The Presidential Dilemma: Revisiting Democratic Leadership in the American System / Edition 3

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This brief, thought-provoking text evaluates the performance of recent presidents from Johnson to Bush, finding that, overall, each has failed to live up to public expectations. Written by one of the top presidency scholars today, The Presidential Dilemma reflects on the idea that as our country's problems grow, our politicians seem to shrink. Arguing that American presidents of the last 40 years have largely failed to meet the needs, expectations, and responsibilities placed upon them, the book discusses how presidents might better maximize their opportunities for leadership and suggests a distinctive theory of presidential politics: presidents, facing a system of multiple veto points, seek to maximize power and influence.

The third edition of Genovese's stimulating book is thoroughly updated to reflect presidential development in recent years, and a new introduction brings his arguments current. As he demonstrates, the emergence of democracy as a new social and political paradigm undermined traditional authority and legitimacy. Subjects no longer automatically follow; now citizens must be persuaded. They may give to a leader their authority and power, or not. As Genovese notes, in a world of mass consumerism, those wishing to lead have precious little to offer by way of inducement.

Genovese's goal is to examine the reasons why the performance of recent presidents has been underwhelming, discuss how they might maximize their opportunities for leadership, and ask a key question: Can presidents be both powerful and accountable? The book follows a clear format and tries to show why America's officeholders have so rarely been leaders and how presidents can become leaders instead of mere officeholders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Insightful” Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412811125
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/26/2011
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael A. Genovese holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership and is professor of political science and director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of numerous books including The Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, The Power of the American Presidency 1789-2000, and The Paradoxes of the American Presidency. Michael A. Genovese holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership and is professor of political science and director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of numerous books including The Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, The Power of the American Presidency 1789-2000, and The Paradoxes of the American Presidency.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Office Holders but Not Leaders xi

Introduction to the Transaction Edition 1

Madison's Curse 3

Presidential Power and Asymmetrical Warfare 3

Avoiding Failure/Avoiding Blame 5

Conclusion 11

1 The Dilemma of Presidential Leadership 15

The Devolution of the Presidency 18

Bill Clinton and the Porn Star 32

This is Guatemala 36

Who Really Won? Or Chad Happens 39

Bush vs. Gore vs. the Supreme Court-or Scalia Happens 40

A 9-1-1 Emergency Call 41

And Now Back to Reality 42

Failing the Leadership Test 44

Governing a Leaky Ship 49

The Finitude of Presidential Power 52

2 America's Leadership Aversion System 57

The Intent of the Framers 59

The Structure of American Government 62

Individual Skill 66

America's Political Culture 67

The Moods and Cycles of American Politics 71

The Decline of Intermediaries 76

Presidential Selection 78

The Market as Prison 80

The Politics of Globalization 84

Conclusion 85

3 Presidential Power Maximizing Strategies 91

Presidential Leadership 94

The Building Blocks of Presidential Leadership 95

Political Timing 103

Controlling the Agenda 108

Coalition and Consensus Building 109

Popularity 112

The Media 118

Congress 124

Management 130

The Rise of the Administrative Presidency 132

The Rise of Presidential Unilateralism 137

Policy Arenas: Foreign Versus Domestic 139

The Supreme Court 141

Moving Beyond the Law 143

The President's Emergency Power 145

Presidential Action in Times of Emergency 150

Conclusion 151

4 Making the Presidency Effective and Accountable 161

Jefferson's Vision of Democratic Leadership 164

A Powerful and Accountable President? 166

The Ends and Means of Political Power 168

Separation or Syncopation? 170

Reforming the Presidency 171

Making the Presidency Work 173

Conclusion 177

Internet Links 183

Bibliography 185

Index 199

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