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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.
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.
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