecdotes and personality-filled stories of the families who have given the United States more than a fair share of its presidents, senators, governors, ambassadors, and cabinet members.
This book also tells us the stories of the Bushes and what looks to be a political dynasty in waiting, the Clintons. Emblematic of America's growing diversity, Hess also examines how women, along with ethnic and racial minorities, have joined the ranks of dynastic political families.
Stephen Hess, senior fellow emeritus in Governance Studies at Brookings, began his career in Washington as a young speechwriter for President Eisenhower (1958–61). He was Distinguished Research Professor of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University (2004–09). His numerous books, now translated into thirty languages, include the The Professor and The President: Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Nixon White House (Brookings Institution Press, 2014).
Who won? How? Why? Now nearly a half-century later, Stephen Hess, who was Nixon's biographer and Moynihan's deputy, recounts this fascinating story as if from his office in the West Wing.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927–2003) described in the Almanac of American Politics as "the nation's best thinker among politicians since Lincoln and its best politician among thinkers since Jefferson", served in the administrations of four presidents, was ambassador to India, and U.S. representative to the United Nations, and was four times elected to the U.S. Senate from New York.
Praise for the works of Stephen Hess
Organzing the Presidency
Any president would benefit from reading Mr. Hess's analysis and any reader will enjoy the elegance with which it is written and the author's wide knowledge and good sense. -The Economist
The Presidential Campaign
Hess brings not only first-rate credentials, but a cool, dispassionate perspective, an incisive analytical approach, and a willingness to stick his neck out in making judgments. -American Political Science Review
From the Newswork Series
It is not much in vogue to speak of things like the public trust, but thankfully Stephen Hess is old fashioned. He reminds us in this valuable and provocative book that journalism is a public trust, providing the basic information on which citizens in a democracy vote, or tune out. — Ken Auletta, The New Yorker
The House and Senate have unique rules and procedures to determine how legislation moves from a policy idea to law. Evolved over the last 200 years, the rules of both chambers are designed to act as the engine for that process. Each legislative body has its own leadership positions to oversee this legislative process.
To the novice, whether a newly elected representative, a lawmaker’s staff on her first day at work, or a constituent visiting Washington, the entire process can seem incomprehensible. What is an open rule for a House Appropriations bill and how does it affect consideration? Why are unanimous consent agreements needed in the Senate?
The authors of Inside Congress, all congressional veterans, have written the definitive guide to how Congress really works. It is the accessible and necessary resource to understanding and interpreting procedural tools, arcane precedents, and the role of party politics in the making of legislation in Congress.
The transition from one president to another, regardless of which party wins the 2016 elections, will mean many things, one of which is that some 3,000 to 4,000 new senior presidential appointees will take office in the first months of 2017. They will join some 6,000 members of the Senior Executive Service and nearly 1,000 admirals and generals already working in the top ranks of government.
But the little-known truth is that the federal government has no formal, or even informal, continual learning program for its new high-level managers. If history is a guide, many of the next president's appointees will never have served in the federal government or, indeed, at any level of government. This means that they will need to hone their considerable skills to meet new challenges.
This new, revised, and updated edition of the The Presidential Appointee’s Handbook is intended to fill the need for learning by helping new presidential appointees develop the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they will need in their challenging assignments. Additionally, the new edition provides frameworks for success in areas such as strategic foresight, planning for results, risk management, and resilience that are designed to give appointees templates for achieving their goals.
Blending theory with the demands of day-to-day practice, the book clarifies the roles and responsibilities of top government executives, helps them build a network of shared experiences and relationships, and lays out common competencies and codes of proper behavior for government leaders at all levels.