Presidential Leadership Dilemma: Between the Constitution and a Political Party


Presidential Leadership Dilemma: Between the Constitution and a Political Party



Throughout their time in office, American presidents are often forced to choose between leading the nation and leading their party. In an earlier time when the major parties were less polarized, this leadership dilemma, while challenging, was not nearly as vexing as it is today. American presidents now find themselves with little room to maneuver, compelled to serve the Constitution on the one hand and yet caught within bitter partisan disputes and large numbers of unaffiliated voters on the other. The contributors to this volume investigate how recent presidents have navigated these increasingly rocky political waters. Focusing on campaign strategy, presidential rhetoric, relations with Congress, domestic and foreign policy, The Presidential Leadership Dilemma presents a wide-ranging, detailed, and fascinating study of how contemporary presidents face the challenge at the heart of every presidency.



Publication Date



SUNY Press




American Politics | Political Science


Introduction: A Rock and a Hard Place: Between a Party and the People --

Pathways to the Nomination: An Analytic Framework --

Presidential Mandates and the Leadership Dilemma: William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama --

Playing for History: The Reelection Leadership Choices of Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush --

Presidents, Leverage, and Significant Public Policy --

The Base Realignment and Closing Commission: Difficult Choices, Electoral Considerations, and the Future of National Leadership in a Partisan Age --

The Paradoxes of Presidential leadership in Pursuing Policy Goals --

Taking Credit and Avoiding Blame: The Politics of Rhetorical Signing Statements Under Unified and Divided Government --

President Obama and Counterterrorism Policy: When Campaign Promises Meet Governing Imperatives --

Conclusion: The Right Choice at the Right Time --