High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition

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9780415921473: High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition

Now in paperback, this perceptive psychological portrait of Clinton and his presidency investigates whether Clinton has demonstrated the necessary qualities of judgment, vision, character and skill, as well as his ambition and extreme self-confidence. Renshon traces the development of Clinton's character from his early family experiences to his adolescence and long political career, including the controversy surrounding Clinton's draft-dodging and marriage.

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From the Back Cover:

In this perceptive psychological portrait of Clinton and his presidency, Stanley A. Renshon investigates whether Clinton has demonstrated the requisite qualities of judgment, vision, character, and skill to meet the daunting challenges he faces domestically and internationally. Renshon incisively analyzes Clinton's sweeping ambitions, his enormous confidence in himself and his goals, and his success in convincing people that he genuinely cares about them. He reveals a Bill Clinton whose capacity for political success is often undermined by the very traits for which many praise him. His unusually high self-confidence, for instance, leads him to believe that he, as a "New Democrat", can accomplish what others have not, that he can, for instance, reconcile polar opposites such as liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. Remarkably persistent throughout Clinton's career are certain traits that have defined him to the public - his tendency to make promises he cannot keep, his uneven political performance, his ability to win people over in person, his sudden bursts of anger. Renshon traces the development of Clinton's character from his early family experiences to his highly successful adolescence and long political career. He illustrates how each step along the way Clinton's inconsistent experiences as an adored but disregarded child; his attempt to avoid the draft and the consequences of doing so; his marriage to Hillary Rodham whose own psychology has both helped and hurt him; and his tenure as governor during which his character first became a political issue - is crucial to understanding his erratic and controversial presidency. Exploring the nature of the Clinton marriage as apolitical partnership and of Hillary Clinton as an "associate president", this is the first serious psychological examination of Clinton, the man and the president.

About the Author:

Stanley A. Renshon is Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York and developer and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Program in the Psychology of Political Behavior at the CUNY Graduate School. He is a certified psychoanalyst and author of several volumes, including The Psychological Assessment of Presidential Candidates (Routledge, 1998).

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