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The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership

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How do presidents lead? If presidential power is the power to persuade, why is there a lack of evidence of presidential persuasion? George Edwards, one of the leading scholars of the American presidency, skillfully uses this contradiction as a springboard to examine--and ultimately challenge--the dominant paradigm of presidential leadership. The Strategic President contend How do presidents lead? If presidential power is the power to persuade, why is there a lack of evidence of presidential persuasion? George Edwards, one of the leading scholars of the American presidency, skillfully uses this contradiction as a springboard to examine--and ultimately challenge--the dominant paradigm of presidential leadership. The Strategic President contends that presidents cannot create opportunities for change by persuading others to support their policies. Instead, successful presidents facilitate change by recognizing opportunities and fashioning strategies and tactics to exploit them. Edwards considers three extraordinary presidents--Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan--and shows that despite their considerable rhetorical skills, the public was unresponsive to their appeals for support. To achieve change, these leaders capitalized on existing public opinion. Edwards then explores the prospects for other presidents to do the same to advance their policies. Turning to Congress, he focuses first on the productive legislative periods of FDR, Lyndon Johnson, and Reagan, and finds that these presidents recognized especially favorable conditions for passing their agendas and effectively exploited these circumstances while they lasted. Edwards looks at presidents governing in less auspicious circumstances, and reveals that whatever successes these presidents enjoyed also resulted from the interplay of conditions and the presidents' skills at understanding and exploiting them. The Strategic President revises the common assumptions of presidential scholarship and presents significant lessons for presidents' basic strategies of governance.


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How do presidents lead? If presidential power is the power to persuade, why is there a lack of evidence of presidential persuasion? George Edwards, one of the leading scholars of the American presidency, skillfully uses this contradiction as a springboard to examine--and ultimately challenge--the dominant paradigm of presidential leadership. The Strategic President contend How do presidents lead? If presidential power is the power to persuade, why is there a lack of evidence of presidential persuasion? George Edwards, one of the leading scholars of the American presidency, skillfully uses this contradiction as a springboard to examine--and ultimately challenge--the dominant paradigm of presidential leadership. The Strategic President contends that presidents cannot create opportunities for change by persuading others to support their policies. Instead, successful presidents facilitate change by recognizing opportunities and fashioning strategies and tactics to exploit them. Edwards considers three extraordinary presidents--Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan--and shows that despite their considerable rhetorical skills, the public was unresponsive to their appeals for support. To achieve change, these leaders capitalized on existing public opinion. Edwards then explores the prospects for other presidents to do the same to advance their policies. Turning to Congress, he focuses first on the productive legislative periods of FDR, Lyndon Johnson, and Reagan, and finds that these presidents recognized especially favorable conditions for passing their agendas and effectively exploited these circumstances while they lasted. Edwards looks at presidents governing in less auspicious circumstances, and reveals that whatever successes these presidents enjoyed also resulted from the interplay of conditions and the presidents' skills at understanding and exploiting them. The Strategic President revises the common assumptions of presidential scholarship and presents significant lessons for presidents' basic strategies of governance.

30 review for The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marion Kipiani

    Read for my class in leadership in international affairs. Edwards makes an interesting point in demonstrating that American presidents often fail in persuading either the electorate or the legislative branch about major policy changes or highly consequential foreign policy decisions. He much more emphasizes that the true hallmark of successful presidential leadership is a sense of timing, as in recognizing and exploiting shifts in public opinion in order to affect a decisive turn in policy. Wort Read for my class in leadership in international affairs. Edwards makes an interesting point in demonstrating that American presidents often fail in persuading either the electorate or the legislative branch about major policy changes or highly consequential foreign policy decisions. He much more emphasizes that the true hallmark of successful presidential leadership is a sense of timing, as in recognizing and exploiting shifts in public opinion in order to affect a decisive turn in policy. Worth the read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristofer Petersen-Overton

    A highly readable challenge to the "rhetorical presidency" thesis. A highly readable challenge to the "rhetorical presidency" thesis.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert Floyd-williams

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grace

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    teddiesreader

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  27. 4 out of 5

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  29. 4 out of 5

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  30. 4 out of 5

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