Who Leads Whom? Presidents, Policy, and the Public.
Who Leads Whom? Presidents, Policy, and the Public. By Brandice Canes-Wrone. Chicago: University of Chicago Press The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including , 2006. 214 pp.
Leadership of the public and Congress is of vital importance to modern presidential governance. In Who Leads Whom?, Brandice Canes-Wrone tackles this important topic in a thorough study of the prospects for presidential leadership, the impact the public has on the president's propensity to appeal, and the influence that such leadership has on public policy in general and the president's legislative success in particular. She examines these issues using an array of methodological tools, from formal modeling (Chapter 2) to quantitative testing (Chapters 3 and 4) and case studies (Chapter 6). Organizationally, she develops and then tests a public appeals theory in Part I for both domestic (Chapter 3) and foreign policies (Chapter 4). Part II centers on her conditioning pandering theory, which explores the relative degree of policy pandering or policy leadership present in presidential public appeals.
Who Leads Whom? is grounded in a clear theoretical framework that draws on the breadth of American political thought. Indeed, the fundamental question that Canes-Wrone raises is one that provoked pro·voke
tr.v. pro·voked, pro·vok·ing, pro·vokes
1. To incite to anger or resentment.
2. To stir to action or feeling.
3. To give rise to; evoke: provoke laughter. substantial debate among the Framers of the Constitution: should presidents consider the policy views of the "masses," and will this consideration lead to public policy that ultimately is not in the public's best interest? In her terms, this is a debate between policy pandering--"whether presidents follow public opinion when they believe citizens are misinformed about their interests" (p. 104)--and policy leadership, which occurs when presidents pursue policy that promotes societal so·ci·e·tal
Of or relating to the structure, organization, or functioning of society.
Adj. welfare even when it is unpopular (p. 105).
At base, the argument of Who Leads Whom? centers on presidents' rational incentive to consider current public opinion in their strategic decisions to make public-policy appeals and how this translates into presidential success in Congress. Canes-Wrone shows that the public influences the president's propensity to make public appeals. Presidents engage in "limited pandering": presidents who are up for reelection re·e·lect also re-e·lect
tr.v. re·e·lect·ed, re·e·lect·ing, re·e·lects
To elect again.
re and have but average approval ratings are most likely to be responsive to public concerns. Next, presidential appeals for both domestic and foreign policies increase the president's success in Congress, contingent upon Adj. 1. contingent upon - determined by conditions or circumstances that follow; "arms sales contingent on the approval of congress"
contingent on, dependant on, dependant upon, dependent on, dependent upon, depending on, contingent the dynamics of public support influencing presidential appeals in the first place. That is, presidential appeals increase the president's legislative success in part because the president appeals on policies that are already supported by current public opinion. Taken together, the president's public appeals further the will of the majority in a democracy through the adoption of legislation, without promoting the deleterious deleterious adj. harmful. effects of demagoguery Demagoguery
(1876–1956) corrupt mayor of Jersey City, N. J., for 30 years. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1173]
Long, Huey P.
(1893–1935) infamous “Kingfish” of Louisiana politics. [Am. Hist. on societal welfare. Indeed, Canes-Wrone argues convincingly that limited pandering does not result in bad public policy, because presidents still only tend to publicize pub·li·cize
tr.v. pub·li·cized, pub·li·ciz·ing, pub·li·ciz·es
To give publicity to.
publicize or -cise
[-cizing, -cized] those popular policies that they believe will improve societal welfare.
Two criticisms of the book center on the dependent variables--funding for agencies or specific policy areas in appropriations bills--and the limited sample of policies used in the analysis. Focusing on shifts in appropriations without consideration of the bargaining and logrolling log·roll·ing
1. The exchanging of political favors, especially the trading of influence or votes among legislators to achieve passage of projects that are of interest to one another.
2. that will take place throughout the legislative process may overstate the importance of public speeches to the president's legislative success, especially when those public appeals may take place many months before the final appropriation. Further, as we know that policy differences produce distinct and divergent di·ver·gent
1. Drawing apart from a common point; diverging.
2. Departing from convention.
3. Differing from another: a divergent opinion.
4. political outcomes, this study cannot tell us for certain whether presidential appeals work on policy changes that may not hinge on Verb 1. hinge on - be contingent on; "The outcomes rides on the results of the election"; "Your grade will depends on your homework"
depend on, depend upon, devolve on, hinge upon, turn on, ride spending increases or decreases. The findings on foreign policy ameliorate a·mel·io·rate
tr. & intr.v. a·me·lio·rat·ed, a·me·lio·rat·ing, a·me·lio·rates
To make or become better; improve. See Synonyms at improve.
[Alteration of meliorate. this concern, but extending the analysis to a broader range of public policies is still a useful next step for future research.
A broader contribution of Who Leads Whom? is that it reaffirms the theoretical limitations of the prevailing wisdom about presidential leadership. The classic "going public" model holds that presidents will speak to encourage the public not only to support their policies but also to motivate the public to influence Congress to support the president. By demonstrating that presidents take advantage of current public support to maximize their chances for increasing legislative success through public appeals--rather than arguing that presidents must use the bully pulpit bully pulpit
An advantageous position, as for making one's views known or rallying support: "The presidency had been transformed from a bully pulpit on Pennsylvania Avenue to a stage the size of the world" to motivate an uninterested American populace to support their policies--Canes-Wrone further distances the presidential leadership literature from the classical model of presidential dominance to one of presidential leader as facilitator (George Edwards
University of North Texas