Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents: George Washington to Barack Obama

Overview

In an era of extremist politics, Gil Troy argues, moderation and moderate leaders are needed more than ever. Challenges like managing the debt, preserving the environment, fighting terrorism, improving education—in short, protecting America today and building toward tomorrow—require the kind of consensus that can only come from leaders who seek the center.



As Troy reminds us, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 seemed to presage such a ...

See more details below
Paperback (Second Edition with a new Afterword)
$15.84
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$19.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $12.56   
  • Used (5) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

In an era of extremist politics, Gil Troy argues, moderation and moderate leaders are needed more than ever. Challenges like managing the debt, preserving the environment, fighting terrorism, improving education—in short, protecting America today and building toward tomorrow—require the kind of consensus that can only come from leaders who seek the center.



As Troy reminds us, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 seemed to presage such a shift. Nearly four years later, however, political moderation remains as elusive as ever.



Troy champions the presidencies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. They succeeded not because of their bold political visions, he argues, but because of their moderation. The great presidents of American history have always sought a golden mean—from George Washington, who brilliantly mediated between the competing visions of Jefferson and Hamilton; to Abraham Lincoln, who rescued the union with his principled pragmatism; to the two Roosevelts, Theodore and Franklin, who united millions of Americans with their powerful, affirmative, nationalist visions; to the bracing can-do optimism of Kennedy and Reagan.



Troy explains how presidents can both hew to the center and address important political challenges. By his reckoning, the best presidents have exercised "muscular moderation." In his afterword Troy cogently critiques President Obama's fraught evolution from a "Magic Moderate" deeply committed to extending his election night civility as widely as possible to his gradual realization that a much more muscular moderation would be required. Obama's increasingly tough-minded and much less forgiving rhetoric might not immediately heal the scars from our polarized politics but might be necessary in the short run.



Troy underscores in this new edition that moderation must be restored or greatness—for our presidents and our nation—will likely be denied.



First time in paperback. Originally published as Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700618835
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 8/27/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition with a new Afterword
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,449,894
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Gil Troy, a native of Queens, New York, and professor of history at McGill University, is the author of Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons; Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s; and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition ix

Introduction: Presidents as Muscular Moderates

A "Middle Course" for Our "Common Cause" 1

1 Washington's Way

"Liberal Allowances, Mutual Forbearances, and Temporizing Yieldings on All Sides" 19

2 Compromisers, Zealots, and Ciphers

The Blessing of Parties, the Challenge of Slavery, and the Failure of Presidents 39

3 Abraham Lincoln's Middle Measure

A Cautious Politician's "My Policy Is to Have No Policy" Pragmatism 57

4 Theodore Roosevelt's Democratic Two-Step

The Rise of the Romantic, Nationalist Presidency 75

5 Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal

The Radical as Moderate 93

6 Truman, Eisenhower, and America's Bipartisan Consensus

Building Political Unity through Cultural Conformity 123

7 John F. Kennedy Civil Rights

Moderation and the Challenge of Change 147

8 The Consensus Collapses

Lyndon Johnson and the Limits of Moderation 165

9 Learning from Losers

Where Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter Went Wrong 183

10 Ronald Reagan's Moderate Revolution

Resurrecting the Center 201

11 Bill Clinton and the Perils of Triangulation

The Need to be Muscular as Well as Moderate 223

12 George W. Bush

Imprisoned by Conviction? 247

Conclusion: Center Seeking in the Twenty-first Century

Is Political Moderation Possible in an Age of Excess? 273

Afterword: A President and a People in Search of Moderation 287

Acknowledgments 297

A Note on Sources 301

Notes 309

Index 337

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)