On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit

On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit

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by George C. Edwards III
     
 

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In this book, George Edwards analyzes the results of hundreds of public opinion polls from recent presidencies to assess the success of these efforts. Surprisingly, he finds that presidents typically are not able to change public opinion, even great, communicators usually fail to obtain the public's support for their high-priority initiatives. According to Edwards,… See more details below

Overview

In this book, George Edwards analyzes the results of hundreds of public opinion polls from recent presidencies to assess the success of these efforts. Surprisingly, he finds that presidents typically are not able to change public opinion, even great, communicators usually fail to obtain the public's support for their high-priority initiatives. According to Edwards, the bully pulpit has proven infective not only for achieving majority support but also for increasing support from a smaller base. Focusing on presidents' personae, their messages, and the American public, he explains why presidents are typically unable to move public opinion and suggests that their efforts to do so may be counterproductive. Edwards argues that shoring up previously existing support is the principal benefit to be gained from going public and that "staying private" - negotiating quietly with elites - may often be more conductive to a president's legislative success.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
If the findings in this book are correct, the effort by President Bush to convince the American public to support his request for $87 billion to rebuild Iraq is unlikely to sway voters. Edwards (Jordan Chair of Presidential Studies, Texas A&M Univ.), the author of several excellent books on the presidency, argues that presidents who attempt to move public opinion to support their policies or increase their personal approval ratings are more likely to fail than to succeed. To make his case, Edwards uses a rich array of public opinion data, drawing most heavily on a close analysis of the Reagan and Clinton presidencies. He examines the efficacy of the bully pulpit by considering the process of presidential communication, as reflected in the organization of the book's four parts: "Moving the Public," "The Messenger," "The Message," and "The Audience." He concludes that, if presidents hope to move their legislative agenda through Congress, they need to convince lawmakers directly. This important book will generate much discussion and is highly recommended for all libraries.-Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300100099
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2003
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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