The Presidency by Plebiscite: The Reagan-Bush Era in Institutional Perspective

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The U.S. presidency has been characterized in a variety of ways - imperial, impossible, imperiled; personal, plural, postmodern - depending on the era and who was in office. In this book, Professor Rimmerman outlines the attributes of the plebiscitary presidency, a form of the office that dates from the FDR period but that has been most fully exploited by Ronald Reagan. By contrasting the Reagan and Bush administrations, the author points up the shortcomings of a presidency that operates by plebiscite and directs...
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1993 Hard Cover Fine in Fine jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. Signed by Author 164 pages. "The U.S. presidency has been characterized in a variety of ways-imperial, impossible, ... imperiled; personal, plural, postmodern-depending on the era and who was in office. In this book, the author outlines the attributes of the plebiscitary presidency, a form of the office that dates from the FDR period but has been most fully exploited by Ronald Reagan. By contrasting the Reagan and Bush administrations, the author points up the shortcomings of a presidency that operates by plebiscite and directs us toward a new standard for electing and evaluating presidents-one that insists on a respect for institutional limitations and effective citizen participation." FINE HARDCOVER, FINE DUST JACKET, signed by the author. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The U.S. presidency has been characterized in a variety of ways - imperial, impossible, imperiled; personal, plural, postmodern - depending on the era and who was in office. In this book, Professor Rimmerman outlines the attributes of the plebiscitary presidency, a form of the office that dates from the FDR period but that has been most fully exploited by Ronald Reagan. By contrasting the Reagan and Bush administrations, the author points up the shortcomings of a presidency that operates by plebiscite and directs us toward a new standard for electing and evaluating presidents - one that insists on a respect for institutional limitations and effective citizen participation. Participatory democracy is essential to counter the dangers of trends toward "presidency by plebiscite" such as hero worship and direct tele-electronic democracy, which were illustrated by Ross Perot's appeal to the American public during the 1992 elections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813383330
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1992
  • Pages: 164
  • Lexile: 1640L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Constitutional Perspectives on Presidential Power 7
The Articles of Confederation 8
Madisonian Principles 9
The Framers and the Presidency 11
The Constitution and Changing Sources of Power 17
2 The Rise of the Plebiscitary Presidency 23
Congressional Government in the Traditional Era 24
Why the Plebiscitary Presidency? 25
The Development of the Rhetorical Presidency 26
Progressive Reformers and the Rise of Presidential Government 27
Congress, the Court, and Presidential Governance 28
Presidential Scholarship and the Modern Presidency 30
The Viability of the "Postmodern Presidency" 35
Critical Reflections on the Plebiscitary Presidency 38
3 Public Politics and the Use of Values in the Reagan and Bush Eras 43
Political Socialization and the American Presidency 47
A Values Approach to Governance 49
The Media and the Plebiscitary Presidency 51
The Decline of Political Parties 57
4 The Rebirth of the Administrative Presidency 65
The Historical Context for the Administrative Presidency 66
Reagan's Use of the Appointment Power 70
Reagan's Use of the Budgetary Process 72
Reagan's Use of Executive Orders and Central Clearance 75
Reagan's Approach to Cabinet Governance 76
The Bush Approach to the Executive Branch 78
Administrative Strategies and Presidential Power 84
5 The Plebiscitary Presidency and American Foreign Policy in the Reagan and Bush Eras 91
Pax Americana and Presidential Power 92
The Constitutional Context 93
The Congressional Foreign Policy Reforms of the 1970s and 1980s 97
Executive Power and Covert Actions: The Congressional Response 109
The Plebiscitary Presidency and American Foreign Policy 115
6 Hero Worship and the Decline of Citizenship 123
Symbolic Politics and Presidential Power 125
Evaluating Presidential Performance 126
Bibliography 139
About the Book and Author 153
Index 155
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