Why do policymakers select certain problems for attention and ignore others? Why do some policy ideas fail and other succeed? In addition to the President, Congress and Supreme Court what other institutions are influential in shaping public policies? How do policymakers design and implement policies? How do those policies ultimately influence the nation? Providing answers to these and other questions are the focus of this book. The practice of politics and policymaking is complicated, involving thousands of people in government institutions and the private sector. Although each public law and public policy has a unique history, Politics and Public Policy is designed to help students understand the larger patterns of the policy making process.

Chief Executive Politics

Chief executive politics

Americans have always preferred politics with a personal touch, making heroes and villains out of public figures and evaluating politicians on the basis of human qualities such as integrity, leadership ability, and physical attractiveness. It is rare for the American public to be mobilized by ideological debate or to be interested for very long in institutional delibera­tions and actions. Political interest typically focuses on individuals, and in most cases this means chief executives—presidents and governors. Chief executives are the most visible, and in many ways the most important, actors in American government.

The prominence of chief executives in American politics today is com­monly attributed to the media. The modern media, especially television, find that covering powerful individuals in government is ...

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