“We want to have the politicians be public servants and not party servants.”
The influential political blogger and columnist Ezra Klein has attracted a lot of attention with his most recent article in The New Yorker. In it Klein analyzes the power of the Presidency’s bully pulpit. Contrary to conventional wisdom by presidential scholars and political operatives, Klein argues that the bully pulpit is no longer a powerful presidential tool. Instead he contends that presidential speeches actually have an adverse effect.
The American presidency is a peculiar political institution. Unlike its counterparts throughout the world the American president is both head of state and head of his party. Unlike other political executives it is an institution in of itself, a separate branch of government. There are no comparable political offices throughout the world. This only heightens the mystery and mystic of the office. Throughout its history scholars have tried to erode that mystery by studying every aspect of the institution. Almost every possible characteristic, quality, and feature of the presidency and of its occupants have been studied. However, over the course of its 223 year history many fundamental questions of the presidency still remain. This includes th
The consensus among the Democratic base is that President Obama is too weak – he doesn’t fight hard enough for progressive ideals and caves in to the Republicans’ demands too fast. Progressives aren’t just frustrated, they’re infuriated. While the Republicans attack liberals every opportunity they get, the leader of the Democratic Party, the president sits silently taking the punches. Eric Alterman at The Daily Beast compares Obama’s performance to “a boxer who spends the entire fight taking punch after punch on the ropes.”
A story that’s been getting a lot of press lately focuses on President Obama’s political philosophy. After in-depth research for a new book Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg says he has unearthed Obama’s true philosophy. The New York Times reported on Kloppenberg’s revelation by writing:
He interviewed the president's former professors and classmates, combed through his books, essays and speeches, and even read every article published during the three years Obama was involved with the Harvard Law Review.
In political science presidential rhetoric or as its better known, presidential communications is a field all unto itself. In one of my favorite books “The Rhetorical Presidency,” author and political scientist Jeffrey Tulis reveals just how powerful presidential rhetoric can be.
Machiavelli who is considered the first political scientist ever wrote in 1532 that, “There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things.” His point was that the status quo is a hard thing to change. In a democracy the status quo is the old guard. The old guard tends to be the special interests, bureaucrats, and the powerful who have a stake in the status quo. If the balance of power changes and reforms are made then their power and influence may be decreased. So they u
Instead of the daily blog The Pragmatic Center presents new research about the American presidency. The Pragmatic Presidency is an examination of the institution and some of its most successful occupants.
The research presents a clear picture that presidents must be pragmatic in order to succeed. Pursuing a rigid ideological agenda is a recipe for failure. The most successful presidents have been the most pragmatic.