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What Do We Do Now?: A Workbook for the President-Elect
     

What Do We Do Now?: A Workbook for the President-Elect

by Stephen Hess
 

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The period from Election Day to Inauguration Day in America seems impossibly short. Newly elected U.S. presidents have less than eleven weeks to construct a new government composed of supporters and strangers, hailing from all parts of the nation. This unique and daunting process always involves at least some mistakes—in hiring, perhaps, or in policy

Overview

The period from Election Day to Inauguration Day in America seems impossibly short. Newly elected U.S. presidents have less than eleven weeks to construct a new government composed of supporters and strangers, hailing from all parts of the nation. This unique and daunting process always involves at least some mistakes—in hiring, perhaps, or in policy priorities, or organizational design. Early blunders can carry serious consequences well into a president's term; minimizing them from the outset is critical. In What Do We Do Now? Stephen Hess draws from his long experience as a White House staffer and presidential adviser to show what can be done to make presidential transitions go smoothly. Here is a workbook to guide future chief executives, decision by decision, through the minefield of transition. You'll have to start at the beginning, settling on a management style and knowing how to "arrange all the boxes." Something as seemingly mundane as parceling office space can be consequential—hence the inclusion of a proposed White House organizational chart and floor plans of the West Wing. What qualities are needed for each job, and where are the best candidates for those positions most likely to be found? How can you construct a cabinet that "looks like America"? What Do We Do Now? is your indispensable guide through the thicket of these decisions. There are small decisions, too. You'll have to pick a desk—photos of the choices are included. Which presidential portraits should hang in the Oval Office? Which ones have previous presidents chosen? And when it comes time to write an inaugural address, what should be the content, theme, and tone? It's all here in the presidential transition workbook—don't leave for Washington without it. This concise volume is sure to be a valuable resource for the president and team of advisers as they attempt to herd cats into an effective government. o W e Do Now? is alsis also a delightful read for anyone interested in exactly how one goes about being the president of the United States.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The book is really, as the subtitle suggests, "A Workbook for the President-Elect," complete with exercises to fill in and boxes to tick off; but it is also a compelling primer for the average citizen." —Frank Gannon, Wall Street Journal

"Hess's workbook is a must for the incoming administration. He touches on everything from decorating the Oval Office, dodging Cabinet nomination fights, and penning a memorable inaugural address to firing bumbling aides."" —Paul Bedard, U.S. News & World Report

"Magically combines expertise, charm, and implicit wit." — Library Journal

"Mr. Hess' book is also fun and reader-friendly: It is packed with illustrations, charts, jokes, anecdotes, gossip and even cartoons. It should be essential reading in public affairs and political science classes in high school and college across the nation." —Martin Sieff, Washington Times

"Wise and accessible." — Huffington Post

"A remarkably readable, eminently utilitarian, and uncommonly unpretentious book.... What Do We Do Now? is a book every serious political junkie ought to own....[Hess] makes serious subject matter accessible--easy but never breezy--and in doing so, he's given interested observers an opportunity to evaluate this presidential transition" — Mitchell Report

" What Do We Do Now? is a perfect combination of insider esoterica and trivia-friendly miscellany; it is written with the grace and wit of a natural writer and informed by the insight and wisdom of a man who has practiced what he now preaches." —Frank Gannon, The New Nixon blog

"A short paperback most helpful to the incomers." —William Safire, New York Times

"For every president-elect who wished there was a how-to guide for the transition period, Stephen Hess has written a book just for them." —Daniel Strauss, Roll Call

"Few individuals are more qualified to examine presidential transitions than Hess" — CHOICE

Library Journal

After November 4th, 2008, the President-elect will have just over six weeks to set up his administration. Hess, first involved in the U.S. presidential transition process when it was between Ike and JFK, here delineates every step of "how to best organize a presidency." He addresses the reader as the President-elect and magically combines expertise, charm, and implicit wit. Numerous diagrams show, e.g., the real layout of the West Wing (with a text box on the TV version) and the seating arrangement for the cabinet at its meetings and questions to ask your potential PIP (that's primus inter pares-read the book!). Although it deserves to do well in retail as a holiday gift, this marvelous, elegantly informative read should be in all libraries.


—Margaret Heilbrun

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815736554
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Pages:
125
Sales rank:
962,292
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Hess is senior fellow emeritus in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and Distinguished Research Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He has been engaged in presidential transitions since he was a young speechwriter in the Eisenhower White House. He returned to the White House with President Richard Nixon, helped Jimmy Carter reorganize the Executive Office and advised the presidential transition teams of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and GeorgeW. Bush. His numerous books include Through Their Eyes: Foreign Correspondents in the United States (Brookings, 2005) and Organizing the Presidency (Brookings, 3rd ed in 2002 with James Pfiffner).

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