Advertisement

The President Over the Public: The Plebiscitary Presidency at Center Stage

  • Lori Cox Han
Chapter
  • 42 Downloads
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)

Abstract

This chapter begins with a narrower version of the question posed throughout this book—does the public presidency pose a threat to constitutional democracy in America? While the framers may have been somewhat ambivalent about how strong the president should be, with James Madison arguing for a government that limited itself through checks and balances to diffuse power in Federalist 51 while Alexander Hamilton argued for a powerful and energetic executive in Federalist 70, the public arena has certainly provided some presidents with broader powers than perhaps intended. As with other powers of the office, the public aspects of the presidency have had important historical developments, particularly during the twentieth century. The proliferation of daily newspapers at the turn of the twentieth century, followed by the advent of radio, then television, and then the expansion of newer technologies like the Internet and satellite transmissions, have created myriad opportunities for presidents to communicate. Along with the opportunities came the expectation that the president would be an effective communicator, using the bully pulpit to rally for public policies and to share his vision for America with his fellow citizens.

Keywords

Policy Agenda Transformational Leader Presidential Election Leadership Style Political Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    See Peter G. Northouse, Leadership: Theory and Practice, 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2004). Northouse outlines a variety of leadership theories that are applicable to understanding presidential leadership, including approaches that focus on traits, skills, styles, situations, and personality.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    James MacGregor Burns, Transforming Leadership (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003), 29.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Bruce Miroff, Icons of Democracy: American Leaders as Heroes, Aristocrats, Dissenters, & Democrats (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    David Gergen, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 345–9.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    David Zarefsky, “Presidential Rhetoric and the Power of Definition,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 34, no. 3 (September 2004): 607–19.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Jeffrey K. Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), 28.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Roderick P. Hart, The Sound of Leadership: Presidential Communication in the Modern Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 212.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Deeds Done in Words: Presidential Rhetoric and the Genres of Governance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 1, 213–9.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Lori Cox Han, Governing From Center Stage: White House Communication Strategies during the Television Age of Politics (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2001), 2.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    Mary E. Stuckey, The President as Interpreter-in-Chief (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 1991), 1–3.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    Steven E. Schier, “A Unique Presidency,” in The Postmodern Presidency: Bill Clinton’s Legacy in U.S. Politics, ed., Steven E. Schier (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    E.J. Dionne, “The Clinton Enigma: Seeking Consensus, Breeding Discord,” in The Election of 2000, ed., Gerald Pomper (New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2001), 1–11.Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    William C. Berman, From the Center to the Edge: The Politics and Policies of the Clinton Presidency (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), 123.Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, “Introduction” to The Clinton Legacy (New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2001), ix.Google Scholar
  15. 21.
    George C. Edwards III, “Campaigning Is Not Governing: Bill Clinton’s Rhetorical Presidency,” in The Clinton Legacy, Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, eds. (New York: Chatham House, 2000), 34–5.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    Gary L. Gregg II, “Dignified Authenticity: George W. Bush and the Symbolic Presidency,” in Considering the Bush Presidency, Gary L. Gregg II and Mark J. Rozell, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 88.Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    See David A. Crockett, “George W. Bush and the Unrhetorical Rhetorical Presidency,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 6, no. 3 (2003): 465–86.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    Bert A. Rockman, “Presidential Leadership in an Era of Party Polarization— The George W. Bush Presidency,” in The George W. Bush Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects, Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, eds. (Washington: CQ Press, 2004), 351.Google Scholar
  19. 27.
    Fred I. Greenstein, “The Leadership Style of George W. Bush,” in The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment, ed., Fred I. Greenstein (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 7.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    While Bush received some initial negative coverage from the press and battled with former president Bill Clinton for headlines in his first several weeks in office, the continuing coverage of Clinton’s problems (controversial pardons, missing items from the White House, etc.) provided a positive contrast for Bush in highlighting the differences in their leadership styles and personalities. See Lori Cox Han and Matthew J. Krov, “Life after the White House: The Public Post-Presidency and the Development of Presidential Legacies,” in In the Public Domain: Presidents and the Challenge of Public Leadership, Lori Cox Han and Diane J. Heith, eds. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005).Google Scholar
  21. 29.
    George C. Edwards III, On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), ix.Google Scholar
  22. 31.
    See Jill Lawrence and Judy Keen, “Election Is Turning into a Duel of the Manly Men,” USA Today, September 23, 2004, 1A; and “Lexington: It’s a Man’s World,” The Economist, August 7, 2004, 28.Google Scholar
  23. 32.
    David Gergen, “Questions without Answers,” U.S. News and World Report, October 4, 2004, 64.Google Scholar
  24. 33.
    John J. Dilulio, Jr., “A View from Within,” in The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment, ed., Fred I. Greenstein (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 257.Google Scholar
  25. 34.
    Jeffrey K. Tulis, “Revising the Rhetorical Presidency,” in Beyond the Rhetorical Presidency, ed., Martin J. Medhurst (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1996), 3, 10–14.Google Scholar
  26. 35.
    Thomas E. Patterson, “Bad News, Bad Governance,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 546 (July 1996): 97–108.Google Scholar
  27. 37.
    Samuel Kernell, Going Public: New Strategies of Presidential Leadership, 3rd ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1997), ix.Google Scholar
  28. 38.
    See both Kernell and Richard Rose, The Postmodern President (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1991), 132.Google Scholar
  29. 40.
    Frank Rich, “Decision 2004: Fear Fatigue v. Sheer Fatigue,” New York Times, October 31, 2004, Sec. 2, 1.Google Scholar
  30. 41.
    Rockman, “Presidential Leadership in an Era of Party Polarization,” 353.Google Scholar
  31. 42.
    Fred I. Greenstein, The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 207.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael A. Genovese and Lori Cox Han 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori Cox Han

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations