Confrontation and Compromise: Presidential and Congressional Leadership, 2001-2006

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9780742540606: Confrontation and Compromise: Presidential and Congressional Leadership, 2001-2006
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The authors examine the relationship between President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress to explore political leadership in American politics. Six case studies make clear that individual leaders in both the Congress and the administration provide the direction, coherence, and energy that leadership requires. Two case studies concentrate on solutions devised to resolve long-standing policy issues that had been the center of controversy even before Bush's election: education reform and campaign finance reform. Two cases focus on issues that arose in the aftermath of 9/11: intelligence reform and creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Two are drawn from Bush's second term: the response to Hurricane Katrina and the failed effort to reform Social Security. The authors draw several general conclusions. Direction, coherence and energy are provided by multiple national leaders, not just by the president. Like other presidents, Bush sought to dominate national policy-making but ultimately found it necessary to effect tactical and policy reversals, actions inconsistent with his image as an uncompromising man of principle. Legislative success often depended on the skills of Bush's allies and particularly on the efforts of bipartisan and sometimes bicameral 'tandems' who forged compromises across party and institutional lines that made progress possible.

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About the Author:

Jason D. Mycoff is assistant professor at the University of Delaware, teaches courses on American politics and research methods. His research focuses on congressional committees in the lawmaking process and institutional relationships between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Joseph A. Pika is professor at the University of Delaware, teaches American politics with a research specialization in the presidency. Pika is co-author (with John Maltese) of The Politics of the Presidency and The Presidential Contest. In addition to his academic career, Pika has served on numerous state committees and task forces including eight years on the Delaware State Board of Education, four as president of the Board.

Review:

Through their detailed examinations of the most important recent Washington battles, Mycoff and Pika illuminate how individual leadership and institutional frameworks shaped a critical set of political decisions. Students and instructors will appreciate the engaging case studies as well as the accessible, original synthesis of contemporary policy making. (Scott R. Meinke, Bucknell University)

Mycoff and Pika have captured the nuts and bolts of Beltway decision-making. An informative read for undergraduates interested in policymaking and politics. (Colleen J. Shogan, George Mason University)

These case studies are...quite useful as a supplement to texts that focus on one institution or the other, and might also be considered for use in courses on national policy making. The authors' attempt to explain leadership patterns and strategies that go beyond party leadership is very useful and might serve as the foundation of a research agenda that could produce a valuable scholarly contribution as well as a pedagogical tool. (APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter, Book Notes, January 2008)

Mycoff and Pika produce a thoughtful examination of contemporary presidential-congressional relations through the lens of leadership theory....The book is a useful contribution to the leadership study literature. Recommended. (CHOICE)

Confrontation and Compromise shows what it is like to make law on difficult issues in a period of crisis politics and narrow party margins. The cases are well chosen; the lessons clearly set forth. It is text for our time. (Charles O. Jones, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

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