Moral Leadership And The American Presidency / Edition 1

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We have a crisis of leadership in America today. We are not electing the very best to public office, nor are the best willing to serve. As a nation, we have lowered our standards and expectations of those who run and their performance in office. Robert E. Denton, Jr.'s exceptional book explores moral presidential leadership, ultimately calling for a return to a 'heroic presidency.' Briefly surveying presidential character throughout our history, he gives an overview of the decline in trust of the government and offers possible reasons for this trend. Denton argues that personal character and integrity are essential and critical presidential traits. Focusing mainly on Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he compares the scandal-filled terms of Clinton and Richard Nixon and looks at Bush vis-^-vis the elections, September 11, and the Iraq war. Denton addresses the myth of separating private from public behavior and shows how virtually everything presidents do or say influences their decisions and impacts citizens. Moral Leadership and the American Presidency is a must-read for anyone interested in the modern role of the president or in morality in American public life.

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Editorial Reviews

Henry C. Kenski
Political scientists and political communication scholars sometimes forget that the messenger is just as important as the message. Bob Denton has written a thoughtful book, demonstrating that ethos and character matter and that moral presidential leadership is essential for a healthy republic and vibrant democracy. His work harkens back to a presidency that Franklin D. Roosevelt called 'preeminently a place for moral leadership.'
Andrew A. King
Robert Denton has written a remarkable book. Using the prisms of contemporary American politics and political journalism, Denton has plumbed the depths of our present polarization. He finds the roots of that polarization are deeper than the empty careerism of office holders, the dominance of campaign managers or the machinations of a sensationalistic press. With incredible daring Denton plumbs the deep divisions in America—divisions between locals and cosmopolitans, between the secular and the devout, and between rural and urban perspectives. He finds that our present political rhetoric mobilizes and exaggerates these divisions. His book unmasks this rhetoric and documents its unhealthy effects.

This book is passionate, fluent, powerful. Denton is clearly fed up with the kind of nonsense that passes for political analysis and the mean-spirited character assassination that passes for criticism. He has also abandoned the good-buddy language of advertising that characterizes so many contemporary books on political culture. His book is blunt, built around a driving purpose. Reading it was like taking a shower in cold slivers of steel.

Library Journal
The author (director, Ctr. for Leader Development, Virginia Tech) calls for a higher ethical standard for our elected officials, noting that the presidency has been diminished most significantly by the sexual escapades of President Clinton. He claims that Geroge W. Bush's demonstration of faith has helped restore the presidency's moral compass. However, will the President's start of a preemptive war and the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib also be remembered as moral actions? The book is flawed because the author uses morality as the standard for judging presidential administrations. While the public did suffer "Clinton fatigue," Bill Clinton left office with high public approval because he was able to connect with Americans on issues such as the economy and the belief that government works for the public. Questionable is the author's claim that Clinton damaged the presidency more than Nixon, in part because Nixon "committed [only] one public presidential lie and no criminal offenses." The book's narrow focus makes it of limited value for public libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742539488
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 162
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert E. Denton, Jr., is the W. Thomas Rice Chair and director for the Center for Leader Development at Virginia Tech.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 1 Presidential Character: Does It Really Matter? Chapter 3 2 The Diminished Presidency: Post-Clinton Chapter 4 3 The American Presidency: The Job Description Chapter 5 4 The American Presidency and Moral Leadership Chapter 6 5 The Case of William Jefferson Clinton Chapter 7 6 So, What About George W. Bush' Chapter 8 7 The Presidency, Moral Leadership, and a Government as Good as the American People Chapter 9 Selected Bibliography

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