Section 002 - Term 2 - T 2:00 - 5:00, Grad Room
Instructor: Colin Campbell
In the 1960s, Richard E. Neustadt revolutionized the study of the U.S. presidency through careful analysis of how presidents assert themselves within the political arena. Neustadt's work shaped an entire generation of presidency scholars. However, their approaches became viewed by some as stressing too much the intellectual acuity of incumbents and their ability to harness latent support within in the formal institutions of the U.S. government. James David Barber stirred the pot in the early 1970s with a treatment of the effects of presidential personality on incumbents' performance. His work soon drew derision as pop-psychology. The study of the presidency continued on the Neustadt trajectory until Ronald Reagan became president. Here was an outsider who knew little about Washington and revealed virtually no intellectual acuity who proved-in electoral terms-a smashing success as president. This event provided the perfect vehicle for a new generation of presidency scholars who would press hard the position that incumbents above all seek to gain and maintain "responsive competence." The advocates of this view also believed that presidential studies, which had proven relatively resistant to rational choice, should employ formal theory as a key ingredient to scientific rigor. We are now two decades down that road. Skeptics could certainly point to George W. Bush as somebody with little intellectual acuity and an exceedingly selective attention span regarding the institutions of the governmental system who has caused at least two train wrecks of momentous proportions (Iraq; the deficit) by being Ronald Reagan writ large. But, a more detached view of public choice and its effects would show that apart from being flavor of the generation in the study of the presidency it has led us nearer to the waters of rigor. Indeed, a very close look at the youngest practitioners of neo-institutional analysis that employs formal theories will detect a convergence between the young Turks and the old guard. That is what I plan to focus on in this course. If a balance seems to be emerging between the proponents of the two schools, perhaps that can shed light upon our own future research-an important objective given the resistance of Canadian political science to formal theory.
John P. Burke, The Institutional Presidency: Organizing and Managing the White House from FDR to Clinton (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, eds., The George W. Bush Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2004).
Fred I. Greenstein, ed., The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).
David E. Lewis, Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003).
Andrew Rudalevige, Managing the President's Program (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
Assignments: Three 5-page papers and one 20-page paper.