On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit by George C. Edwards III

By George C. Edwards III

American presidents frequently interact in extensive campaigns to procure public aid for his or her coverage tasks. This middle approach for governing is predicated at the premise that if presidents are expert sufficient to use the "bully pulpit", they could effectively convince or maybe mobilize public opinion on behalf in their legislative targets. during this booklet, George Edwards analyses the result of hundreds and hundreds of public opinion polls from contemporary presidencies to evaluate the good fortune of those efforts. strangely, he unearths that presidents in most cases cannot switch public opinion; even nice communicators frequently fail to procure the public's aid for his or her high-priority projects. targeting presidents' personae, their messages, and the yankee public, he explains why presidents are frequently not able to maneuver public opinion and means that their efforts to take action can be counterproductive. Edwards argues that shoring up formerly present help is the central good thing about going public and that "staying inner most" - negotiating quietly with elites - might usually be extra conducive to a president's legislative good fortune.

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Extra resources for On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit

Sample text

In an earlier work, I outlined two contrasting views of presidential leadership. In the first the president is the director of change, establishing goals and leading others where they otherwise would not go. A second perspective is less heroic. ≤ 24 Presidential Persuasion: Part I 25 The director creates a constituency to follow his lead, whereas the facilitator endows his constituency’s views with shape and purpose by interpreting them and translating them into legislation. The director restructures the contours of the political landscape to pave the way for change, whereas the facilitator exploits opportunities presented by a favorable configuration of political forces.

Not surprisingly, these communications are likely to support the views of the senator or representative. In the 1998 congressional elections, the typical Republican House incumbent who faced a Democratic challenger gained 3 percent of the vote over his or her performance in the 1996 elections. Fifty-five other Republican incumbents faced no opposition at all. Thus, 74 percent of the Republicans voting on the question of impeaching the president had just won reelection unopposed or saw their share of the two-party vote increase.

Instead, we should focus more on presidents’ abilities to evaluate the possibilities for change and effectively exploit the opportunities presented by the broad configuration of political forces in American society. The place to start in our investigation is with the record of presidential success in leading public opinion. 2 Presidential Persuasion: Does the Public Respond? Part I The premise that the president has considerable potential to move the public is so widespread and so central to our understanding of politics that we rarely focus on it explicitly.

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