Chapter 3: Strategic Assessments: Evaluating Opportunities and Strategies in the Obama Presidency

Strategic Assessments: Evaluating Opportunities and Strategies in the Obama Presidency

Strategic assessments: Evaluating opportunities and strategies in the Obama presidency
GeorgeC.EdwardsIII

Presidential power is not the power to persuade. Presidents cannot reshape the contours of the political landscape to pave the way for change by establishing an agenda and persuading the public, Congress, and others to support their policies. Instead, successful presidents facilitate change by recognizing opportunities in their environments and fashioning strategies and tactics to exploit them.1

These findings lead us to predict that governing strategies dependent on persuasion will fail. The Obama administration provides an excellent test for these predictions, because it adopted two governing strategies highly dependent on persuasion: “going public” and bipartisanship in Congress. This chapter analyzes the prospects of these strategies for governing ...

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