Why Presidents Fail: White House Decision Making from Eisenhower to Bush IIby Richard M. Pious
Pub. Date: 07/25/2008
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Presidents are surrounded by political strategists and White House counsel who presumably know enough to avoid making the same mistakes as their predecessors. Why, then, do the same kinds of presidential failures occur over and over again? Why Presidents Fail answers this question by examining presidential fiascos, quagmires, and risky business-the kind of failure that led President Kennedy to groan after the Bay of Pigs invasion, "How could I have been so stupid?"
In this book, Richard M. Pious looks at nine cases that have become defining events in presidencies from Dwight D. Eisenhower and the U-2 flights to George W. Bush and Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He uses these cases to draw generalizations about presidential power, authority, rationality, and legitimacy, and he raises questions about the limits of presidential decision making, many of which fly in the face of the conventional wisdom about the modern presidency.
About the Author:
Richard M. Pious is Adolf S. and Effie E. Ochs Professor of American Studies in the political science department at Barnard College and is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University
- Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Presidential Fiascoes 1
Reputation: Eisenhower and the U-2 Flights 11
Power Stakes: Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs 29
Compellence: Johnson and the Vietnam Escalation 47
Command and Control: Ford and the Mayaguez 77
Rhetoric: Carter and the Malaise Speech 91
Prerogative Power: Reagan and the Iran-Contra Affair 115
Gamesmanship: Bush 41 and the Budget Summit 149
Program Innovation: Clinton and Health Care 183
Parallel Governance: Bush and Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction 217
Presidents Unbound: Crises of Authority and Legitimacy 245
Risk and Resilience: Toward a White House Learning Curve 279
For Further Reading 299
About the Author 317
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